We all know that “sharing is caring”, whether it is sharing that last piece of cake, sharing a favorite toy, or sharing your time with someone who needs you. But most of us also share something we don’t think about every day, and that is a property line. That means, you share some space, every day, with at least one neighbor. (By the way, even if you live in an apartment you share a wall, so really, we ALL have neighbors!)
So, how can we take the steps to be a good neighbor? First and foremost, think about the qualities that YOU consider when you “evaluate” your neighbors! It is the neighbor’s version of the Golden Rule. For example, if you don’t want to see trash all the time, be mindful of where you leave your garbage.
On November 15, 2010, the article, “Ten Tips on How to Be a Good Neighbor — and Avoid Lawsuits”, shared some excellent tips on being neighborly. While the idea of avoiding lawsuits is part of the equation, the more important aspect of this topic is that most of us aren’t hermits, so being and having good neighbors is an important contributor to our overall happiness.
So, how do we get to that happy place?
How to Be a GREAT Neighbor!
- Keep your property well maintained! No one wants to live next door to a slob, right? So if you keep your own property looking groomed and attractive, it sends the right signal to your neighbors.
- Don’t be that noisy neighbor! Keep cognizant of the noise levels that emanate from your place. And if you have a party, let your neighbors know. Better yet, why not invite them?
- Get to know your neighbors! Be sociable, care about them, their kids, their likes and dislikes.
- Know the rules about trees! You should know who owns the trees along the property lines and if yours, do take good care of them. Remember though, that in the event of limbs down due to storms, neighbors do have the right to trim what has fallen on their property but can owe the tree owner a bundle in the event of damage. Best idea? Work together with your neighbors when there has been a storm.
- Think about starting a neighborhood watch group! Or, if there is one already, how about joining it? Neighbors watching out for one another is a great deterrent to neighborhood problems.
- Call or visit when you are having work done! Be courteous. If you are having work done on your property, how about alerting your neighbors so they will be prepared to face the noise of the jackhammers or the inconvenience of more trucks in the street.
- Respect property lines! While this goes without saying for any work being done on your property, how about letting your kids or guests know where your property ends so they don’t infringe on your neighbors’ property and privacy?
- Keep your pets on your side of the property line! No one wants to be cleaning up after their neighbors’ pups, right?
- Try mediation and just talking out problems! If you have had a civil relationship with your neighbors and have been respectful and courteous, the odds are you can resolve differences without getting lawyers and courts involved.
- Last but not least! “GOOD FENCES MAKE GOOD NEIGHBORS!” As much as we would love to take credit for that phrase, it actually came from American Poet Laureate Robert Frost’s 1914 poem Mending Wall. As we at Florida Fence have emphasized before, the placement and installation of a well-designed and attractive fence defines property lines and keeps your pets contained. Be sure to talk to your neighbors, though. Let them know your plans, tell them, for example, that the fence is meant to keep Fido in and not keep them out!
Oh, and one more thing. Tip #11: Bringing them a homemade apple pie is the best way to tell your neighbors you are glad they are there! 😊