In 2016 the queen of pop, Taylor Swift, added another accolade to her name when she was voted the American public’s Most Desirable Celebrity Neighbor. According to a Pew survey, some 28% of us don’t know our neighbors’ names, yet research from the Young Foundation suggests our happiness levels would rise if we had even irregular contact with those around us. Although you might not find Taylor next door, here are our top six reasons for getting to know your neighbors.
1. Community Spirit
Thinking about starting a book club or converting a patch of land into an herb garden? There is no better place to start than by asking those who live around you to get involved. Chances are, if you have noticed there’s a gap where an amenity or service should be, it’s likely your neighbors will have noticed too. Getting involved together in a project like repainting some lackluster communal areas not only makes your neighborhood look better, it’s also an act of service you can feel proud of.
2. A Helping Hand
Felled by flu? Recovering from surgery? Just had a baby? Having neighbors whom you can ask to visit with chicken soup and pantry essentials is invaluable, plus, there’s no nicer feeling than to be cared about and valued. This works both ways of course, and you will have your chance to repay their kindness next time they’re out of commission.
3. It’s Who You Know
Where better to start making connections and seeking out opportunities than at home? It could be that your dream job is closer than you think when you discover your neighbor works in the field you’re trying to break into. Even if it turns out that you and your neighbors have nothing in common professionally, you never know how that spiderweb effect can work in your favor. It could be that your neighbor has a friend, brother or parent who can offer you an in.
4. Staying Safe
It’s nice to know the people roaming the hallways of your building are supposed to be there. By getting to know your neighbors you’ll not only be able to enjoy a friendly chat as you come and go, you’ll feel safer knowing that if you have to go out of town, your neighbors will keep an eye on your place and make sure your things and your home are in one piece when you return.
When you move into a new place it can be overwhelming trying to set things up as fast and efficiently as possible. Trying to find the best internet provider before your internet is installed? That’s not going to work. Ask a neighbor about whom they use. Chances are they already know the best providers, grocery stores nearby and places to grab a late-night bite. Getting recommendations is a great way to reach out to your neighbors without getting too personal.
6. An Easy Life
Being at odds with anyone is draining, but especially if those tensions are happening in your home, which should be a sanctuary. By becoming friendly with the people you live closest to, you can take the sting out of disputes before they happen. Being friendly with neighbors means you can calmly and respectfully make agreements about noise and space-sharing that work for everyone. Putting in the effort to get to know— and get along with — your neighbors makes life so much easier and more pleasant. And who doesn’t want that?