How to Be a Good NeighborAdam Brinkman
You’ve probably heard the saying “good fences make good neighbors,” but there’s just a little bit more to it than that! Whether your neighborhood is the type that hosts multiple summer barbecues and has a neighborhood group text or the type that socializes from the porch and moves in different social circles, it only makes sense to try to maintain the general goal of living near other people in relative peace and harmony.
If you’re looking for a cheat sheet on how to be a good neighbor, you’ve come to the right place!
Have Good Fences
The aforementioned saying isn’t just about your physical property (although it’s about that too!). What this saying refers to is setting and maintaining boundaries in both a literal and figurative sense: fences should be built well and maintained in the same way that personal boundaries should be both expressed and respected.
If a neighbor is ignoring your boundaries, first talk to them about it and find out what’s going on.
Example: “Hey, Mike. Can you tell me why you borrowed my sweet chainsaw from my shed without asking, used it, and then brought it back choked with bark and out of gas?”
Next, explain to them what they did that you didn’t like and what they need to do instead in the future.
Example: “Mike I’m not okay with you borrowing my sweet chainsaw without asking. Next time, I need you to ask, and I also need you to return it clean and with a full tank.”
Then, if they continue to ignore your boundaries after talking about it, try setting stricter boundaries to reinforce your original boundaries.
Example: “Hey, Mike. Since you borrowed my sweet chainsaw again without asking, I put a lock on the shed door. I also put my sweet chainsaw in a safe in the shed, and the safe is chained up with a lock on the chain. Don’t ever borrow my sweet chainsaw again.”
Keep It Down Over There!
No reasonable person expects a residential street to constantly be sound-stage silent—everybody has to vacuum and mow the lawn sometimes, and anyone with kids knows that kids love making weird noises just to figure out all the weird noises they can make!
The acceptable level of noise also depends on the neighborhood: a suburb of families with young children will have a different acceptable noise level than a collection of apartments housing mostly college students or an assisted living complex.
- Check your city’s noise ordinances to find out the earliest you should be mowing the lawn and the latest you should be doing noisy home renovation projects at night.
- If you’re in an apartment or other multi-family dwelling, don’t hammer nails at nighttime and don’t be loud in the hallway in case your neighbors are resting.
- When you’re in your yard, be mindful of how close you are to your neighbors’ houses and try to keep conversations quiet if you’re near windows that might take in a lot of noise.
Other than these general rules, do a vibe check and make your choices.
Most neighborhoods have that house. You know the house.
It’s due for a few repairs… needs a paint job… the yard is scattered with a couple bicycles and toys, but you never see kids or dogs in the yard. There’s a chain-link fence (or what’s left of a chain-link fence). This house has an overgrown lawn all year round (except for maybe two days in the summer, but the weird thing is you never see anyone mow the lawn), and no one rakes the leaves in fall or shovels the sidewalk in winter.
People in the neighborhood talk about this house; they wonder about this house and the people who live there (what has to happen for a house to look like that?). Maybe they even think there’s something wrong with the house itself… as if the house did all of that to itself.
Your goal, if you want to be a good neighbor, is to make sure that you’re never living in that house.
- If your house needs repairs, shift some priorities to make sure it’s handled sooner than later.
- Repaint exteriors when the paint starts looking worn or faded by the sun.
- Mow your lawn (or rewild your lawn!) and make sure your property is maintained consistently.
- Trim trees, shrubs, bushes, and anything else that starts to grow beyond your property line.
- Move bikes, skateboards, toys, and anything else that isn’t a lawn gnome or a flamingo off the front lawn before dark (this one also reduces the risk of theft).
Invite Your Neighbors Over
There’s another house that most neighbors have, and this is the house you do want to be living in! This is the house where the party’s at: the main attraction at the summer block party and the top destination for lazy barbecues. This house is the home of the King of the Block.
How do you become King of the Block? Three simple steps:
- Be cool (okay, too easy. You got that one!)
- Have a cool house (we trust that your house is pretty cool because you seem pretty cool to us!)
- Have cool games (you seem like you also have cool games. We’re guessing that based on you reading this blog post!)
Once you do these three things, all you need to do next is decide which very cool party you want to have at your very cool house with your very cool neighbors. Just remember, no party is complete without cornhole, which is another great way to get to know your neighbors (and to find out who they really are!).
Can I Borrow Your Sweet Chainsaw?
When you want to borrow your neighbor’s sweet chainsaw, just ask, man. He’ll probably say yes, and then you’ll get to borrow his sweet chainsaw without losing your sweet chainsaw privileges (right, Mike?).
If you’re looking for something really cool to show the neighbors, order a custom cornhole board with one-of-a-kind graphics—designed by you! Simply fill out our design request form, and our digital artist will get to work on your new cornhole board. Will this make you King of the Block? Guaranteed!