Like family, you can not always pick your neighbors and again, like family, you may not even like them.
But that does not mean you should not nod a hello from time to time.
After all, this very same neighbor may be the one to call the cops when he sees a prowler or the fire department when he sees unusual smoke coming from your home.
That said, it does not mean that you need to become friends or invite them for dinner.
Just a friendly hello from the front porch or parking lot may be all that it takes to have an extra set of eyes watching your back.
Today I would like to share nine ideas that will help you get to know your neighbors and also how to become (or stay) a good neighbor.
As you read through them, you will realize that most are really just good, common sense.
If you are like me though, you sometimes need to be reminded that simple things done in the short term can pay huge dividends in the long term.
Being a good neighbor is one of those things.
9 SIMPLE WAYS TO BE A GOOD NEIGHBOR:
1. Welcome newbies to the neighborhood
When I was first married and moved into my first real house, a neighbor came by with a plate of brownies. I put on a pot of coffee and we chatted a bit and exchanged phone numbers. Two things happened. One, I became a friendly and familiar face in the hood, so to speak, and two, I had a number of someone close by to call in an emergency.
In this case, we never became friends in the traditional sense but we knew each other well enough to say hello when we were out working in our yards and of course, were able to know who and recognize who belonged next door and who did not.
Welcoming newbies to the neighborhood can be as simple and easy as taking over a bunch of flowers or baking up that batch of proverbial brownies or chocolate chip cookies.
2. Lend a hand
Have you ever seen a neighbor struggle with a big pile of leaves or a mound of dirt? Or perhaps you catch the neighbor trying to bring bags of groceries indoors while the little kiddos are running around as kids ten to do. Think about politely offering to help out. Just remember, though, if they say no, accept that. They will still remember your kindness and may reciprocate down the road sometime.
3. Set boundaries
No one like a nosy neighbor. Just like you would prefer not to disclose the details or in-home location of your prepping activities and supplies, remember that you too must be respectful of your neighbors privacy and private matters. Keep your goal in mind. That goal is to have someone watch your back and to help you out if a disaster strikes and you are in worse shape than they are.
4. Keep it quiet
I can not imagine Backdoor Survival readers being a rowdy bunch but you never know. Cut the noise and loud music at 10PM and don’t start up again until 8 or 9 in the morning. Also, if you plan to have a shouting match with your partner, do it indoors with the windows closed. ‘Nuff said.
5. Keep it clean
Part of being a good neighbor means keeping the visible part of your home neat and tidy. Keep the lawn mowed and the bushes trimmed. Which reminds me: keeping the shrubs and bushes around your windows and doors well-trimmed will mitigate bad guys using them as hiding places prior to breaking and entering.
Also pick up any junk that may be lying around. This includes discarded planters, garbage (really!) and cardboard boxes that belong in recycle and not on your front porch. Somewhat related is this: make sure you pick up any dog poo that little Fido drops around the neighborhood on his walks.
6. Do not judge
Most of us keep our prepping activities to ourselves for fear of being labeled a crazy nut job. For many, even our own families know little about our activities. Likewise, park any judgmental attitudes about your neighbor at the door. As difficult as it may be sometimes, your business is your business and his business is his. There may be family or financial issues going on with your neighbor that you may not know of and further, you may not need to know.
Give it a rest and do your best not to judge.
7. Nip little problems in the bud
As with all things in life, nip little problems in the bud. Number 4 was “Keep it quiet”. If your neighbor has loud, pulsating music blasting at 1AM, you may want give him a call and ask him to turn it down. Because alcohol may be involved, I would not recommend marching up to his door and demanding that things quite down.
A better alternative is to wait until the next day and explain that the noise kept you awake and that next time, could they turn the music down a bit earlier?
The same things applies with a lawn that has not been mowed in weeks and is knee high in weeds. This is a problem in the prowlers may hang around, thinking the place is uninhabited. Check on your neighbor to make sure he is okay (you know, not sick or anything) and see if you can lend him an hour or your time to help him get things cleaned up.
Always remember, too, that it is a lot more difficult for someone to continue with their disturbing behavior if you have met them face to face (remember those brownies?) and shared a friendly “hello” now and then.
8. Never confront neighbors in anger or threaten
Never ever confront a neighbor in a state of anger. And most certainly do not threaten. This always applies, but it’s even more important if you haven’t already established a relationship with him or her. Instead, think it out and come up with a way to discuss the problem without putting your neighbor on the defensive.
Pick a time to talk when you are calm and try to focus less on blame and more on the solution.
9. If all else fails, call in the authorities
There may come a time when things get out of control. As you are trying to nip little problems in the bud, your neighbor may display violent or irrational behavior. If you are feeling personally threatened, then by all means call in the authorities and let them know. The last thing you want is to endanger yourself or your family while simply trying to be a good neighbor.
THE FINAL WORD
Over and over again, I have witnessed communities coming together in times of need. The recent fire in my own community demonstrated how neighbors helping neighbors can come together to prevent a bad situation from getting worse.
Today I want to remind you that being prepared is a lifestyle that involves much more that storing food, preserving water, and learning to use firearms. Being prepared means having the tools and the where-with-all to face life and all of its hazards and impediments head-on and without hesitation.
Having neighbors you can count on is one of those tools but it all starts, really, with being a good neighbor yourself.
This is an excellent article from Gaye on the benefits of being a good neighbor, but it is only an excerpt.
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