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Off the top of your head, do you know your neighbours names? A recent study in the UK found almost three quarters of Brits don’t even know their neighbours names and we wouldn’t be surprised if the trend was similar in New Zealand. The traditional “cup of sugar” mentality has more or less disappeared from our communities, and people tend to drift past their neighbours fairly easily these days. While this is understandable with the rise of online connection, we still think it’s important to know your neighbours and let them know you.
It may seem that people in the modern era fear the friendly knock on the door, but in reality, we’re all just searching for human connections; neighbours included. Here are the three best reasons to get to know your neighbours after moving in. When you build a home, you are doing more than laying down brick and mortar. You are also doing your part in building a community.
Knowing and engaging with your community is a sure-fire way to make you feel grounded and at home when you walk out of the front door. Whether you’ve decided to settle down for the long haul or you’re just passing through, having a network of people that you are comfortable with throughout your neighbourhood will create a sense of stability.
People thrive in an environment where we know those around us, so making the effort to befriend your neighbours will create a lovely community dynamic. The barista at the coffee shop on the corner, your neighbour with three fruit trees living to your left, the couple who always jogs past your front fence with their Doberman; these are all potential acquaintances, and even friends.
Getting to know the people in your neighbourhood will greatly improve the safety in your suburb. If there is a break-in somewhere nearby, or any other kind of issue local to the area, you are all able to look out for one another. If you know your neighbours, you may also find it easier to talk through any neighbourly disputes, from a fruit tree that hangs too far over your fence to a few weekend parties that get a bit too rowdy.
Much like having a security system, having neighbours who value you and your wellbeing is a fantastic way to keep your home safe while you’re away.
Finally, one of the best reasons to get to know your neighbours is because they can be a helping hand just waiting to be asked. With the promise of a BBQ, a beer, or even babysitting, you can have half of the neighbourhood over to your house to help with a summer building project, or anything else that needs a bit more elbow grease than you have available.
Remember that reciprocity is the key to longevity, so don’t just ask for help, give it! If your next-door neighbour needs someone to house-sit or walk the dog when the kids are becoming a handful, offer to help them out. Beyond making you feel good, this will also mean that they’re a lot more likely to dish out some help the next time you need it.
And if you’re wondering how on Earth to begin connecting with your new neighbours, the answer is simple: just start with a friendly hello and a smile. Human nature will do the rest.