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How many of us know our neighbors? If you don’t know any or only some of your neighbors, you’re not alone. A 2018 Pew Research Center survey found that a majority of Americans (57%) say they know only some of their neighbors; another 13% say they don’t know any of them.
Technology (we rarely look up from our phones), our fast-paced lives (no time to chat!), and hesitance (natural shyness) are often the primary reasons we give for not knowing our neighbors. But it really isn’t all that difficult to be a good neighbor and get to know each other better.
Starting with kindness is the first step, and here are a few ideas to break the ice:
- Offer a kind word. Even a small compliment goes a long way to creating a bond or breaking down barriers.
- Take over extra bounty from your garden or baked goods.
- Add a water feature. The sight and sound of water has a calming effect, restorative effect.
- Don’t start by asking for a favor, like a cup of sugar.
- Invite them to join an informal celebration in your home.
- Introduce them to your pets or offer a gardening tip.
- Ask who they recommend for a service such as taxes, painting, or car care.
Don’t underestimate the power of a simple hello! A new friend could be right next door.