Being a Good Neighbor – Building Relationships Both In and Out of Your Vicinity

Have you ever seen your neighbors bring in groceries? Have you needed to lend, or even borrow, something to or from a neighbor? Do you even know your neighbors’ names? Nowadays, we are further away from going next door to borrow a cup of sugar than we’ve ever been. Now, there are good reasons for this in many cases, including the current state of the global pandemic. But, with modern times and concerns over everything from identity theft to COVID19, so much of what was once considered “neighborly” has changed.

National Good Neighbor’s Day was started in the 1970s as a day to bring neighbors together to get to know each other, to learn about each other, and to find out ways that neighbors could help one another. On the website, people can pledge to be a good neighbor, becoming more connected and caring in their communities and with their neighbors, after all, as they say, “Good neighbors make great neighborhoods.”

How can you practice being a good neighbor?

  1. Create connections with your neighbors. Introducing yourself and connecting can be as easy as saying, “Hello” when you see folks out and about in your community. It can be helping rake leaves or shovel driveways or helping haul garbage bins up a neighbor’s driveway. Any little moment to make a connection goes a long way in becoming a good neighbor. Volunteering in your community through organizations like AmeriCorps Seniors RSVP with VANTAGE Aging or delivering meals with Meals on Wheels of Northeast Ohio are great ways to make those connections happen and allow you to give back at the same time!
  2. Offer up an invitation to your neighbor. Did you know the word “community” came from the Latin word, “communitas,” which translates into spirit of community? This is often measured by meals and moments shared together. Invite your neighbor over for a cookout, a bonfire, or even a backyard movie night with the kids or grandkids in your life. This invitation costs nothing, save maybe an extra burger or two, and shows that you are committed to being a good neighbor.
  3. Celebrate with them. Knowing when anniversaries, birthdays, or other milestones in their lives can help you join in the celebrations with them. This also brings your families together and provides another layer of the good neighbor creed. If a neighbor is in need of a job to celebrate, feel free to direct them to your local SCSEP office to help them get started. Celebrating new jobs, raises, and even promotions is a great way to be a good neighbor!
  4. Stay aware of changes in your neighborhood and keep each other posted. Keeping your eyes and ears open and staying abreast of the safety and security of your neighbors is essential for the safety of the neighborhood. Neighborhoods are better when they are safe and strong together.
  5. Be available as a neighbor. If you truly care and show up for your neighbors, they will likely reciprocate. Showing support when you are needed, such as in times of grief or loss, is an important component to a healthy, strong neighborhood. Not only does it ease the ache for your neighbor in need, it shows them that you can be trusted and they they can show up for you when you are in need. If an elderly neighbor is in need of daily assistance due to a change in their lives, consider recommending a phone call to VANTAGE Aging’s Home Wellness Solutions team to help. Showing you care enough to want to help shows your neighbor that their well-being, physical and mental, matters to you.

These rules are great to follow with neighbors in your own geographical community, but as we live in a global society, these little kindnesses can also make you a great global neighbor. Show up for people you care about, no matter where they live. Show kindness and support for those in mourning or in grief, regardless of their zip code. Celebrate big and small wins with neighbors who don’t share a street with you. Neighborhoods today expand well beyond our own four walls and few city blocks; creating a global connection to those we care about in other states, countries, and continents helps us all feel like part of a larger human family. And that connection, no matter where or how it is forged, makes all of us better, one good neighbor at a time.

*The information in this article is intended solely to provide general information on matters of interest for the personal use of the reader, who accepts full responsibility for its use. This article should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional legal, medical, or other competent advisors.

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