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Knowing Your Neighbors

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calebgardner

Up until a few weeks ago, my wife and I had lived in the city of Chicago for almost seven years. We always loved its mix of “Big City” cultural opportunities and Midwestern friendliness, but having children pushed us to the suburbs. Once we moved, we realized something odd about our time in the city: we barely ever talked to the people who lived closest to us.

We realized it when a neighbor introduced herself on the day we moved in. It wasn’t anything groundbreaking – she was just saying hi and welcoming us to the neighborhood. But we were so used to our urban isolation that suburban friendliness caught us off guard. Then another neighbor did the same thing. Then another. Every one of our immediate neighbors made a concerted effort to meet us during the first week we were in our new house. It made us feel welcome, and it made me wonder why we had never experienced that (or done it ourselves) while we lived in the city.

Part of the problem was the transient nature of city life. We lived in one apartment for no more than a year, then another for three, and so on. As we were coming and going, so were our neighbors. We were renters uninterested in investing in those around us who we knew were just as likely to wander as we were.

There was also the general numbness that people living in urban areas develop in defense to the everyday sights and sounds of density. It wasn’t intentionally cold; it was survival. Stare straight ahead on the crowded train; don’t make eye contact. If someone tries to hand you something on the street, walk away. Put your headphones on and power through.

This state of intentional unawareness carried over to those we live around. Reaching out was always a risk, so we didn’t make the effort unless it was absolutely necessary. Now I’m not convinced it had to be that way, and others are agreeing with me. New sites are trying to resolve the general skittishness we all feel about meeting our neighbors by making it easy to connect with them online. Sites like Nextdoor, EveryBlock and Meet The Neighbors are all trying to bring the global nature of social networking back to local roots. Whether they work or not, I’ve decided to get out of my isolation and make an effort.

What should that look like? Do you have a similar experience, or are you close with your neighbors? How did you get to know them, and what tips to you have for the rest of us for reaching out?

Caleb Gardner is an amateur father and husband who writes at The Exceptional Man and dabbles in photography, design, and music. When listening to the cacophony of modern-day America, Caleb prefers a side of Scotch. He calls Chicago home, and in winter, less-nice things.

4 Featured Comments

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  • fbstudiovt

    Laura Hale from FoundBeautyStudioArt says: Featured

    I rarely if ever knew my neighbors growing up. I feared talking to new people and did my best to avoid strangers at all costs. But as an adult, I've learned the value of creating community with those who live around me. Through a slow process of introducing myself to all of my neighbors and starting a garden in my front yard and green belt so that met everyone who walked by while I was weeding and planting, our lives became intertwined. We watch out for each other. We garden together. We advocate for what our neighborhood needs. We celebrate together. And sometimes we mourn together. When my partner and I started thinking about selling our home, we realized that to our amazement, we're an integral part of this community and have decided to stay.

    3 years ago

  • karensanders

    Karen Sanders from karensanders says: Featured

    I live in a small city. Having a young child opened up the neighborhood for us. She greets and was greeted by everyone and so we learned slowly who were living in our street. The three years before her arrival we lived on our own not minding and not being minded. I love the new situation so much more.

    3 years ago

  • meganrosepedals

    Megan Rose from RosePedalsJewelry says: Featured

    The last apartment that my partner and I lived in was nice, but we never got to know our neighbors, they called the cops one night when my partner was having a dinner party! When we moved in to our current apartment the first thing we did was go and knock on our neighbors door to introduce ourselves, tell them we were artists and musicians and that if we ever make too much noise, to just give us a friendly call! Our neighbors are great friends of ours and we have met so many great people in our area. Getting out of your comfort zone and meeting the people around you changes the world, reach out just a little and you will be surprised how enriched your life will be.

    3 years ago

  • metalicious

    Stephanie Maslow Blackman from metalicious says: Featured

    Aw, while I respect your POV about city living I must disagree. I live in the heart of NYC and I have the most wonderful neighbors. We pet-sit for each other, help one another with work and even go to each other's weddings. I agree that living in a transient place, city or suburbs, could lead to not wanting to get invested. But my community is such an important part of my life. I love waving to the security guards at the school on my street, or bringing my kids to say hello to the ladies at the salon around the corner. For me, even if I'm in a place for a year, it's nice to know the name of the man who sells me my chai tea every morning. I'm teaching my kids to be involved in their community in many ways, including the ones as small as saying hello and holding the elevator door for our neighbors. Don't forget the U in Community. :-)

    3 years ago

  • artologica

    Michele Banks from artologica says:

    Knowing the neighbors is nice, but how about knowing who else is sharing your home? I've done a few paintings based on the work of the Home Microbiome Project, which looks at all the bacteria and archaea in our houses and apartments. It's fascinating stuff! https://www.etsy.com/listing/101060991/full-house-original-watercolor-painting

    3 years ago

  • StringBeardCraftery

    Stephanie from StringBeardCraftery says:

    That's the funny thing about suburbs and cities. In the city, you're literally living on top of one another, but socially you're so distant. I was lucky enough to live in a very close knit suburb about an hour out of Chicago in Lake county, and most of the families on my street had children my age. I couldn't imagine raising a family outside of the welcome community of a suburb, but I'm very glad that I get to experience the best of both worlds by living just outside a great city like Chicago!

    3 years ago

  • TheIDconnection

    TheIDConnection from TheIDconnection says:

    We moved into a new house last year and made it a point me meet my neighbors. I think it is great to know who your neighbors are! I've live and in the city and burbs and prefer the burbs! Great read.

    3 years ago

  • funktionslust

    Mara from FunktionLust says:

    There's a chain link fence that separates my back yard from my neighbors and we actually have cut a hole in it so that we can go back and forth to visit one another. The neighborhood cats appreciate it too! =)

    3 years ago

  • LivingVintage

    LivingVintage from LivingVintage says:

    Don't forget that in the suburbs they are also checking you out. Do you seem like a person who would paint their house purple, or let their toddler run naked in the front yard? Are you just like us, so we can relax. At least people mind their own business in the city.

    3 years ago

  • Krystyna81

    Kristina from Krystyna81 says:

    Bonding with our small neighborhood over community BBQ's, dock parties, scavenger hunts, and Halloween parades has turned my neighbors into my extended family.

    3 years ago

  • fbstudiovt

    Laura Hale from FoundBeautyStudioArt says: Featured

    I rarely if ever knew my neighbors growing up. I feared talking to new people and did my best to avoid strangers at all costs. But as an adult, I've learned the value of creating community with those who live around me. Through a slow process of introducing myself to all of my neighbors and starting a garden in my front yard and green belt so that met everyone who walked by while I was weeding and planting, our lives became intertwined. We watch out for each other. We garden together. We advocate for what our neighborhood needs. We celebrate together. And sometimes we mourn together. When my partner and I started thinking about selling our home, we realized that to our amazement, we're an integral part of this community and have decided to stay.

    3 years ago

  • sarahknight

    Sarah from sarahknight says:

    I think knowing your neighbors largely depends on all the parties involved and the setting. Just because folks live outside the city - either in a small town, a suburb, a rural area, a subdivision, a condo complex, etc. - everyone is an individual with their own quirks and personality. If you become close - that's lovely, if you pass like ships in the night - there's nothing wrong with that. Ultimately we all end up down our own paths... although, I have to say I like my rural nowhereness, even if I haven't known the neighbors in years, well, the new neighbors. But I work midnight, am unmarried, and childless. It's the life I lead. Meeting the people who own the property that ends 10 feet from my garage online is something that would probably amuse me...

    3 years ago

  • volkerwandering

    Jess from volkerwandering says:

    It's always a good thing to get to know your neighbors. They can sometimes turn out to be friends for life. Neighbors are great to have around, they can be helpful, supportive, & quite fun to hang out with. Even the annoying ones that never let you get a word in edgewise & tell you every minute detail of their lives. Life is amusing if you know how to open up & let it in!

    3 years ago

  • GoldenSpiralDesigns

    Lola Ocian from GoldenSpiralDesigns says:

    How ironic that there are websites - moderated through personal computers - that help us meet our neighbors. :)

    3 years ago

  • imogenskyefreeman

    Imogen Skye Freeman from InkPaintings says:

    Interesting. :) I have lived in the city, suburbs, extreme rural isolation and cooperatively on rural property (this is what we're doing now), and I have found that personally, my location doesn't determine my level of interaction with neighbours as much as how close I live to them does. I loved living in apartments in the city because I always found someone a few doors down to spend leisurely time with that didn't require scheduling and traveling, so we could just stop in at whatever time of day we liked, for a few minutes or a few hours- whatever suited us. I am a mother of five children, and while they have been arriving and growing, being able to connect with others because of their close proximity has been essential to me. I wouldn't otherwise meet or spend time with anyone outside my "area" because going places out of short walking distance (so I can pop back home if needed) is too difficult without significant planning. Having a large family does rearrange a lot of how we live relative to what it was like when we had only one or two children. I wonder how much having smaller families in our society has affected this common experience from the article. We're about to build a house in another rural area with no neighbours at all, and this will be a challenge to me for sure, but thankfully it is next to a beach community, so I am hoping that we will meet people there and find ways to be leisurely together, again without the scheduling. Neighbours are super important to me. But I also like my space and privacy, so we live rurally with lots of space, but close enough to our neighbours. I don't like being so close that I can see into people's windows and hear their private conversations, but I do like seeing them when they're outdoors gardening or tending livestock, or meandering over for tea. :)

    3 years ago

  • halbergman

    Hal Bergman says:

    Interesting. I've found it to be exactly the opposite. I just moved into a 14-story building in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles, and within a few weeks I now know almost all the people on my floor, I've been to one of their parties, and I'm meeting my neighbors in the elevator all the time. When I was in San Francisco, I knew the entire block, and even did art projects (and eventually even paid freelance work) with a lot of my neighbors. On the flip side, one of my ex-girlfriends lived in the Bay Area exurbs (like, the end of the BART line and then another half-hour bike ride, fully an hour and a half outside of the city, if you went further it was farmland), and she didn't know any of her neighbors. She could associate which cars belonged to which condo, but I think the only time she met her next-door neighbor was when her cat wound up on their patio, and she got a few noise complaints here and there. (And this girl was not known for partying) I definitely feel more connected to my neighbors in the city. Sure, I put my headphones on and ignore people asking me for money on the street too, but that doesn't make me feel disconnected. I love that when I walk out my front door on a Friday or Saturday night there are hundreds or even thousands of people frequenting the bars and restaurants within a one-block radius of my building, all of whom came here from the relative quiet of whatever far-flung neighborhood they live in.

    3 years ago

  • minouette

    Ele from minouette says:

    We recently bought our first home, and even though we are definitely still in the city, dozens of neighbours came and introduced themselves, and it gives us a great sense of community. It think the main difference from where we were, was that since we are no longer renters, people do think we will be there for years. I appreciate we can ask questions about the neighbourhood, home maintenance or whatever, or ask them to keep an eye on things if we go out of town. Now every time I leave my house there's some who greets me.

    3 years ago

  • MontanaCraftyWomen

    Roxann Miller from MontanaCraftyWomen says:

    We moved from a small town, which was very unfriendly, to an even smaller town that is very friendly. I don't know that it always has to do with size I think more the dynamics of the town (or city) its self. The small town was a bedroom community for a larger town and I think they had their friends at work and didn't bother to get to know their neighbors next door. Now the even smaller town is a long distance from any bigger town and the people here are awesome! The folks here know that you are the new family and walk up to you at the store and introduce themselves and welcome you to the community. The kids have been wonderful involving our daughter from day one.

    3 years ago

  • imogenskyefreeman

    Imogen Skye Freeman from InkPaintings says:

    I rely on randomly and sporadically getting together with neighbours. I have lived in the city, suburbs, extreme rural isolation and cooperatively on rural land (presently), and in each situation, my socisializing all happened with my neighbours. I am home with five children, and traveling to be with others requires a lot of planning and work that I just cannot do very often, so we all enjoy the company of our neighbours immensely. I also enjoy having lots of space, so living rurally on acreage, but with neighbours close-by, has been perfect for us. I don't like being so close that I can see into peoples' windows and hear their private conversations, but I love meeting them by chance outdoors, gardening, tending livestock, or meandering over for tea and a chat. :)

    3 years ago

  • TresChicNmodern

    TresChicNmodern from TresChicNmodern says:

    Interesting article, yet so very true. Ummm yea you're right I don't know any of my neighbor, but I thought it was just me. Guess I'm not alone.

    3 years ago

  • sewkindness

    Nancy from sewkindness says:

    I live in a senior neighborhood, although the hubster and I are still working at 55. . . most of the senior men are retired, and spend their days outdoors, from sunup until sundown. . . You can usually find them with weed b gone in hand, anxiously awaiting even a sign of one beastly pesty dandelion. . . my guess is outdoors keeps the peace with the loving retired senior wives Ü Anywho, they are harmless and just want to talk, but time doesn't always warrant that, so I warn the hubster when we drive in and out of the driveway " Do not make eye contact" "Smile, nod your head, but do not make eye contact". . . sad, but true, not always but 90%of the time I do that. . . God forgive me. . . but one "Hi Joe, how ya doing" could make dinner @ 5 dinner @ 7. I love them all, they are all really nice neighbors, I am very fortunate I am, but the rule is the rule . . . no eye contact and don't ask how you're doing. . . I'm going to hell aren't I. . .

    3 years ago

  • BeadtrissLane

    Krista Kirk from BeadtrissLane says:

    We live in a neighbor like that as well! Every Christmas we get together for a party. I love spending times with them! Its not that often, but we always wave when driving by. Enjoy the times you spend together! :} ~Krista

    3 years ago

  • CafePrimrose

    Amanda Gynther from CafePrimrose says:

    Yeah good neighbors are great.... They are the reason I can't wait to leave here.... They are much too loud. The cops came the other night and draged 30 people out of their apartment. They made the whole building shake with their music. I look forward to a day when we have civilized neighbors again.

    3 years ago

  • jmayoriginals

    jean from jmayoriginals says:

    hooray for Chicago! i currently live in a Chicago suburb and have the worst neighbors anyone could ever ask for. it saddens me, but i take comfort in knowing i'm only stuck here for another 8 or so years and then off to the country i go.

    3 years ago

  • Ivystable

    Julie Barnes from Ivystable says:

    I went from one extreme to another, I was born on the Isle of Wight in the UK which is pretty much a retirement retreat, hardly any young people around and everyone knows everyone - quite intrusive when you're a teenager. I went from that to a beautiful (!) concrete monstrosity outside London called Croydon for 3 years. In that time I never even saw any neighbours. I moved away from London and connected with neighbours again and it was LOVELY!!! Made me realise what I was missing. I wouldn't go back to Croydon if you paid me.

    3 years ago

  • WendyWanderer

    WendyWanderer says:

    I despise the suburbs. But I think the truth is that "community" depends on the people you happen to live around, their intentions in terms of commitment to community and not the type of area where you live. You can have community or not have it in urban, rural and suburban settings. I suspect a lot of time people who move to a new setting from a place they outgrew or that didn't meet their needs are more open to meeting new people and developing relationships; being part of that new community and that leads to the opinion that "the_______" (city, suburbs, country) are more social because that happens to be where you want to be at that moment and its all new and shiny and good. If you move somewhere because you're fleeing something bad and didn't really look into what you want, or because you have no choice then you might discover your new community is horrible. .. basically though.. I don't know how anyone can like the burbs.. :P

    3 years ago

  • karensanders

    Karen Sanders from karensanders says: Featured

    I live in a small city. Having a young child opened up the neighborhood for us. She greets and was greeted by everyone and so we learned slowly who were living in our street. The three years before her arrival we lived on our own not minding and not being minded. I love the new situation so much more.

    3 years ago

  • ErikaPrice

    Erika from ErikaPrice says:

    Interesting. We moved to a small and remote rural village of less than 500 souls, with a wonderful community spirit, 20 years ago. We were delighted to be warmly welcomed, and happy to become an active part of that community. Every newcomer to our village is still welcomed with a copy of the bi-monthly parish magazine and details of events at the pub. However, we've noticed that many people who have moved here since we did simply don't want to be part of the community and prefer to live separate and detached lives - as if they've brought their suburban attitudes with them...

    3 years ago

  • croccoon

    Lauren Lezeu from Croccoon says:

    I live in a suburb with the school hardly a half mile from my home, and yet I hardly see kids about. Neighbors? Yeah, we've got plenty, but you wouldn't know it if you walk outside. No one says Hi, or stops by. It stinks, to be out here with neighbors, but none of the benefits of having them around.

    3 years ago

  • PennyBirchWilliams

    Penny Birch-Williams from PennyBirchWilliams says:

    We've lived in our house over 23 years now, on a short cul de sac street. Several of our neighbors have lived here just as long or longer. Our kids grew up together running around the neighborhood. We have street cookouts a few times a year for whoever wants to participate. My husband is very friendly and knows everyone on the street, and does odd jobs for some of them, while I (the shy one) know the nearest ones and wave to the others. It's a suburb...but then the whole county is nothing but suburban neighborhoods! It's reassuring to have neighbors you know you can count on to help out, and who will notice if something isn't right. Most people are pretty nice if you give them a chance.

    3 years ago

  • simpledream2

    Lisa S. from simpledream2 says:

    I too lived on the north side of Chicago for the first 22 year of my life. As a child we always got to know the neighborhood kids and played with the. My parents were busy working and/or raising kids they didn't reach out to befriend the neighbors, they were friendly but not heavy into socializing. Then I married and moved to downtown Naperville; buying an old farmhouse that by 1983 when we bought it ended up being surrounded by Naperville. We were neighborly but as my parents too busy raising a family to be active in socializing. Then moving out to the town of Yorkville for several years, very rural but we lived in a new development. Last town in Illinois was Sandwich just on the outskirts of town and cornfields, literally. I am not living in West Plains, MO on my own 3 acres with neighbors in site. Looking back on city living, suburban living, small town living and now rural living. We tended to be more neighborly to those we were in closer proximity to.....the city of Chicago. I suppose the time frame in life also impacted neighborliness as much as proximity. Thanks for all the memories that came flooding back as I read your article......Lisa

    3 years ago

  • thevicagirl

    VaLon Frandsen from thevicagirl says:

    I live in the 'burbs, and I love my neighbors, don't know what I would do without them. I seem to always know what the one across the street is up to, he is easy to watch out my window and his motorcycle isn't soft. However, the ones that live behind me I didn't realize had moved for two or three years.

    3 years ago

  • Iammie

    iammie from iammie says:

    Interesting!

    3 years ago

  • beckshouses

    beckshouses from beckshouses says:

    Great idea is just to start with those simple hellos. We live in the south and even though the common idea is that southerners are friendly, it isn't true in all cases. Where I grew up, we didn't live in a neighborhood but rather just nearby a few people. It was always great to play with the kids next door which in turn helped my parents get to know our neighbors as well. It was more of an excuse to for my parents to know our neighbors. Halloween was also a great time to get to know others when going trick or treating with our family. Good luck with your move and I'm sure you will begin to adjust well. :)

    3 years ago

  • LittleWrenPottery

    Victoria Baker from LittleWrenPottery says:

    In the UK I dont think we ever really get to know our neighbours but then I think as a society we're very private and don't like the idea of welcoming strangers into our lives which I know seems a bit odd! I guess we're all rather reserved like that!

    3 years ago

  • buttonsandstars

    Clare Mountain from xThreadBEARx says:

    I kind of agree with Victoria. In the UK, we can be quite reserved and private about our own lives, and I've never really know my neighbours very well. This is something I'd like to change, as there are so many benefits to knowing your neighbours! Not just in terms of friendship, but also in building local community, having someone there who can feed the cats if you're on holiday! I'm back living with my family at the moment, but once I move out again, I am definitely going to make a conscious effort to introduce myself to my neighbours.

    3 years ago

  • rubaianne

    Anne Palumbo from AnniesWayBackShop says:

    We live in a small neighborhood with a total of 5 houses. It's hard not to know your neighbors. We help as much as we can, respect the quiet and privacy of each. It's a joy to live on such a small street where everybody knows your name! I wouldn't have it any other way!

    3 years ago

  • KaiceJoy

    Kirsti Joy from KaiceJoy says:

    I recently moved into a nice little neighbor hood-with some wonderful neighbors....it definately takes effort to get to know each other, but all friendships/relationships are that way, I think. It is well worth it in the end-I appreciate having others "watching" over us-adds to the comfort and safety of living in our little town!

    3 years ago

  • flamingfuchsia

    flamingfuchsia from flamingfuchsia says:

    This article is so true. I would like to add that it is not just a variation in suburbs and urban areas but geographicaly as well. I have lived in three countries. Currently the UK in a suburbian area. I find the people very cold in comparison with when I lived in the USA and Italy. The Brits have a very stand-offish nature about them (not all because I am one myself). A place where being friendly is met with suspicion, cautionary glances and just being ignored outright. It is not until you live somewhere else that you really notice just how much. My former boss said his neighbors stood talking at the gates for over 20 years and neither of them had invited the other into their homes for so much as a cup of tea!

    3 years ago

  • ohgoodpuppy

    Megan from ohgoodpuppy says:

    Great article. Sounds like you live in a friendly neighborhood! One thing that I've found is that this welcoming environment can vary-- for example, I just helped my sister move into a new house in the suburbs, and her neighbors came over all day to say hi! However, when my husband and I moved into our new house (in a different suburb) a couple years ago, hardly anyone even acknowledged us... I wonder what accounts for the different environment. Ironically, I've lived in friendlier apartment environments!

    3 years ago

  • HelloShoes

    HelloShoes from HelloShoes says:

    I also grew up knowing all my neighbors while still knowing at the same time they still are strangers.

    3 years ago

  • shekina1

    Pat Wilson from AlaskaStixsnStones says:

    Neighbors are the people that we will share emergencies with. We need to get to know them and respect them as people and build friendships. I live in rural Alaska, I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. My ward is very social. We come, we go, we call, we visit, we share. If someone goes to town, they call to see if I need anything. I have a huge family type church as my neighbors. Which I guess is good, because I am disabled, I have lived in this apartment for a year and a half. My landlord borrowed my picnic table, and have half a dozen cars blocking my parking. They are having a great party, and it is not that I wanted to attend, I just do not understand how the table got an invite, but I didn't. So reading about neighbors hit home. I know my neighbor/landlord. I help take care of their mother when they need to get away. i guess I have a different concept of friends because of my church. I believe...........long before I was a Mormon.......that we should be closest to our neighbors. I live in rural Alaska, at any moment we can be cut off. In 1972 Johnny Carson joked that there was a toilet paper shortage. It was 7 days before toilet paper, paper towels, kleenex and napkins were back on the shelves. Blessings pat

    3 years ago

  • rivahside

    rivahside says:

    Our neighbor's house can be seen from any window in our house as long as the corn isn't too high! They're several acres away! We don't really visit with each other unless we happen to be out walking our dogs but we are neighbors in the most neighborly sense. It's a wonderful arrangement-being there for each other should the need arise, but not getting into each others business.

    3 years ago

  • TheBeautyofBoredom

    Gracie from TheBeautyofBoredom says:

    I'm not close with my neighbors, because they thinks we're just a bunch of dumb college kids living in the house next to them being loud and stupid. In fact, my boyfriend and I are the quiet couple who live in the basement...

    3 years ago

  • meganrosepedals

    Megan Rose from RosePedalsJewelry says: Featured

    The last apartment that my partner and I lived in was nice, but we never got to know our neighbors, they called the cops one night when my partner was having a dinner party! When we moved in to our current apartment the first thing we did was go and knock on our neighbors door to introduce ourselves, tell them we were artists and musicians and that if we ever make too much noise, to just give us a friendly call! Our neighbors are great friends of ours and we have met so many great people in our area. Getting out of your comfort zone and meeting the people around you changes the world, reach out just a little and you will be surprised how enriched your life will be.

    3 years ago

  • radakia

    radakia says:

    Odd. I have lived in the suburbs all my life and have not encountered a welcoming or giving nature in my neighbors. They mostly ignore my family's existance. Even though we have welcomed many families into our neighborhood over the years. It has not been reciprocrated. I dont believe that being in a suburb is any more social than the description given for city living. I think it is the people who make the situation better not the place. It's a choice you make about how you choose to treat people and also how you treat yourself. I hope most people will choose to be kind, welcoming and accepting of others.

    3 years ago

  • SunnyDayVintage

    Sunny Day from SunnyDayVintage says:

    I think it is the people who make the situation better not the place. It's a choice you make about how you choose to treat people and also how you treat yourself. I hope most people will choose to be kind, welcoming and accepting of others. ......................... I agree with this wholeheartedly.

    3 years ago

  • picturepainters

    picturepainters from PicturePainters says:

    I have found at my house having a communal vege garden between our houses has helped bring us closer to the neighbors.

    3 years ago

  • metalicious

    Stephanie Maslow Blackman from metalicious says: Featured

    Aw, while I respect your POV about city living I must disagree. I live in the heart of NYC and I have the most wonderful neighbors. We pet-sit for each other, help one another with work and even go to each other's weddings. I agree that living in a transient place, city or suburbs, could lead to not wanting to get invested. But my community is such an important part of my life. I love waving to the security guards at the school on my street, or bringing my kids to say hello to the ladies at the salon around the corner. For me, even if I'm in a place for a year, it's nice to know the name of the man who sells me my chai tea every morning. I'm teaching my kids to be involved in their community in many ways, including the ones as small as saying hello and holding the elevator door for our neighbors. Don't forget the U in Community. :-)

    3 years ago

  • JohannesFranciscus

    Merel from JohannesFranciscus says:

    We have lived in the same (urban) neighbourhood for 7 years. First for 5 years in an apartment and now for 2 years in another slightly bigger apartment. In the first we didn't know any of the neighbours and it took us about 3 years to start greeting our next door neighbour. In our current apartment we know many neighbours, we have a good relationship with everyone and have even formed some new friendships. The neighbourhood is the same, the type of house is the same, the only thing that has changed is our additude.

    3 years ago

  • customheirloomart1

    Custom HeirloomArt from customheirloomart1 says:

    Neighbors are the life blood of staying connected.

    3 years ago

  • somethinspecial

    Sue Faunt from somethinspecial says:

    I live in the Chicago 'burbs, almost always have, and I move around alot. I always make an effort to meet the neighbors, so I can feel comfortable with them and visa versa. Since I'm a single gal, comfort & safety is important to me. And I have an unusual occupation, home based internet business, I don't want anyone to think anything weird is going on here & be concerned. I always make sure they know what I do, which is usually met with a look of puzzlement & "oh that must be nice". All things considered, it helps me sleep better at night and I've met some really great people. Sue

    3 years ago

  • DowntownDame

    Kelly Deneen says:

    It can really vary. I lived in apartments for years and didn't really get to know our neighbors. I think some of it has to do with the crowding and lack of green space. My hubby and I moved into a duplex on a quiet street in an older neighborhood, and we ended up with a street of renters who all made it a point to be friendly. We cooked out together and threw parties. Those who had kids let them play together and the rest of us gave a hand with keeping an eye on them all. I babysat for a neighbor and she made us a quiche in exchange. For the first time, I lived in a true neighborhood. Now we have moved 15 minutes out into the country. There are a handful of houses around us, but it's not really a neighborhood. We are in a family home, so everyone grew up with hubby's dad. We decided to throw monthly cookouts over the summer, to bring the neighborhood out to the country. We've been really lucky to have such great friends, and didn't want moving away to become a permanent separation. So, we've become a satellite location for the urban folks to come chill on weekends. It works well. I'd say that bringing people together around good food is the easiest way to build and keep good relationships.

    3 years ago

  • HulaGirl1922

    Margarita from HulaGirl1922 says:

    hmmmm... personal experience growing up in Denver... most of my childhood memories were made by my childhood friends... most of my mother's family lived around or near us...so that was the extent of our socializing...though growing up downtown we did create a need to get to know our neighbors more so for a sense of security... it was the "got your back" mentality. We were the "neighborhood watch" before it was chic...:) Having the large family was so important to us... nowadays as everyone says... it is different since families are downsizing... Now living in a small small town on an island... I fine that sense of security is not what drives me to make friends but it is the closeness of a small town. We always seem to be bumping into the same good folk..so you make a friend even if you don't have too... either way, big or small town.... a good neighbor is a blessing indeed ♥

    3 years ago

  • PyxusPassionProject

    Michelle Maynard from SimonesRoseBoutique says:

    I grew up in the country so knowing your neighbors was a regular thing! I'm now living in Toronto where it is assumed that people don't talk to each other but I regularly chat with some of the neighbors in my apartment block and the apartment block beside ours! The first thing I noticed when I moved into my neighborhood was that everyone was so friendly and said HELLO! I have to say though - it also helps to 'meet the neighbors' when you have a dog. Its kind of obligatory to say hello when your dog is sniffing up their leg or dog's behind! ;)

    3 years ago

  • cutiepiecompany

    milly from cutiepiecompany says:

    I've lived in NYC for the past 15 years--in three of the boroughs: Manhattan, Bronx and Queens. While friendliness varies from place to place (so far I have found Queens to be the friendliest place to live!), I have always lived in apartments and always known at least several of my neighbors. Many of the apartment buildings I've lived in have been home to long term tenants--folks who have lived there 15, 20, even 30 or more years! I have always had relationships with my neighbors, and I have friends in apartment buildings through NYC who have experienced the same. I agree with Michelle from SimonesRoseBoutique--I also have a dog, so perhaps that helps in terms of meeting one's neighbors.

    3 years ago

  • thehappycouple

    Brianna from thehappycouple says:

    When we first moved into our neighborhood, after being an apartment dweller for 10 years, one neighbor brought us a plant, the other invited us for smores. I thought it was totally weird! Of course, now I realize that it's very normal and very nice. I've yet to peek my head out and do it for any of our new neighbors. We live in a very transient military neighborhood and even though it changes a lot, I think people are used to the meeting and greeting thing.

    3 years ago

  • windycitynovelties

    Windy City Novelties says:

    I have also noticed that about Chicago, When I was in the city and still tried to meet the neighbors in passing or just saying hi to someone on the elevator or stairs in the building was apparently unheard of. I just got strange looks or they just kept moving, no eye contact. I love the suburbs. When neighbors see each other outside, they walk over to say hi and talk. There are also fun holiday cookie exchanges in the winter and block parties in the summer.

    3 years ago

  • JLeeJewels

    Jackie Lee from JLeeJewels says:

    it took me about 5 yrs to get personal with my neighbors, i was too shy dont know why guess i am used to that lifestyle. hopefully i am better when i move soon

    3 years ago

  • windancn

    Paul D from BeachThings says:

    I talk to everyone I run into including neighbors. I meet some that don't want to be bothered at first but eventually they almost all come around and at least exchange small pleasantries. Some actually become friends and others become a pain but i smile and talk all the same. I'm not looking for a bff but life is too short to be negative and alone in a crowded world.

    3 years ago

  • VintageRescueSquad

    VintageRescueSquad from VintageRescueSquad says:

    15 years ago, when I moved from the city (Washington, DC) to the 'burbs 4 miles away, I thought that would be the death of my social life. On the contrary, my tiny street of 11 homes is awesome! My neighbors and I are are extremely close. We all have keys to each other's homes, eat together 2+ times a week, share garden tools, and walk each other's dogs. 14 of us even rented a beach house over Memorial Day weekend. One big happy family!

    3 years ago

  • NaturalandVintage

    Katie H from VintageLoveMarket says:

    We started getting to know our neighbors when a storm came through last spring. Having no power and lots of damage, we all wound up on the streets talking to each other. Now we are pretty good friends and see them on a fairly regular basis. It's nice to be able to walk next door and see friends!

    3 years ago

  • TheMightySquirm

    Thea from TheMightySquirm says:

    I moved to LA from NYC 12 years ago. LA is more spread out, so it feels more suburban (except downtown) and the "don't make eye contact, remain anonymous" behavior doesn't happen so much. I've gotten in the habit of smiling at people when I walk by and chatting with strangers at public events. Now I'm visiting NY and have to remind myself of how I used to behave. Interesting.

    3 years ago

  • GoddessOfJewelry

    GoddessOfJewelry from GoddessOfJewelry says:

    This has nothing to do with "City Live/Urban Life", but rather it has to do with "Apartment/Condo/High Rise Living". You can easily live in the suburbs in an apartment building (some who have lived there for YEARS) and never get to know them. If you had lived in a house in the city, it would be an entirely different matter altogether. I live in the city...minutes from the CN Tower and downtown Toronto... and I know all of my neighbours. Our kids play in the laneway in the back together daily. We share cupcakes, gardening tips, health tips, and they even buy my jewelry :) We have a "neighborhood watch"-type email that we send to each other in case something strange happens so we're all informed. We complain about racoons, property taxes, and public transit - just like everyone else who lives in the city. But we DO know each other... and you couldn't pay any one of us to move to the 'burbs!

    3 years ago

  • Khayanite

    Jennifer Watson from Khayanite says:

    "bring the global nature of social networking back to local roots" ..Nice. I think there is are large numbers of people that live in cyberland, work from home, only go out for necessities or a run. Some enjoy the uninterrupted creativity gaining momentum without interference, yet there is so much power in a smile and touchable local energy exchange. A life lesson can be learned in a single interaction/conversation in the street in seconds, compared to the over-stimulation of media and often directionless surfing of information. Everything is easier when shared and home is where you are welcome and loved. It's easy to get lost in cyberland and the conveniences society has that keep us all separated each doing our "thing" but having open arms for a hug when you need it is priceless.

    3 years ago

  • Khayanite

    Jennifer Watson from Khayanite says:

    "bring the global nature of social networking back to local roots" ..Nice. I think there are large numbers of people that live in cyberland, work from home, only go out for necessities or a run. Some enjoy the uninterrupted creativity gaining momentum without interference, yet there is so much power in a smile and touchable local energy exchange. A life lesson can be learned in a single interaction/conversation in the street in seconds, compared to the over-stimulation of media and often directionless surfing of information. Everything is easier when shared and home is where you are welcome and loved. It's easy to get lost in cyberland and the conveniences society has that keep us all separated each doing our "thing" but having open arms for a hug when you need it is priceless.

    3 years ago

  • elyseparker

    elyseparker from Leesiespottery says:

    Live life to the fullest, be happy and smile. Smile when you do not really feel like it because someone that you run into that day just may have a medical condition that is life (:

    3 years ago

  • leafprintstudio

    Camille from leafprintstudio says:

    I've been lucky to almost always have great neighbors, and I've been helped out in a pinch many a time. I have only been welcomed into a neighborhood by the existing neighbors a couple of times, usually it is me that goes to meet them. I do think it should be the other way around, and in that spirit, I took my new neighbor a loaf of zucchini bread yesterday and introduced myself!

    3 years ago

  • CopperheadCreations

    Sarah from CopperheadCreations says:

    I'd never heard of any of these sites before! Going to check them out. I live in NYC and can totally relate to your points about city life.

    3 years ago

  • ArleenDesign

    ArleenDesign from ArleenDesign says:

    Wow before when i was single i live in a philosophy of "I don't care much"....but when i got a family and living in a wonderful neighborhood where everybody know each other and seems to do care about each other..i begin to love that idea of knowing your neighbor and be nice to them. Recently when we were hit by a huge thunderstorm and knocks our power down for almost 4 days in a 100% heat, neighbor knocks and offer to plug in in their house so we can have power and aircondition. What a blessing!

    3 years ago

  • AwkwardDesigns

    Kira from AwkwardDesigns says:

    I have lived in the suburbs all my life, playing in the court with all the neighboring kids was routine. I love your prospective from making the transition from the urban to the suburban. Welcome to the burbs.

    3 years ago

  • passtheteapot

    J.T. Siems from SweetTeaApothecary says:

    I just moved to a city where I don't know anyone which is strange since college was ages ago. I felt like at least then you had a built in support network. I live in an apartment building and was hoping people would be friendlier, but it's a ghost town in the halls. I never see anyone. I'm consciously trying to be nicer and not have a wall up when I see people out and about. You sometimes forget that if you want people to open up to you, sometimes you have to make the first move. Coming from Los Angeles to Seattle, I've realized I had walls up - trying my hardest to fix that.

    3 years ago

  • Rhymit

    Rhymit from Rhymit says:

    I have livevd in the same apartment building in the Bronx , NY for about about 34 years. This building has about 200 units. I am fortunate to know many of my neighbors. I have a mobility impairment and am disabled. My neighbors are very kind. Sometimes they shop,visit and prepare meals for me, Most recently, my neighbors have shown me a lot of support when my mom passed away.

    3 years ago