When you move into a new neighborhood you often feel like an outsider. Everyone on the street is sneaking a peak as your trucks roll up. Some of those neighbors might be looking for an opportunity to walk over and introduce themselves. Other neighbors are looking for telltale signs they aren’t going to like you. We’ve all had that one neighbor who is just too good for everyone around them. But, regardless of that one off neighbor, here is a strategy to make sure that you are, measurably, a good neighbor.
When you decide to engage your new neighborhood, focus on your five senses. First, the easiest sense to understand is sight. Make sure you aren’t the neighbor that makes the rest of the block look dumpy. Mow your lawn, keep your flower beds weeded, trim your bushes, and make sure your gutters and shutters are in good order. If you are landscaping-challenged you can hire a landscaper, replace a traditional lawn with a nice looking alternative, or even hire the neighbor’s teenager to take care of your lawn.
The sense that matters most to a lot of neighbors, especially in a family neighborhood, is hearing. If your kid plays the drums, or your wife is in an all mom punk garage band, let the closest neighbors know when they usually practice. Be willing to tweak things if they mention, for example, that their 2 year old naps during that time. If you are moving into an apartment or townhouse you need to take special care with shared walls, floors, or ceilings. Try to avoid putting noisy things, like dryers or subwoofers, against shared walls.
Unless there is very little space between you and your neighbors, it is not their sense of smell that you need to be most worried about. It’s the sense of smell of critters and vermin. Don’t let your garbage stack up. If you compost, make sure you have a proper container. Don’t leave indoor things, like couches, outdoors to get moldy and attract tenants of the 4 (or more) legged variety.
You should use your sense of touch with anything having to do with your pets. You should be holding your pet in your arms or on a leash if you are leaving your property with them. If your (well mannered) pet gets out every once in a while no one will be giving you “the eye.” However, if Rover is staking his claim on the neighbors prized roses every day you are going to have issues. This brings us to the other thing you’re going to need to be touching to be a good neighbor. You need to clean up after your dog every time he or she goes number 2 off your property.
In contrast to touch, taste is a fun one. It may seem old fashioned, but taking some food to your nearest neighbors is a great way to introduce yourself. Even if your neighbor is a gluten-free, vegan, diabetic they will appreciate that you showed up with some cookies. If you can keep these five senses in mind, you will get along in your new community just fine.