General Question

jonsblond's avatar

Do you consider yourself a good neighbor?

Asked by jonsblond (37891 points ) August 5th, 2009 from iPhone

There used to be a time when everyone knew their neighbors and everyone knew what was happening in the neighborhood. Is it still like this in your neighborhood?

Do you keep an eye on your elderly neighbor? Help shovel snow or get their mail when they are out of town? Bring a gift when someone graduates high school or has a baby?

My elderly neighbor that passed away a few years ago longed for the days when neighbors would stop by for morning coffee and a chat.

Sometimes I feel that the great neighborly days are over.

Are they?

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36 Answers

Deepness's avatar

New York City is pretty crowded. My neighborhood in downtown Brooklyn has lots of changes and development going on. Hard to keep track of neighbors.

Sarcasm's avatar

I’d consider myself a good neighbor: I don’t play loud music late at night, I don’t scream at the kids making noise in the street, I don’t steal other peoples’ parking places.

But no I don’t naturally look out for the elderly, or pay attention to when someone’s graduating, etc.

Plenty of times I have pet/plant/house sat for the neighbors I am close to.

chyna's avatar

I have an elderly neighbor that I was very nice to when I moved in. I took her garbage can back to her door, shoveled her side walks, etc. But she got very personal with me. She wanted to know which bedroom was mine, my hours at work, where I spent my time. That was okay, but then she started calling me all hours of the day to talk about her illnesses. She called me one morning at 6 a.m. to tell me I had left my garage light on. I found out that she had set fire to another neighbors house a few years back. I stopped talking to her when she went into detail about how she unimpacted her own bowels by herself. So I guess I’m a bad neighbor.

Tink's avatar

I know I am a good neighbor, one of my neighbors really pisses me off.
Where I live there isn’t many kids so there is more elderly people but they don’t come out often they just water their grass and go back inside.
It’s a pretty lonley place though. But if they need help I’ll do it.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I don’t like either family that lives on each side of our house – however if they needed anything, I’d be there for them, but I am not about to go bring them pies or anything…there is no reason to make friends with everyone on their block…they wouldn’t accept my views on a lot of things anyway…making the already unnecessary, for me, small talk full of tension…nobody really cares how you’re doing, nothing beyond superficiality…and I don’t need that…

I will tell you this, though…a couple of houses away from ours there lived this old man, George, who was always super sweet to my child, who couldn’t even answer him in English and he’d give him $5 for ice cream every now and then no matter how much I refused…he timed times I went to get my son from pre-school so he can say hello, he talked to my first husband about beer and jugs, he talked to my second and current about baseball and building things…a couple of months ago he came to our door asking for me and my son…he said that his landlord, without his consent or knowledge, put his house up for sale and he had to move and quickly…he said he will miss us and our family and gave a Curious George book and stuffed toy to Alexey, a card for me and Alex and left with tears in his eyes…I miss him and every time I pass the house, his house, and am glad no one has bought it yet..

jonsblond's avatar

@chyna At least you tried! My next door neighbor is such the Kravitz. We help him but he’ll definitely let everyone else in the neighborhood know of everything that we do wrong. You can’t win sometimes!

ShanEnri's avatar

Everyone around here minds their business and expects you to mind yours! They’re all old and when you pass by them they look away like they’re scared you’ll wave and they’ll have to wave back.

Ivan's avatar

I’m a very good neighbor; I keep out of their business and let them have their privacy.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

I know almost all of my neighbors on both sides of the street on my block, and talk to all of them. I talk to everyone who walks by, help people out, do sewing and mending, lend garden tools, etc. We used to have great block parties, but now everyone’s too young and not interested in socializing with their “parents.”

casheroo's avatar

When we were in our apartment, being a SAHM to a young child I was always out in the neighborhood so I got a feel of everyone. I knew who had children, who had pets, most occupations… I would chat with most people, and became friendly with them. But, a lot were very quiet and wouldn’t even make eye contact..very bizarre.
I wanted to give a gift to the lady who had a baby across the street, but I was to afraid she’d think I was weird! How awful that I was scared to give someone a gift.
We live in an awkward location…so it’s not like our son could run out and play with the neighbors, because we’re on a very busy intersection. So, we hardly get any Halloween visitors…but we made sure to visit all the neighbors (my son was the only one and got lots of candy aka I got lots of candy! haha)
My parents know the neighbors, and I know the ones with young children. I wish they’d invite us to come play, and I feel awkward just standing around with my son…who usually wants to play with other kids when we go for our walk, but that just doesn’t seem to happen with strangers…so frustrating.
Other than that, no we are not particularly close. I know most all of them but just on friendly terms.

Darwin's avatar

I am probably a lousy neighbor because I used to go talk to others and all that, but between caring for my husband and dealing with my son I have little time to do more than check the mail and run the trash can to the curb.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

I have neighbors I look out for, and others I don’t. Mostly the ones I don’t look out for are rental properties and the tennants change rather regularly. As it is, I have a good relationship with about half of my neighbors. Two have me watch their house when they go out of town, and if I see anyone in the neighborhood stuck in the snow, I give them a hand. I’m a better neighbor than some, a worse neighbor than others.

I do however put up a grand Halloween display, and the neighbor kids especially like that, since some neighbors go away and turn off all their lights so they don’t have to deal with trick or treaters.

Now that my display will be back for the first time in 2 years, I’m curious to see what the neighbors will think.

jonsblond's avatar

@casheroo We have a neighbor that takes photos of all the children that visit on Halloween. The following year she has everyone look in her photo book to see if they can find their picture to take home with them. It’s such a nice gesture. You can come trick or treat in my neighborhood!

jca's avatar

my neighbors are not particularly friendly but i will say hello first to them, because i’m that way. i have a couple on one side, whose dog chased my cat up a tree, where the cat was for three days. when i called to ask for her help getting the cat down, we got into a big argument for 20 minutes, then she called back to apologize and said she’d come with the ladder later. still, other than that, she will not say hello unless i say it first. across the street – same thing – they won’t say hello and i don’t know what their problem is. i almost want to ask them what the fuck is their problem, but that would not be helpful. at halloween, my front door is out of the way, so i don’t get too many kids, which is too bad, because i would love the chance to meet some people.

i don’t ask my neighbors for anything, but if they ever needed something and came over to ask i would try to help them.

dannyc's avatar

Yes, I regularly talk to all of my neighbors. They seem shy at times, but eventually I wear them down and feel it is important to acknowledge and enjoy their unique human characteristics. I am genuinely interested in their success and welfare and will always help them in any way I can. I feel that daily concern makes every day a beautiful day. I can see that they wish my family well and it makes for a happy little street in a tough world. We are all neighbors, even my fluther electronic ones!

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@dannyc well then why don’t you come over? wink wink

dannyc's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir . I just did, and hope you are having an amazing day!

SuperMouse's avatar

I grew up in a neighborhood where – though it was a quiet suburban place – the neighbors never knew each other. My family pretty much kept to themselves. Now that I am grown up, I tend to want to get to know my neighbors. An elderly woman across the street lost her husband recently and the neighbors have all stepped up for lawn care and snow removal and visiting with her. My kids play with all the other kids on the street so I’ve gotten to know the parents. All in all it is a very comfortable neighborhood and I think I am a relatively good neighbor.

The best deed I ever did for a neighbor? Driving her an hour to the hospital to see her husband who had attempted suicide while my sister and niece stayed with her kids. I then proceeded to shuttle her kids back and forth to school and watch them – as I was preparing to move my family halfway across the country in two weeks, my then husband had already moved, and the house was on the market. Less than a year later I went through a tough time of my own and she did not appreciate the way I handled it. She wrote me a nasty email telling me what an awful person I am and hasn’t said a word since. So much for good neighbors. Wow Mouse, a little bitter? lol4rl

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@dannyc it’s brighter now that you’re here

drdoombot's avatar

We live in an age of passive neighboring and privacy; no one wants anyone else in their business. Being a good neighbor used to mean inviting them over for dinner, helping them trim their hedges, chatting them up, etc. Nowadays, being a good neighbor means not bothering them with loud music, not touching their property and occasionally waving to them.

Despite how it is today, there is a wonderful foreign lady who lives down the hall from me who I can never turn down. Open a jar? Sure. Show you how to use a remote? No problem. Explain a letter? My pleasure. I do all of these things because her husband died several years ago and she’s quite alone. Even though it’s not a bother, she’s always dropping by to give me some apple juice, canned tuna, cookies and any other treat that comes her way.

Zendo's avatar

The great neighborly daze are over. They died out somewhen in the 50s.

Sarcasm's avatar

Back in the 90s I had an active, friendly neighborhood (well, really just the street). I remember at the end of the street, in the cul-de-sac having block parties during the summer. That died off after a few years, everyone started keeping to themselves, and then we moved out of there.

loser's avatar

I don’t know most of the people who live in the complex I live in. I don’t like most of them. But if any of them seriously needed help I’d be right there for them. I think that’s just what you do.

Quagmire's avatar

In my building I might NEVER see some neighbors while others it might take literally YEARS before I see them. In a house there are more opportunities to see your neighbors (if only through a window). In an apartment, no.

dynamicduo's avatar

Well I’m in an apartment now, so there’s no need to help with shoveling etc.

But generally speaking, I’m not a great neighbor nor a bad neighbor. I keep to myself mostly, will say hello in the hall, but won’t attend any “meet the neighbors” functions.

And then I intend to have a house that doesn’t have any neighbors, so that limits the friendship options too.

jbfletcherfan's avatar

Since I live in the house my parents built when I was 3, I know all the neighbors that have lived here for years. Others who have moved in since, we know, too. The elderly neighbor across the street, her husband died 2 years ago & I go over regularly to vacuum & iron for her. She’s had surgeries on her back & recently had a breast removed, so she’s not physically able to do it. We do as much talking & snacking as I do working, & I just love her to pieces. Her sister lives next door to us. We’ve all known each other for years & years.

We get along great with all our neighbors, giving shout-outs & waving. It’s a happy, quiet neighborhood.

Leanne1986's avatar

You may be right. Neighbours don’t seem to interact in the way they used. I am guilty of this myself. I very rarely interact with my neighbours. I will always say hello if I see them but I can’t say I know them (not even their names). I have only lived in my current home for 3 months and when I lived in my last home I did know my neighbours slightly better (mainly because we had a love of dogs in common and so we’d often talk over the wall about our furry, four legged friends!).

Having said that, my grandmother has some lovely neighbours who do keep an eye on her. For example, if she forgets to open her curtains in the morning they are round to make sure she’s ok. They will help her with shopping if needed and some pop round for a cup of tea.They are an older community so are used to interacting with neighbours more. My grandmother will often take other elderly neighbours (that can’t drive themselves) to church.

ubersiren's avatar

I hope so. I have 2 elderly ladies who live next door and I always pick up their newspaper and put it where they can reach it, I take them food when I make too big portions, and I shovel and salt their sidewalk in the winter. All I’m saying is I better get a spot in heaven if it exists. :p

CMaz's avatar

I get along with my neighbors, one of then brings me dinner now and then.
But, having good neighbors is knowing your boundaries and respecting theirs.

Could be living along side one another for a long time.

nebule's avatar

I brought everyone’s bins in this morning…so yes…I do rather! :-)

cak's avatar

Yes, even to the ones I don’t really like. I help with mail, when they are out of town. I help carry things in, when they have their hands full. I put a fence up to keep my dogs and children (mainly the boy) contained. I bake things for them and make a diabetic baked goods basket for our elderly neighbor. I’m a good neighbor – and I do know all of their names.

Now, if that one would just learn how to be a good neighbor!

jca's avatar

when i was little, my grandmother lived on a nice residential street and she had a house with a front porch. she knew all her neighbors, was friendly with them, would sweep the sidewalk and they would stop by and chat. or she would sit on the front porch and they would stop and chat as they walked by. it would be nice to be like that with my neighbors, however, i work all day and am very rarely around the way she was. that was the good old days, i guess.

sakura's avatar

I have just moved into a new housing estate and wondered how to make sure I didn’t upset neighbours etc… I found that just by saying hello, smiling and asking how people are has meant that I now get on with my neighbours and we know that we will look out for each other. For example we all banded together when some rather unsavoury people decided to take up camp behind out houses (Their reputation had proceeded them, they had camped in several places about town and left A LOT of human poop behind and rubbish)
I believe in a live and let live way of thinking and if my neighbours need me I will help and hopefully if they are worth their salt they’ll help me if needed too!

Garebo's avatar

When we first moved to where we are now, my neighbor was a 80 year old cantankerous neighbor that I eventually grew to love.
He was originally a farmer, amongst many other things, and I knew he drove his son crazy, who was my age. Must admit he was a scary dude too, his son always had a way to stop by in ackward situations, wanting to show me his prize bizarre primitive neolithic embossed stones he had found plowing behind my house.
He wanted me to watch over his dad, who he loved and detested, which I already was doing. Eventually, I was picking him up when he fell to get his mail, getting his mail, and taking care of that evil, scary as hell dog, etc.
Best part, I got to listen to all his fun stories of when he was the raging county polka accordian player in his tobacco spit soaked living room. That miserable scary dog eventually got what he deserved, the son shot him after he bit others in the “neighborhood”.
Now the old man has been replaced, by city folk, but they are country, the perfect neighbors, once their perfect lab ripped into my sons face for no real reason when he was seven. Now they are about to, or are in a divorce- don’t care. I don’t know about the other neighbor though he is to far away. Retired fella has big annual parties-thats fun.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

Well I don’t use State Farm insurance if that’s what you mean.

markylit's avatar

I think I try to be one but my neighbor seems to have a very different idea about it. Maybe we should sit down and talk it out one of these days.

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