You always dreamed of living in a friendly neighborhood where everyone got along. A place where people waved to each other while walking the dog or borrowed eggs to make cookies or sat on the porch at night to talk and watch their children play on the sidewalk.
Getting that type of community is not easy. You have to work for it. Below are a few helpful tips that can reduce the odds of a dispute or a feud:
1. Talk face-to-face about any potential issues
Do not let things build up. Do not take passive-aggressive steps to get back at your neighbor. Do not talk about them behind their back just because you feel angry and frustrated. Instead, talk to them in person and work things out. Be kind and civil. If you address things in a respectful manner at the beginning, you can avoid a lot of conflict.
2. Keep the noise down
Cities have noise ordinances for a reason. Be considerate. Remember that not everyone is on the same schedule that you are. Just because you like to get up at 5 a.m. does not mean that it's time to get out the power tools and start working on your house. Think about others, keep noise at a respectable level and try to save any unavoidable noise for hours when people won't mind.
3. Talk to each other
Building community means actively putting yourself in a position to nurture it. This does not happen when everyone stays inside. Spend some time in the yard or on the front porch, giving your neighbors an easy way to connect with you. Have conversations and ask them how they're doing. Even if you feel like small talk is a waste of time, remember that it helps build relationships and that people can work out disputes much more easily when they have that type of relationship as a foundation.
4. Keep your home in good condition
Cut your grass. Touch up your paint. Clean up your yard. Make sure you park in front of your own home. These little things help the property look clean and well cared-for. Remember that everyone else has to look at your property all day long. Remember that property values are tied together, so one house can hurt the value of another. Do your part to be respectful to your neighbors by taking care of what you own.
When disputes happen
These tips can help, but some disputes will still happen. For instance, you can be a kind neighbor and still find yourself in a property line dispute with someone who thinks your fence is on their land. When this happens, make sure you know your legal options.