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Greeting Your Neighbors
You may not know it, but your neighbors are very important to you. While you might just see them as people you have to endure because they love their leaf blowers, keep their broken down cars in their driveway (or yard), or tend to be loud when you want to sleep, there are many reasons to be thoughtful toward them. Much like work relationships, or the challenges you might encounter with your relatives, the going may be tough but being considerate to those who live close by will produce dividends. Bottom line, it's in your best interest to be "neighborly" toward your neighbors, even if they are clueless as to what is expected of them.
As I stated in an earlier article, "Etiquette in the Neighborhood," you should always wave at them and/or acknowledge their presence. Though you may not recall their names, you do know that they live in your proximity. This is a good reason to let them know you are aware of who they are and that you acknowledge the fact that they belong on your street, cul-de-sac, block, apartment building, condo floor, etc. So wave at everyone who drives, walks or passes by you. If they are within earshot, say "Hi". In the hallway, elevator, or on the street, it's so much better to give a polite "Hello" than to act like you don't know them, or worse, that you don't even see them. People read body language much easier than anyone realizes.
Recognizing someone and not acknowledging them, while rude is also quite devastating to the person on the receiving end. It's best you step out of your comfort zone and say "Hello" rather than chose not to. Never sweat it if they don't reply or give you a look like they don't recognize you. Their anticipated response should never decide how you are going to act. Sometimes you are just going to have to make the first move. And maybe even the second or third move as well.
A little chit chat is always a good idea as well. After the wave and the "Hello", ask your neighbor how they are doing. Inquire about their family, job or other topic. Questions like these are not prying and won't be misconstrued. These people are a neighbor of yours, and this is what neighbors do. They are polite to each other, considerate of their lives and what happens to them.
Finally, consider a visit. Did you bake a dessert (pie, cake, brownies) and know you won't, or shouldn't, eat it all? bring something to your neighbors. Same with gardens or other items which you may have more than enough of. If you feel overwhelmed by the beans, zucchini, tomatoes in your garden, herbs in your potted plants or extra flowers, share the wealth. Anyone would love to share in the fruits of your labors, why not your neighbors?
Waving, saying "hello", small talk and offering a little extra are easy steps to doing more than just being "neighborly". They are giving you and those around you a sense of community. That instills a sense of belonging. These are all reasons for making friends. And really, can anyone have too many friends?
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