Sunday, October 24, 2010

Know Thy Neighbor

I've started taking the girls on walks around the neighborhood in the morning, and it got me thinking... Why don't I know my neighbors? I've seen them all out doing work on their yards, getting the mail, coming or going, but I don't know their names. Why is that?

Growing up I knew my neighbors. Heck, I still know my parents' neighbors. One of my best friends lives a few houses away. My grandparents consider most of their neighbors lifelong friends. What happened? Do people not stay in one place long enough these days? Do we not trust one another? Before, I'm not sure I would have cared so much. But now that I have children, I actually care.

On our walks, we encounter very nice, courteous people. There are plenty of smiles followed "good morning" or "adorable babies" or "how are you today?" I live in a family neighborhood with children of all ages, so shouldn't I know these people? When those boys were in our backyard trying to get themselves hurt on our basketball court, shouldn't I know to what house they belong in case I need to call a parent? I would want my neighbors to know that those are the McQuinn twins out and about so they could let me know if something was awry.

But we don't know our neighbors, and I don't even know how to go about getting to know them. It's not like back in the day when you could just go over and knock on the door. No one has block parties (at least no one I know), and people don't just sit out on their porches and converse. I think knowing who lives nearby can make for a safer neighborhood, a happier playing environment for my kids, and just an all around better living experience. (Well, I guess that's if I have good neighbors!) you know your neighbors? How did you meet them? Do you hang out? If you don't know them, do you wish you did?


  1. Ah! Finally a post that I can comment on in a meaningful way (that's not to say that I don't mean it when I coo over the girls - because I totally do).

    I know most of my neighbors well enough to say hi at the mailbox, and a couple of them well enough to have a beer and a chat. I think it's because my neighbors are older- grandparents, parents of teenagers, and a rental property across the street. Most of them do actually sit on their porches and have the occasional party where we are all invited. One even cuts my front yard when he's working on a lawnmower he's planning to sell. I suppose I am lucky in that my neighbors came over (or called me over) to introduce themselves.

    As I was moving in, before I met everyone, I thought about writing a little note with some basic info, as an introduction, but I think just walking over and saying hi is the best way. Just stick your hand out and see what happens.

  2. I really have thought about just walking across the street and knocking, but I think I may just wait until they're outside already. I mean, how hard is it to say, "Hi, I'm Faith."