How Close Should You Be With Your Neighbors? It Depends

The need for neighborly interactions has changed with every new neighborhood, and the more I try to localize my life. Each place I’ve resided included all types of people. If neither of us said “hello,” our offers would remain a mystery to each other.

Being acquainted with your neighbors, at the least, will illuminate compatibility. The degree of suitable interaction will hinge on harmonious differences and similarities. Lean on your intentions to assess individual neighbors.

Ignoring our neighbors became so easy, it’s unsustainable. Why not commute to the big box stores where all possibilities are available—or better, stay on the couch to order anything we want online?

Today we can, but one day it’ll have to change. We need to change before it’s forced, or more people will suffer. Price hikes are a sign that unsustainable goods are coming to an end. Cheap doesn’t exist beyond currency.

Like family, neighbors are involuntary social resources. Since you can’t choose who lives next to you, exchange with each neighbor will be on various levels. To explore them, you’ll need to learn how to become a good neighbor.

Is It Important Having a Relationship With Your Neighbors?

Our value of money and privacy versus relationships impacts how we value those around us. We’ve become quite accustomed to getting what we want. Rather than discovering what is around us. As we experience shaky world events, we seek stability in reachable relationships.

Local relationships are vital for many reasons. Association with your neighbors forms a strong and stable environment. Day-to-day living is pleasant when the people near you trust and respect each other. When a crisis occurs, coming together is easy when you know who to help and who needs help.

While not every neighbor makes the best neighbor, resilience builds from teamwork.

Banding with our neighbors for any part of our lives lowers costs and increases value. It doesn’t lower costs by way of being cheap with them. When mutual exchanges are close in proximity, you don’t rely on a car or fuel to do everything!

  • Could there be emergencies that you’d like notification for, if away?
  • Are you finding life difficult to afford with the currency you use, more so by the day?
  • Do you need pet-sitting or babysitting?

When we lived in an apartment, I had a neighbor with a dog who became BFFs with Sadie.

Out at work for 9 hours a day, I couldn’t tolerate the thought of leaving Sadie for that long alone to lay around all day. She had only ever been alone for MAX 5 hours at a time. Lucky me, I became acquainted with my neighbor four doors down. Jessica and her dog took care of Sadie every day for a trivial $5 a day.

Thanks to a mutual relationship with a neighbor:

  1. I saved huge on ever needing to fork out daycare costs plus the time and fuel to get her there
  2. Sadie got spared the trauma that doggy daycare can cause
  3. The neighbor’s dog had a suitable playmate
  4. The neighbor got paid to socialize her shy dog

It’s easy to underestimate the value of the people living around us until we get to know who they are and what they offer. As change is a constant, we often learn more about what we could be needing too.

When To Have No Contact With Your Neighbors

To find out if you should have no contact with particular neighbors, you still need to say hello! Otherwise, you wouldn’t know any reason for avoiding contact.

You can steer clear from someone for your own reasons or for their reasons.

The best way to be on everyone’s side is to recognize and respect space, more so for reserved people. Some people aren’t looking for connections in the neighborhood.

People who like their privacy often move to an area where they can be re-anonymous or alone in their own space. Who knows, one day the quiet neighbors may open up to you because of the space you’ve provided them when they wanted it.

If you have a neighbor who seems to ignore you with intention, it’s best to give space.

Then, there are verbally-abusive people. Would you want to be around that? I wouldn’t.

It’s interesting to think about why we don’t get to know our neighbors for community anymore. Even more intriguing, is why that might need to change.

When To Become Acquainted With Your Neighbors

To explore what our community might offer; become acquainted with everyone nearby.

Even reserved neighbors are likely to exchange contact information for emergencies. Taking down the names and numbers of all your neighbors could be life-saving for either one of you.

Unless your neighbor has a sign on the door “no neighbors allowed” go and introduce yourself! Their reaction and how much they share will be a good indicator of the possibilities. If a spark lights a fire, prepare to make some plans!

When To Be Friends With Your Neighbors

When To Be Friends With Your Neighbors

Become friends with your neighbors if you care for sustainable convenience. Learning about your local people is a practical choice of community.

Start with befriending a few neighbors at a time and avoid excluding others. Similarities are as much of an advantage as differences. Everyone shares a bit of both.

Neighbors are purposeful in three ways: essential friends, collaborators, mentors, and mentees.

Essential friends

The neighbors who share your deepest values become your essential friends. Commonalities allow new relationships to blossom with familiarity.

When we moved to the countryside, we felt like we were in the middle of nowhere. After a year of knowing no one, we came across a couple with everything in common! Their interests and world views are like a mirror. From the beginning, we could talk like no tomorrow. Essential Friends

Differences are often complimentary in some way and can create great opportunities. It takes time to find out they exist between you!

Collaborators, mentors, and mentees

Even if you live in an apartment, a cookie-cutter house, or a nestled cottage in the woods—local trade is often an overlooked asset among near people.

Nestled bunkie in the woods
A nestled cottage in the woods

After we became friends with a few neighbors, we discovered many available offers:

Our lovely neighbor Grant is growing seabuckthorn and so were we. Sadly, our male plant died! Now that we know he is growing them too, he is close enough that we won’t need a male plant. Our females are close enough to set fruit in the years to come. If it happens that we do, I am positive we can swap a cutting or two! Our loss was no longer felt the same way by knowing our neighbor.


Our creative neighbor Tom needs a lifetime of landscaping done, and our young backs need to pay bills. He makes progress at a reasonable rate, while we make a sustainable, no-commute income! Tom also shares a lot of little creative-knowledge bombs.

Collaborator, Mentor

We are growing a large garden and through a survey; our neighbors would love to buy our surplus grown food.

For staking some of our crops, we use basswood for twine all thanks to Tom’s interesting expertise!

Collaborator, Mentee

When To Set Boundaries With Needy Neighbors

After they’ve failed to receive the hint about how you feel it’s time to be clear about your boundaries.

What if they start walking into your house unannounced and invading your privacy?

Start locking the door, they will need to knock. If they drop by less often, they likely got the hint that you dislike unannounced drop-ins.

What if they invite themselves over and come knocking too often for your preferences?

Tell them the truth about how you feel.

What if they start sharing private details about others and pry into your personal life too?

Be careful what you share. Next thing you know, the entire neighborhood could know what you didn’t tell them! You could consider calling them out on this behavior.

An understanding of our neighbors builds value and respect. People who live nearby and like each other, are more likely to be mindful. You don’t have to be best friends with every neighbor to form a beneficial relationship.

If everyone practiced these 9 habits that make good neighbors, we would get along seamlessly.

Related: Do You Need a community to Be Self-sufficient?

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While Rachelle's hands are clean for the keyboard, she enjoys writing and designing creative content and resources. You will most likely find her outside planting a cabbage, foraging berries for breakfast, and collecting herbs for year-round tea or making food.

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