It used to be that you knew everyone in your neighborhood. In many cases neighbors were born and raised together. Your parents knew everyone by name. You watched out for one another. Your home and all of the other homes made up this jurisdiction that was special to the people who lived there. If someone moved in or out of the neighborhood, it wasn’t an everyday occurrence. That was very 1960’s. In today’s world with two paycheck households, a multitude of after school activities for kids, online distraction limiting social interaction for adults and kids, we just don’t have the opportunities we once did to easily meet our neighbors. It is not uncommon to buy a house and ten years later realize that you have never met your neighbors. Or by the time you have free time or need that “cup of sugar”, you notice that the neighbor next door no longer lives there. The desire to get to know your neighbors is not as important as it once was for some. Many believe that odd and pesky neighbors exist! And you may find yourself in constant contact with them, especially if you live in a community with yards that are just about a yard long like many neighborhoods here in Charleston. It is important to learn how to co-exist even with the occasional Weird Wanda!
Many subdivisions have Covenants & Restrictions in place that you must comply with. If you see a neighbor who has let their lawn go, it is probably a violation of the C&R. What should you do as a neighbor without wanting to be the “bad guy” of the neighborhood? I know of one situation where the neighbors were upset over a yard that was in a bad state. Nobody knew the neighbors personally but they did find out that the woman living there was going through a serious illness. Instead of coming on strong and filing a complaint, the neighbors got together and formed a rotating lawn maintenance schedule to help her out. The woman was brought to tears for the neighborly gesture.
There are other neighbors who clearly send out signals that they do not want any social interaction. Your best bet in my opinion is to respect that. If the neighbor exhibits any kind of weird behavior or questionable activities, stay clear and mind your own business! What about the overly friendly neighbor who is barging in unannounced and uninvited and making himself a little too comfortable? If you are Jerry Seinfeld not caring if Kramer’s raids your refrigerator, you can hopefully find a courteous way to discourage this behavior. If you don’t say something, why should they stop doing whatever they’re doing? If you do talk, a solution may just be forthcoming. Most people don’t want to be a pesky neighbor!
I still like to think that even in our busy world, we can be a neighbor that someone would choose as a friend!