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20 Ways to Be a Good Neighbor logo 10/4/2018 Madeline Holler

Take Pride in Your Neighborhood

Take Pride in Your Neighborhood © Twenty20

Knowing your neighbors makes you feel safer in your community. It's also a great way to feel supported and find new and lifelong friends. Getting along with neighbors can sometimes be difficult, but it all starts with being a good neighbor yourself. 

One way to be a good neighbor is to simply take pride in your neighborhood. Embrace it for what it is, find out what you can do to make it better, and tell others about how much you love your community.

Help Maintain Shared Space

Help Maintain Shared Space © Twenty20

Good neighbors don't just take care of their home and yard. They also look out for the shared spaces, like easements, islands and neighborhood parks.

Spruce Up Your Yard, Stoop or Balcony

Spruce Up Your Yard, Stoop or Balcony © Twenty20

Taste is individual, so what you do with your front yard, your balcony or your stoop is a matter of what you like. But putting some time and effort in will show. Keep the leaves raked and the lawn nicely tended. Or limit cleaning supplies and sports equipment on a balcony that is visible to others.

Limit Late or Loud Parties

Limit Late or Loud Parties © Twenty20

Outdoor summer parties are the best, but going late and being loud is a burden on your neighbors. You should definitely have fun in your own home, but consider your neighbors' needs and limit the noise and activity during sleeping hours.

Introduce Yourself

Introduce Yourself © Twenty20

You don't have to become best friends with everyone in your neighborhood. You also don't have to drag around well-stocked welcome wagons. But introducing yourself and learning names is just a good neighbor thing.

Don't Overload Trash Cans

Don't Overload Trash Cans © Twenty20

Trash cans are ugly and attract critters. Keep trash inside the trash bins, and try not to overload them. If you do overload them on the regular, consider getting another trash can. And don't put trash out days ahead of pickup time. 

Be Mindful of Pet Poop

Be Mindful of Pet Poop © Twenty20

Pick up after your pets every time. Don't be the dump-and-run neighbor.

Quiet Your Barking Dog

Quiet Your Barking Dog © Twenty20

Bring barking dogs inside, especially if you're not going to be home. It's better for them, and you won't drive your neighbors crazy. 

Attend Neighborhood Meetings and Events

Attend Neighborhood Meetings and Events © Twenty20

Get involved in your neighborhood. You don't have to make it your full-time side project (unless you want to), but know who in the city represents you, go to neighborhood meetings once in awhile, and attend local events when you can. Bonus points for going with a neighbor! 

Don't Be Defensive

Don't Be Defensive © Twenty20

If someone asks you to quiet down or lets you know your barking dog is making them crazy, don't get defensive. Listen, apologize, figure out a solution. If you think their accusations aren't your fault, mention it calmly and offer to help find out what is really going on. 

Say 'Hello'

Say 'Hello' © Twenty20

Saying "hi" is easy and can really make someone's day. It's also a way to connect with others without having to delve deeply into a relationship. Even if you prefer a bit of distance from the people you live around, saying "hi" obligates you to no one—but it does help you earn some of the benefits of a close-knit neighborhood, such as safety and others looking out for you. 

Be Trustworthy

Be Trustworthy © Twenty20

Show your neighbors you're trustworthy by signing for their packages when they're not home, bringing them mail that was delivered to you or mentioning that you haven't seen them in awhile and wanted to make sure they're OK.

Offer to Help Lift or Carry Things

Offer to Help Lift or Carry Things © Twenty20

On move-in day, offer to help with the heavy, awkward couch. Or if you see them bringing in a new water heater, ask if you can hold the door. Offer to help lift and carry if you're able, even if it's something small.

Show You Trust Them

Show You Trust Them © Twenty20

Show your neighbor that you trust her by asking her to keep an extra set of your keys for emergencies. Of course, make sure you trust her first! 

Invite Neighbors to Parties

Invite Neighbors to Parties © Twenty20

When you have big parties that aren't tied to a specific celebration, invite your neighbors. Not only will you build your bonds with them and show them your generosity, but you'll also buy a little extra late-night time and forgiveness for your loud best friend. 

Resolve Disputes in Person

Resolve Disputes in Person © Twenty20

Resolve disputes with neighbors first by meeting face to face. Going after someone in the online Facebook group is always a recipe for disaster. If face-to-face doesn't work, then try email and posted letters. Your city might also have an office with mediators who can help you resolve disputes that may require a neutral party.

Share Holiday Cookies

Share Holiday Cookies © Twenty20

Why not send a plate of holiday cookies over to the neighbors? It builds good will, lets them know you appreciate them and might even make them feel less lonely at that time of year. 

Be Generous With Compliments

Be Generous With Compliments © Twenty20

Let your neighbors know what you like about them: their kindness, their Christmas decorations, their kids. Good neighbors notice and say something.

Don't Argue Over Fences and Driveways

Don't Argue Over Fences and Driveways © Twenty20

Property lines, shared driveway access, fences—these are some of the biggest issues neighbors end up fighting over. If at all possible, find a way to agree, ignore or fix. But it's worth the effort to not fight about it.

Shovel Out Their Car, Walk or Drive

Shovel Out Their Car, Walk or Drive © Twenty20

As long as you have the snowblower out, why not do your neighbor's driveway and sidewalk, too? You might want to ask them first. But shoveling their car out of a snowdrift will likely never be the wrong thing to do.

Related Video: 3 Small Home Projects That Pay off Big (Provided by Kiplinger)

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