{Meet} The Neighbors

Sometimes I think common courtesies have totally disappeared from our society.  More often than not, I feel like we live in the most selfish culture in the world.  For example, last week, I had a flat tire on the interstate about 10:00 at night with my son with me.  Stranded on the side of the road, not one single person even stopped to help, much less even move over to keep from blowing us off the road as people sped by in their cars!  Fortunately, Audley was behind me, and though I knew he was taking care of things,  he was gone 45 minutes!  If you have never been stranded on the interstate late at night, it can be quite  scary!  
As if that little instance didn’t bother me enough, we pulled into our driveway over the weekend to find our neighbor spray painting the property line.  It seems my pretty little pussy willow tree Audley planted had crossed over the boundary (part of it was on our side!) and he didn’t like it. 
{Talk about petty!}
I guess my point is that it often seems so many people are scared or even don’t care anymore about feelings or emotions of others around them.  No one communicates, they just react, or even ignore those around them.  It is quite discouraging, especially when you are trying to teach your own children to put others first.
There is a ray of sunshine amid the clouds.  Between these two events, one of our new neighbors walked over with her little boy to bring a loaf of fresh banana-nut bread to welcome us to the neighborhood and introduce herself.
It truly made my whole day and warmed my heart!
But it also got me to thinking; would I do the same for someone else?  I would like to think so!  
In Alabama my nearest neighbors were my in-laws and a pasture of cattle.  I always noticed when new cows were added to the pasture, so surely I would become acquainted with our neighborhood well enough to know when someone new moves in.  Kind of like “Wisteria Lane” without the drama!
In a era of self gratitude, what is acceptable when meeting new neighbors?  
*This is the one time it is perfectly acceptable to venture out of your comfort zone and take a stroll next door to meet your newest neighbor without calling first.  The whole idea is just to say hello and welcome them to the neighborhood.  
*Perhaps you have noticed your neighbor likes to walk their dog the same time every day, or work in the yard.  Maybe you have seen that they leave to pick their children from school the same time everyday.  Use that time for a quick hello.  
*Don’t wait until the dinner hour approaches to pop in, and certainly don’t make it a long visit!  
Meeting new people can be awkward sometimes.  There is not really a specific time frame for meeting a new neighbor, but if you have acknowledged them with a nod or slight wave on several occasions, you really ought to take five minutes to introduce yourself.  Sharing a written list of area highlights or great places to shop would be a most welcoming gesture.  While an offer to babysit may not be as acceptable since you are obviously unknown, offering to help move furniture or haul off empty boxes would be a huge help to those just moving in.  If you would like to welcome a neighbor with a gift, a loaf of homemade bread, a candle, wreath for the door, even a six-pack of pansies go a long way to making someone feel at ease. 
 What ever you do,  don’t spend your visit badmouthing other neighbors or putting down the neighborhood.  Moving is stressful enough without creating the feeling that someone may have made a huge mistake in your choice!

Besides, gossiping does not make anyone look good.
Whether you have lived in your neighborhood for a while or are new, there are common courtesies that will make us all good neighbors.
*Say hello or wave to your neighbors whenever you see them.  A smile and wave can go a long way to brightening a dreary day.
*When you have time, stop and talk.  There is no better way to get to know someone than to stop and talk! It doesn’t have to be a long chat.  If you want to visit longer, plan a lunch.
*Call ahead before visiting.  Make sure it’s a good time to stop by.  Once friendships are established, this may change to a more casual drop-in, but as you are first getting to know people, always call first.
*Don’t make your visit an all-day affair or sit around and wait on an invite to dinner.  We all have things to do, even if it is just folding clothes.  There is a time to linger and a time to be brief.  Know those times wisely.
*Don’t take advantage of a neighbor’s generosity.  If they offer to help with something, it is fine to accept, but don’t abuse the offer.  
*Honor your neighbor’s privacy and property.  Clean up after you dog if he visits their yard and don’t cut through yards to get somewhere else.  
*Keep your yard looking nice.  In an area with manicured yards, an unkept one will stick out like a black-eye.
*Most of all, say thank you.  No one likes to feel unappreciated, ever.  And if a neighbor is willing to do something for you, be sure to return the favor.
{Several of these ideas have been adapted from Emily Post’s Etiquette, 2011}

 Who knows, maybe if we all try to be good neighbors, stopping to help someone will seem more the norm and less the trouble.
I am working on a post this week to help you with stocking your pantry in Kitchen Matters this week and I have a fabulous recipe for a a refreshing strawberry pie I can’t wait to share!  I hope you will stop back by to check it all out!
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3 thoughts on “{Meet} The Neighbors

  1. I would not want to be on the Interstate at that hour. And I don't know if I would be more afraid if no one stopped or if someone did!

    We certainly can be territorial now can't we? Too bad about the neighbor being so unfriendly as to spray the boundary line. Gheesh. And wonderful of the young lady who brought a banana bread. Three cheers for her!

    Looking forward to what you'll be posting later this week. Hope that I'll see you Wednesday. You certainly have a lot of photos that would make a great inclusion in a set of notecards.

  2. Well said Jen. That was scary being on the highway like that. I am so happy A was there to help. My husband had a car accident a couple of weeks ago on the highway . He swerved to miss an animal that ran onto the highway. Someone did call 911 but no one stopped to see if he was okay. Very disheartening. And I can't believe your neighbor did that. Of all the nerve!!! You will have so much fun learning a new area to yard sale in. If I lived nearby we could go together. 🙂

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