What kind of neighbor do you want to be—or better yet what kind of neighbor would you want living next to you? It is quite the balancing act when your brain is obviously going to be more biased to your needs when it comes to living happily and comfortably. For example, noise late at night may be a big issue for you, especially if you work very early mornings, but your neighbor may just be coming home and have no choice but make a little while walking or running their shower. As a peace offering, we give you these very reasonable and somewhat effortless gestures to be a considerate neighbor.
1. Introduce Yourself
The best way to start a friendly relationship with your neighbors is to make a sweet first impression. You don’t necessarily have to bring over freshly baked chocolate chip cookies or anything (but brownie points if you do), but come in confident and unassuming: “Hello, my name is Jane and I’m your new neighbor. Just dropping in to introduce myself!” And there you have it!
2. Pick Up After Yourself
Nobody likes a dirty neighbor. This means keeping your breezeways and balconies clean and free of unnecessary debris, taking out your trash and making sure that all of it goes into the dumpster, and picking up after your pets if you have them.
3. Have a Curfew for Noise
This is a big one. It streams out to many different issues that can happen when living in a community. We’re talking about avoiding late night parties (from young college students to older neighbors who just like to have fun!), setting appropriate times for using tools like hammers and drills, and keeping noisy pets, raised voices and so forth to a minimum at late or early hours. You’ll want to keep a general rule of keeping it reasonably quiet after 10pm or so, all the way until at least 7am. Hey, it’s part of the gig when you live in a shared building, among other things. If you’re in doubt about whether you’re being too loud or not, then you might just be too loud! You don’t have to stop the party, just turn the volume down.
4. Drive Slowly
If you’re driving a vehicle, motorbike, or even scooting your way through your community, drive slowly! We like to use the phrase “drive like your kids live here.” This is serious! You wouldn’t go speeding through an elementary school’s parking lot like a raging maniac (we hope), so it wouldn’t be considered courteous to do so in your very own community. This isn’t just for the safety of your neighbors, but for yours as well.
5. Park Appropriately
Some communities have “compact car,” “energy efficient only,” and other such labeled parking spots, and it is important that you respect any and all of these designations. This will prevent any unnecessary confrontations with upset neighbors and potential vandalism to your car in the worst case scenario. Don’t forget— the same rules apply to your guests! Make sure they know ahead of time where to park around your building to avoid problems.
6. Keep Track of Where You Can Grill
Many communities these days actually have a rule against grilling on your balcony. Instead, they typically require you set up in common area like the pool or park to do your cooking. Some facilities do offer a great alternative, supplying their own BBQ pits where you can grill your yummy food. Just be sure to clean up after yourself and put out all traces of the fire before you leave.
So what’s the reason for all of this? It’s to make sure all residents are safe by strictly monitoring where fires are allowed in the community and free from being bothered by someone else’s smoke. Some people love that smoky smell, but not everyone does. Avoid complaints and make it easier on yourself by just observing the rules or taking care where you grill.
7. Talk to Your Neighbors
If you happen to have an issue with one of your neighbors, it might be nice to politely introduce yourself and work your problem into a friendly conversation. Sometimes it’s a better idea to try and work things out yourself than to involve management. The conversation could be quite simple. Contacting the property authorities can make things awkward and easily cause tension; sometimes it’s the only way to handle a problem, but you have to think about what works best in each situation. If you don’t feel safe doing it at all, ask management to keep your information confidential.
These are some very simple ways to practice being a considerate neighbor. Try them out at least every once in a while, and you might find that your life in your new community can be quite peaceful. Hopefully your compassion will rub off on others and encourage them to be the best neighbor they can be to you and others as well.