I know the neighbors closest to me, but definitely not everyone on the street. I live on a fairly long street. When we see one another we will wave. At least once a month we will chat. My next door neighbor has a detached garage in his back yard. It has electricity running to it and it's own heat pump with air conditioning along with a couple of Harley Davidson's. A couple of times a year we will have a evening in the garage. He has a stereo, TV with internet, refrigerator and bar in there too. We order pizza, have a few drinks and talk the evening away. I would tell you more, but there is a sign over the door that reads "What happens in the garage, stays in the garage".
How well do you know your neighbors? Do you live on a street where everyone connects regularly, or do you all live in separate worlds and avoid eye contact whenever you see each other?
I used to live in a far-out hamlet in rural France, where it was normal for your "neighbours" - if you could call them that, as most weren't even in walking distance - to pop round and visit on a daily basis.
Since moving back to the UK, I've tended to keep things on a need-to-know basis with the neighbours!
What's Wrong With Friendly Visits From Your Neighbours?
There's nothing wrong with being on friendly terms with your neighbours, but I've experienced it to such an extreme that I've been put off for life!
When I lived in France, there were two people in the community who would visit on a daily basis, and others who would come over, also uninvited, once a week.
One of the daily visitors was a farmer who would, without fail, turn up on our doorstep between 8.30am and 9am, and stay for about two hours, drinking coffee and preventing us from getting on with our day.
The other visitor, also a farmer, was known in the community for being a bit of a drinker, and would usually visit around 6pm in the evening for an apéritif (usually Pastis - a strong, aniseed-flavoured liquor).
Quite often, he'd get so drunk that he'd forget he was supposed to go home for dinner, and would stay at ours until about 10pm.
Luckily, this stopped when the police took his license away for drink-driving (and for trying to bribe them with two bottles of cider and a pig, but that's irrelevant).
Is It Better To Have No Contact At All?
Well, I think it's important to be on neutral or positive terms with your neighbours, but I don't believe you should have to like someone - or pretend to - just because they live next door.
Mutual benefits of knowing your neighbours include:
- Better security on a day-to-day basis
- Better security when you go on vacation (just let your neighbours know in advance!)
- You can ask each other for help (borrowing appliances, looking after a pet when one of you is away, etc.)
- A sense of community
I'm moving house in a few days, and I think we're going to say hi, let the neighbours know we've moved in, and just try to keep on friendly terms with them. Nowadays, in our culture, I don't think people really expect much more anyway!
It actually depends a lot on where you live. I live in a small county where you know everyone. You will know most of the people that live in your street (just to make sure we understand each other it is impossible to know everyone on the street but you will know people that live up to let's say 10 or 20 doors away). It is good to be in a healthy relationship with your neighbors because it is a security bonus and you will need help from time to time with simple things that take 3 mins. I have lived in my street my whole life.
There is a big difference when you move from your hood to the new hood because in my country we don't have the custom to say hi when we move somewhere and you will most likely know no one and continue to hang with friends from the hood you moved out from. I think it varies from country to country , town to town and villages are even more specific, but in a village you will know everyone and everyone will know everything about you.