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How to be a good neighbor

  • Updated Aug 17, 2017
How to be a good neighbor

As soon as the moving truck pulls in next door, you are beginning a relationship with a new set of people whose proximity requires good behavior and clear communication. Here are some things you can do from day one:



  • Acknowledge that you see them moving in, whether it is a wave of your hand from your yard or a quick Welcome to the neighborhood. I'm looking forward to getting to know you. Don't bother them on moving day - they have too many things on their mind.


  • Resist the urge to stand at your window while they unload.


  • A plate of cookies or a pot of stew can be most appreciated at their front door but don't go in unless invited. Then stay only a few minutes unless your help is welcome.


  • When you finish with it, leave your copy of the newspaper in their box or on their porch for the first week. Or buy them a week's subscription to the newspaper.


  • If the new neighbors are from out of town, a packet made up of a city map, a list of local events, museums, concerts, etc., might be welcome, or, with their permission, give their name and address to a welcoming service.


  • Blending kindness with firmness, make your boundaries known if the new neighbor's children or pets begin to violate your space. If you don't complain about their dog pottying in your yard when it first begins, the habit will become difficult to break. Tell them about the traditions or customs of the neighborhood, when trash is picked up, or how leaves are disposed of.


  • Tell the new neighbors to let you know if they need recommendations for shopping, a dentist, dry cleaners, etc., rather than just volunteering them.


  • Never be critical of the people who used to live there.


  • Invite them to your church, but don't pressure them to attend.


  • After two weeks, a neighborhood dessert or potluck dinner can introduce newcomers to other people who live nearby.


  • If your offer of help or friendship is refused, don't push. Wait until your neighbors have time to get settled and look you over. In the meantime, smile.


Taken from Lists to Live By compiled by Alice Gray, Steve Stephens, and John Van Diest. Copyright (c) 1999. Used by permission of Barbara Baumgardner, Bend, Ore. Published by Multnomah Publishers, Inc., Sisters, Ore. Contact your local bookstore to order.

Barbara Baumgardner is an author and speaker.Alice Gray is an inspirational conference speaker and the creator and compiler of the bestselling Stories for the Heart books series. She and her husband, Al, live in Oregon's high desert country.Steve Stephens is a licensed psychologist, marriage and family therapist, seminar speaker, and author of five books. He lives with his wife, Tami, and three children in Clackamas, Ore.John Van Diest has been a book publisher for more than 25 years and has traveled the world as an advocate for Christian literature. He lives with his wife, Pat, in Oregon.