Do you know your neighbors?
I have been asking everyone we interview for our book that simple question - do you you know your neighbors?
Most people don’t.
Or they “know” their neighbors as in “we would know that they were a neighbor if we saw them out somewhere and we wave to them as we pass on the street but we have never had a serious conversation with them.”
Which really isn’t knowing them.
We Didn’t Know Our Neighbors, Really
That’s how we knew most of our neighbors when we had the suburban house. Thirteen years of living on one street and we knew little more than their names, what kind of car they drove, and how they kept their yard.
Until I put the For Sale sign in the yard.
Suddenly we found ourselves inside the neighbors’ house. Sitting for coffee. Talking about our travel plans. Receiving their sorrow to see us go but best wishes for the future.
As we walked back home to continue packing and purging I got angry.
Angry at myself.
How did I let 13 years go by without inviting neighbors over for coffee? For a meal? Was I so selfish and self-interested that I couldn’t be bothered to learn about their families? Or learn what they had done for careers?
I resolved to get better at neighboring.
Purpose to Know Your Neighbors
We make efforts to meet our neighbors now as we travel. We’ve gotten over the discomfort of approaching a stranger. We scheme up questions to ask to get conversations going.
It doesn’t take much.
In Arizona we walked past a campsite where two faces were lit up by the computer screens they were looking at. I made a wisecrack about them emailing each other and the next thing we knew I was inside their trailer raiding the fridge for a beer and MsBoyink had her feet up with a wine glass.
But I had to make that joke.
Do You Have a Strategy?
So we’re wondering - do you have a neighbor-meeting or a neighbor-building strategy? Let us know in the comments.