October 29, 2014

Love Your Neighbors

I recently read a study that came out that said many Americans couldn't pick their next door neighbor out of a police line up.  What does that say about the word "community"?

I guess that doesn't really surprise me.  People are stuck behind phones, iPads, computers and they stop paying attention to the things happening around them.  Everyone is freaked out by the recent dateline story and they've checked the sex offender website more than once in the last month.

In St. Paul, we knew many of our neighbors.  We grabbed mail when people were out of town, shoveled sidewalks if we were the first ones outside after a heavy snow and dropped off baked goods on random Saturday afternoons.

We are still trying to navigate that neighbor thing in our new home.  We've made some great friends with neighbors here since we moved.  The sad thing is that they are now moving out.  Apartments have such quick turnover compared to neighborhoods with single family homes.  Every week, there is a moving truck outside.

We have a dog park which has been the best place to connect with dog loving neighbors.  We have neighborhood events which can be a little too awkward and forced.  We make eye contact near the mailboxes and wave to the people we recognize walking to and from the parking garage.

Then last night, one of the lovely men that lives in our complex decided that he didn't like where J parked in the garage and thought that swearing at him and yelling was the neighborly thing to do.  I watched it all happen.  The guy had to walk to the other garage door because of construction material being in the walkway.  It wasn't Justin's fault at all, but he got so angry about an extra 60 paces that he had to call him an effing asshole.

Deep sigh.  

That kind of moment makes me not want to know my neighbors.

That's not an option.  One guy can't ruin my outlook, so I have to move on.  I have to smile at him the next time I see him.  He has his own battles and stories that I know nothing about, so I won't let him crap on mine.


Instead, I'll just go play with Wally (the puppy across the street), joke with the doorman and maybe leave some candy in the Halloween bowl downstairs.  I'll keep being the best neighbor I can be.  Maybe I'll even take a bottle of wine down the hall after work today and have a drink with one of my favorite neighbors.

Do you know your neighbors?

picture source

9 comments:

  1. I was friendly with my one neighbor in my apartment building. That was it. Now that I just moved I'm pretty certain I won't get acquainted with anyone on my street, and I'm A-OK with that!

    Michael @ CrazyTragic{almost}Magic

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  2. Sad how some people are, huh? =\ I'd love to be your neighbor though, you're much better at it than I am. Jared and I are friendly with the few houses near us, one guy has helped us with car problems before, etc- but we could definitely make a better effort.

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  3. It's really hard to form the same relationships with neighbors in apartments as you do in single family homes! We never got to know our apartment neighbors at all, but now that we are in a home we have talked to our neighbors fairly often and we watch each other's houses when we're out of town. I feel like I could do better to reach out and get to know them better though!

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  4. Before I even read this entire post I was going to comment on how different being neighborly is living here, as opposed to living in Michigan, but then you basically confirmed what I was going to say. I'm always baffled when I see neighbors that park their cars right next to each other, but don't as much as smile or wave to each other when they pass by!

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  5. ugh and sometimes apartment neighbors are the worst! Do you think you guys will be in NJ long enough to buy?

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  6. All of our neighbors have been very nice, thankfully. Some have been weird/loud though. I'll take that over someone nasty any day!

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  7. I'm the awkward person not making friends. I just can't do the whole "so it's raining out, huh?" small talk in the 15 second elevator ride. But it would be nice to know people, if for no other reason than I want them to call 911 for me if I'm being murdered or something.

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  8. Steve and I live in a development with single family homes, an we talk to our one next door neighbor, the family across the street and the people next to them. I could pick them out of a lineup, but I couldn't tell you who lives 6 houses down. We have a snowblower, so Steve is always willings to help during a snowstorm to clear the drivways and he always does sidewalks up to two houses down in each direction. There's a huge group of women in the neihorhood who hang, but honestly, I cant be bothered. I know, that sounds terrible!

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  9. I'm lucky that I live in an apartment building with a bunch of nice people. We have three pet-friendly buildings and one non-pet-friendly building, so most of the people in this building are pretty awesome! I do have to say, though, there's at least one woman who rubs me the wrong way. She doesn't live on my floor any more but she's always rude when I see her. I hope your situation gets better. Maybe garage dude was just having a bad day...

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Thanks for reading my ramblings. It makes my heart happy.