During the pandemic, local communities have thrived. They’ve become some of our strongest support networks, and we’ve revitalised the importance of being neighbourly. Every cloud has its silver lining, eh?
But at times, it’s not always easy. With ‘The Nightmare Neighbour Next Door’ being the most popular TV show on Channel 5 and the British social awkwardness holding us back, we may feel inclined to keep ourselves to ourselves.
But with HomeHero on your side, you don’t have to. Whether you’re new to the neighbourhood, welcoming a new family next door or just want to step out of your comfort zone and form new friendships, we’re here to guide you.
So, without further ado, here are some great (covid-friendly!) tips and tricks for building great relationships with your neighbours.
So, the first step is to reach out to members of your community. Some may say that this is the hardest part, but it’s arguably the most crucial.
When a new neighbour rocks up, the neighbourhood is bound to be curious. The best way to reassure them that you’re going to be a great neighbour is to stop, smile and introduce yourself. Easy, right?
Next up is small talk—dun dun dun. For some people, small talk can trigger an onset of anxiety. You may feel worried that you’ll run out of things to say or feel unsure how to bow out of the conversation politely.
But small talk has an essential social function in our day-to-day lives. It helps us to lay the groundwork for our relationships and explore compatibility with others, so go for it!
If you’re unsure of where to start, HomeHero suggests talking about the weather. We Brits love talking about the weather’s unpredictability, so much so that it’s intrinsically related to our character.
According to previous research, 9 in 10 Brits have spoken about the weather in the past six hours.
It’s the perfect ice breaker because not only is it neutral, but it’s also a conversation everyone can contribute to.
Once you’ve done this, the best thing you can do is stay consistent. Next time you see your neighbours, ask how their day has been or what they’ve been up to.
You could also:
- Make an effort to remember and use their names
- Take their bins out for them while you’re doing yours
- Offer to take in their parcels when they’re not in
These small things can solidify your neighbour relationships while also helping you leave a great impression. Everyone wins!
Join Social Groups
Next up is joining a group on social media. Before the pandemic, this seemed a little counterintuitive, but lockdown has shown us it’s a great way to stay connected.
Whether it’s on Facebook or Whatsapp, neighbours can use social media to share information, give people a heads up or inject a little positivity into everyone’s day. After all, who doesn’t like a viral meme now and again?
If there isn’t a group to join, start one yourself or join forces with your closest neighbours and set one up together. Teamwork makes the dream work!
And once lockdown restrictions ease, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to strengthen bonds with your neighbours. Just head to the local pub, invite them to a BBQ or attend a street party, and you’re all set.
During the first national lockdown, volunteering and charity work soared. Roughly 10 million UK adults helped out their local communities by running errands, collecting groceries or phoning those struggling with isolation.
And although lockdown restrictions are continuing to ebb and flow, there’s no reason why you can’t continue to offer help to your neighbours in need.
You could also get stuck in by:
- Taking part in a neighbourhood clean up
- Offering to walk your neighbour’s dog
- Organising or participating in a community project
It’s important to remember not to take on too much. Your mental and physical health is just as important, so don’t feel afraid to reach out and lean on others for support. That’s what being neighbourly is all about!
Another key to building great neighbour relationships is being considerate. Having mutual respect for one another goes a long way, so be sure to factor this into your daily activities.
For example, a considerate neighbour will monitor their noise levels.
According to Newsbeat, 44 out of 51 local councils reported a rise in noise complaints since the first national lockdown began in March 2020.
To avoid contributing to the troublesome statistics, you could:
- Monitor the noise levels of radios, televisions, and stereos at all times of the day.
- Choose a considerate time of day to carry out housework, DIY jobs and gardening.
- Ensure all sound systems are away from walls and place them on carpets or rubber mats to help absorb sound.
- Be wary of speaking loudly or slamming doors, particularly at night.
- Inform your neighbours of any parties you’re throwing, along with a contact number should any problems arise—or better yet, invite them! (Once restrictions ease, of course)
During and after the first lockdown in April, May and June, roughly one-fifth of offences involved domestic abuse. If you suspect anything, look out for your neighbours by reporting it.
You can also be a thoughtful neighbour by:
- Ensuring that you clean up after your dog
This is important. A rubbish collection company in the UK has found that dog litter is up by 200% since lockdown started, with removal firms expressing concerns over the implications dog waste can have on public health.
And since we’re on the topic of public health, you can be a considerate neighbour by adhering to social distancing measures.
Wearing a mask, making space—it’s all become synonymous with compassion and respecting one another.
Actions speak louder than words, and there’s no better way at showing you’re a kind, attentive neighbour, by doing this.
Know How To Handle Conflict
But unfortunately, it’s not all sunshine and roses. Neighbour disputes do happen, and that’s okay. We’re bound to run into some conflict from time to time, but it’s about how we go about resolving them.
If you find yourself in a dispute with your neighbours, you could:
- Try talking to them calmly and without emotion.
This should be your first port of call. If you’re worried about speaking with them face-to-face, you can write a letter. In all cases, you should explain the problem clearly, and stick to the facts.
If other neighbours are affected by the issue, you can ask for their input—this will make it easier to raise the concern.
If all else fails, here’s what you should do:
- If your neighbour is also a tenant, you can contact their landlord and deal with the issue. (After all, that’s what tenancy agreements are for!)
- Ask for help from a meditation service.
- Contact your local council.
- Contact the police if your neighbour is harassing or being violent towards you.
- As a last resort, you can take legal action through the court system.
So, there you have it—HomeHero’s ultimate guide on how to build (and maintain!) great relationships with your neighbours. We hope this helps!