Are you moving into a new neighbourhood soon, or is someone coming to live in the house next to yours? Whichever it is, you’ll be getting new neighbours shortly. But how can you make an excellent first impression as the newbie or make your new neighbours feel at home when they move in? Here are some classic Jamaican sayings to help you be the best neighbour you can be:
Simply saying “Hello”, introducing yourself or offering help when appropriate are great ways to show respect for your neighbours. No one likes a grouchy next-door-neighbour, so don’t be one. Always make an effort to be courteous to your new community members.
Be kind to your new neighbours. If you can offer them a welcome token or take the time to share a few minutes catching up with them, it can go a far way. You wouldn’t want them to be mean to you, so take the initiative to be generous too. You can do little things like telling them when the garbage truck or mailman comes and where the nearest shops are. You can even make an alert if you see anything suspicious at their home while they’re away. Ultimately, if there’s’ anything you’d want your neighbour to do for you, be sure to do it for them also.
If you’re throwing a barbecue, movie night or any other gathering, be sure to alert your neighbours in advance. We know you wouldn’t want loud music disturbing your beauty sleep or waking your newborn baby, so don’t do that to someone else. Encourage guests to park in spaces provided for them and not to block other people’s driveways or entrances. Also, be sure to pick up after your pets and teach your children to be considerate as well.
Just as a pig eats whatever he desires to eat, so too our neighbours have the freedom to choose how they want to do things at their house. Be considerate of people’s choices as long as they are not disturbing others, in breach of community agreements or illegal. So, if Mr Brown likes to paint his home an unusual colour, don’t be quick to scold him if it’s not against community policies or a restrictive covenant. Or if Sandy from two lots down likes to have her pets play in HER yard, and they aren’t disturbing others or wreaking havoc, then don’t be the troublesome neighbour who makes a report. Allow people to do what makes them happy.
One household can’t care for your entire neighbourhood. In other words, get involved. Don’t just ‘exist’ in your community; do things with other neighbours. If there’s a community watch programme, find out how you can get involved through volunteering, making a contribution or offering suggestions. Also, support the care of shared spaces by volunteering every once in a while or by paying HOA/Strata fees on time. These little extra steps can help make living in your new place that much more enjoyable. When you get involved in the community, you are usually more inclined to celebrate it and take pride in its upkeep and security.
Don’t be selfish with important information. In the end, what affects your home and family could very well affect your neighbour’s too. So if you received news of a scheduled mosquito fogging coming up, a broken pipe/light-post in the area or recent break-in near-by, it’s important to let your neighbour know so that they can be aware and alert also.
Okay, let’s say your little party went on a little longer than you promised and your music was a lot louder than it should have been, don’t be quick to take offence when others point it out. Remember, as much as you want your neighbours to respect you; you have to respect them as well. So, if there is a complaint, stay calm and address the problem in a mature way. Don’t just start burning leaves and fanning the smoke next-door, offer to talk about the situation to resolve matters. This principle also applies to complaints about parking etiquette, pet mess/trouble, or other disturbances.
Remember ‘a nuh wan day monkey waan wife’, so always think about the future. You want to enjoy living in your new community, while being comfortable and polite, so look for ways to be a good neighbour now, so you’ll enjoy your neighbourhood for the future.