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Petreece Cuffie

Founding Partner - Counselling and Interpersonal Services

Are you a good neighbour?


Take a look at the Tips below.

Being a Good Neighbour
As Huey and I sat together early New Year’s morning I started wondering out loud what topic should be my first topic on the “Healthy Relationship” Program for 2018. Just before this we were discussing the fact that it was past 1:45am and persons were still setting off firecrackers and fireworks…at 1:45am and later even in my neighbourhood. We know that they had no bad intentions…. but it was having a negative impact with the noise at this time. Huey said that I should do a session on “being a good neighbour”.

Now I’m not talking about the “Good Samaritan” here where we understand that everyone is our neighbour but I’m specifically speaking about the persons who live close to us, on the same street with us…in the same neighbourhood, apartment complex etc.

1. Say good morning, hello, hi. A friendly smile and wave to a neighbour when you go out to open your gate, put out the garbage etc or see them for the first time for the day can go a long way toward creating a pleasant atmosphere.

2. Be respectful your neighbours’ properties.

3. Don’t play your music to loudly. We all appreciate different types of music and what is enjoyable to you may be annoying or disturbing to your neighbour. If you plan on entertaining and having music, and loud activity let your neighbours know before the event and keep it to a reasonable volume. If you play music in your yard, remember to turn it off when you are finished. Your neighbours have their own music so you don’t need to play music for the neighbours.

4. Keep your garbage on your side of the property; keep it in front of your home when you are putting it out to be collected. If dogs make a mess with it even if it ends up in front of your neighbour’s yard you should clean it up as soon as you realize what has happened, don’t leave it for your neighbour to clean up. Try to put garbage out in a way that if there are stray dogs in the area they can’t interfere with it.

5. Do not let your dog bark constantly all day.

6. Invite a neighbour or neighbours over for a meal or a little get together. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Spending some time and a little money in getting to know the neighbours will help in keeping the relationships more amicable and make it easier to handle any problems that may arise.

7. Maintain your yard. Do your best to keep your yard looking maintained. The maintenance of the yard may get away from us at times but this should not be the norm. Maintaining your yard makes the neighbourhood look better and it makes everyone feel better. Don’t let your trees and other “bush” from your yard grow over into your neighbour’s property.

8. Position outside lights with care. Make sure your security light doesn’t shine into your neighbour’s bedroom. Many of us can relate to this. Look at putting in a light that’s not as bright or turn it off if you realize that it isn’t necessary.

9. Be careful where you allow your visitors to park. Your visitors should not be preventing your neighbours from having easy access to driving in or out of their properties.

10. Don’t treat the neighbourhood streets as your personal racetrack. Always be mindful that there are children playing, walkers and even dogs out on the street. Also, when driving through your neighbourhood, turn down the volume on the music in your car. You don’t want your neighbours lamenting every time you come home or drive by as your base is rattling the windows and thumping in their chest.

11. Be considerate with your noise level when neighbours are sick and elderly. For example the firecrackers and fireworks can really negatively affect older persons, ill persons trying to get much needed rest and dogs. They may brace themselves for 15 – 30 minutes of it, but fire crackers at 1am and 1:30 am and 2am on New Year’s day….oh gosh…have a heart!!!!

12. Discuss problems in person. If a problem comes up, talk to your neighbour in person first. Approach the situation in a pleasant way, don’t go into motives. You can say “You may not have realized this, but…” Start here rather than sending to an angry message or a call to the police that will be sure to permanently strain or damage your relationship. Also, use good judgment in identifying real problems: a party on a special occasion…a once a year event, is one thing; a continuous parties or loud activities that interfere with your rest, work or concentration on a regular basis a problem.

13. If you have workmen doing work on your property ensure that they don’t allow the work to interfere with the neighbour’s property and comfort as much as possible. If it will please discuss with your neighbours what is happening, what they can expect, for how long and thank them for their consideration and patience.

14. When you see strange activity in the neighbourhood you should share it with your neighbours. Exchange numbers in case of an emergency…As Pr.27:10b says:…better a neighbour nearby than a brother far away.

15. Take a gift for people moving into your neighbourhood or bring food when someone has lost a loved one. Opportunities such as these help sow the seeds of conversation that can develop into mutual respect, admiration and even friendship.

16. For Landlords: Please consider the permanent residents in the neighbourhoods where you establish your properties/tenants. It would be great for you the landlord to interact with the permanent residents to find out if all is well and give them and idea of the number of tenants in the property. Also, please maintain your properties. The Landlord should try to be a good neighbour also!

17. Pray for your neighbours. Sometimes they may share a concern with you and it is OK to ask them if they would like you to remember them in prayer. Pray whether they ask you to or not. Bless them!

Other things to remember:
Not everyone in our neighbourhood will be like us, which means it is important to have a sense of the people in our neighbourhoods and accept peoples’ personalities. Some introverts will say greetings very softly and without a smile, they may never or hardly have conversations with you in a chance meeting, this does not mean that they are not friendly or warm. He or she is drained by interactions with people and if they are not prepared to speak or had a long day don’t expect them to be bubbly like the extrovert who is energized by interactions with others.

Renters: There are many neighbourhoods were persons rent. We can reach out to renters also. Say hello, introduce yourself and give a small house-warming gift. As time passes you may have other opportunities to help both ways, they may give you a lift, you may throw an eye on their home when they are not around, they may mention a need and you can help in some way or let them know that you will be praying for them. However a little reminder to renters when you are moving out of the community it would be wonderful to inform the neighbours you have interacted with that you are leaving and say goodbye. Sometimes, I really believe that people don’t understand healthy relating and the importance of saying goodbye to persons you have interacted with as good neighbours even if it was just 1 years or so.

We have many different dynamics in our neighbourhoods, like mentally challenged persons who may not be having proper care for many reasons, unreasonable persons, wicked persons and even persons involved in criminal activity in our neighbourhoods. We have to seek God’s wisdom and wisdom from others to deal with these difficult situations. Sometimes the police or a social worker or some other authority must be called. We can still be wise and be good neighbours.

You can’t control the type of neighbours you have but you can control the type of neighbour you are!

Some Scriptures to meditate on:
Matthew 7:12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

Philippians 2:3-4 Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.

Pr.3: 27-28: Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act. Do not say to your neighbour, “Come back later; I’ll give it tomorrow”– when you now have it with you.

Proverbs 3:29 Do not devise evil against your neighbour, for he dwells by you for safety’s sake”.

Pr.11: 12 A man who lacks judgment belittles his neighbour, but a man of understanding holds his tongue.

Proverbs 25:17: Don’t visit your neighbours too often, or you will wear out your welcome.

Pr.26: 18-19 Like a madman shooting firebrands or deadly arrows is a man who deceives his neighbour and says, “I was only joking!”

Pr.27:10b — better a neighbour nearby than a brother far away.

“A man is called selfish not for pursuing his own good, but for neglecting his neighbor’s.” – Richard Whately

Are you a Good Neighbour?

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