Seattle's Child

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Good Neighbor Day is Sept. 28; how will you celebrate?

Here are some tips for being neighborly every day. It's never too soon to teach your kids!

There are official (and unofficial) "days" for all sorts of things, but Good Neighbor Day definitely seems worth noting. It's on Friday, Sept. 28.

 

A lady in Montana started the observance in the early 1970s, and in 1978, President Jimmy Carter made it official with a proclamation. That's good enough for us!

 

How to observe this day? Well, that seems simple enough, doesn't it: Go say hi to your neighbors, invite them over for coffee (or cocktails). The website Holiday Insights suggests

  • Help your neighbors in some way.
  • Offer a smile and friendly hello to your neighbor
  • Have your neighbor over for a meal
  • Hold a block party
  • Get to know your neighbor a little better

Neighborwho.com, the online background-check platform, also offers these do's and don't for being a good neighbor and points out: "We live in smaller and more congested spaces, so setting up a happy relationship with your neighbors just makes good sense." Their suggestions:

 

Do

Introduce yourself: When you move into a new neighborhood, or if someone has just moved in to yours, make the effort to walk over and introduce yourself and your family.

 

Extend an olive branch: Let your neighbors know that they should feel free to speak with you if anything you are doing on your property is bothering them. For example, if you have outdoor living space, like a hot tub or pool, they might want to say something when your late night parties start to go on a bit too long.

 

Offer to keep an eye on things: Offer to keep an eye on their place if they’re going to be away. There's a good chance they'll return the favor.

 

Check in on them: This is particularly true if you have elderly neighbors who live alone, but really anyone who lives near you should be on your radar screen. Make sure you stop and have a chat over the garden fence once in a while to see how they’re doing.
 

Don't

Don’t be a pain: You can’t force a relationship with strangers, so while you should show yourself to be open to one, don’t be aggressive about it. Just let it build up naturally, over time. It’s OK to host an open house and invite your new neighbors over, but don’t expect that to turn into a weekly poker game!

 

Choose fencing with care: “Good fences make good neighbors” isn’t always true! In fact, putting up an 8 foot barrier can feel like you’re making a statement.  If you can go for a lower or green fence that still allows your neighbors their views, that’s even better!

 

Be careful with color: Yes, you might love bright-red exterior walls but your neighbors might not. Try to make color and decor choices for the outdoor parts of your home that coordinate well with the neighborhood, so as to keep the peace.

 

Construction woes: Even with the best of intentions, if you’re remodeling or gutting your home to create a better space, the impact to your neighbors will be high. Talk to them about your plans and what you will be able to do to minimize the impact of the project on them.