Human beings are social animals, and neighbors provide opportunities and challenges. The first poll on this blog asked about the types of connections people have with neighbors. Out of 28 responses, one out of five talks with their neighbors on a regular basis, and a few more are sharing goods. Fewer people are exchanging phone numbers or working together on home projects.
The foundation of neighborliness is set when people connect with each other, whether out of necessity or desire. A woman moved into a house outside of Albuquerque and, in the spirit of neighborliness, introduced herself to a nearby resident, who was a younger man. He told her “We don’t neighbor.”
Building valued relationships with neighbors takes time and effort, like any practice, and it’s never guaranteed. Young children spontaneously start friendships when they can play outdoors and find each other. We tend to lose the ability to share ‘play time’ and local news as we become working adults. When we are aging, if we haven’t invested some time and energy, it can be difficult to find support from neighbors when we need it.
Neighborday on April 27 with Good.is can nudge you to make something happen now. Sign up to instigate an activity, and get ideas and links to share. What activities engage your neighbors to link up and trust each other? A potluck honors the human tradition of eating together, and the culturally diverse dishes are a treat. Sponsor a swap event of garden materials – pots, seeds, stakes, rocks/bricks. Organize a story circle for kids and adults. Schedule a work day to help elderly neighbors with their front yards or gardens. You may be building a foundation for social connectivity and sustainable, green projects. You may find more querencia, affection for place, with your neighbors.