Being Neighborhly

Rob and I bought the house we live in over five years ago.  In those five years we have managed to learn four names of our neighbors. I’m not really sure why we’re so anti-social.  We even kind of want to be those people that are buddies with all the people on the street.  I went as far as to  volunteer Rob to be a neighborhood watch captain (I’m such a good wife, I know).  Turns out this isn’t the best way to get to know your neighbors.  Well, it could be because you’re basically a glorified flyer hander-outer, but we stick the flyers on their door and run, rather than taking the time to introduce ourselves and have a little neighborly chat.  And when our doorbell rings we’re like, “Who the hell is that?”

The neighbors across the street, we’ll call them Jane and Dick for anonymity reasons, are the ones we talk to the most and our interaction usually sounds like this:

Neighbors:  “Wow, your yard looks so beautiful!  I just love the lilies.  You guys must really have green thumbs.”

Us:  “Oh, thanks.  We actually have no idea what we’re doing.  We’re just trying to keep up with you guys.”

Neighbors:  “Well, it looks great.”

That’s it.  Or, sometimes we’ll meet in the street and complain about the bad neighbors to the west of us whose yard looks like shit and who have built a skate ramp in the garage (which is next to our bedroom) that they use, you guessed it, when we’re trying to go to sleep.  Jane and Dick are strange folks though.  A couple of years ago the neighbor to the east of us was in poor health so we made a pact with Jane and Dick that we would take care of her backyard and they would take care of her front yard.  Rob just so happens to be a nice guy, so he thought he’d do them a favor by mowing the front lawn one week.  Two seconds into the mow, Dick came sprinting across the street yelling, “Rob, stop!”  Turns out Dick didn’t like how short Rob was cutting the lawn in addition to the fact that he wasn’t mowing on an angle.  Dick nearly had a heart attack.

And then this morning I was at the gym working out and Jane came in and settled on the machine right next to me.  She was like, “Hi Sondra.  So this is how you keep your beautiful figure.”  And then she proceeded to break out her scriptures (really, on the elliptical?).  I think it was just for religious show though, because she then immediately called someone on her phone and proceeded to talk the entire rest of my workout.  She was out of breath the entire time, which I’m sure was causing an enormous amount of annoyance for the person on the other end who had to listen to panting for a solid 30 minutes.

The other two people we know seem super normal and super cool.  And every time we talk to them (which is like three times a year), we’re like, “We should totally hang out with them.  They seem cool like us.”  Then a year passes and we realize we suck at being friends with our neighbors.  Any advice?

3 thoughts on “Being Neighborhly

  1. Val

    Well having lived in my neighborhood for 20 years now, and being stuck with the only new person that has ever moved into a home on our block (no one ever sells a house where I live) as a next door neighbor who totally sucks and calls the police on you for your dog and that we steped on their property just bites. So we have parties, and such to really bother them and let them know we were here first and if you dont like us move. They are so OCD over there I dont know how they live normal daily lives. So just be yourself, be a good neighbor and it all works out.

  2. Barb

    Years ago we used to hold block parties. Well, we didn’t hold them, we just went to them. Our town was small enough we could hold it in the middle of the street. And just recently Kylee’s neighborhood has been doing just this. All the neighbors get together, bring food, chairs and hang out and get to know others. She says it’s been a lot of fun. At least she met her neighbors and even if they don’t hang out, they can still wave. Something to think about anyway. Good luck.

  3. iazonv

    Your cousin Jason here. I say be yourselves and if becoming friends with your neighbors happens, then cool. If it doesn’t, who needs them anyway. Living next to each other doesn’t mean you have to be friends. Friendly sure, but not necessarily buddies.


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