Do you know your neighbors? Do you want to?

When I owned houses, I always knew the neighbors. Some were friends, and some were arrogant jerks that would make it hard to sit outside in peace.
But I knew them all, everyone I shared a fence with and those opposite you could see from my front door.

Now in a condo I know none of them. Because of the parking layout I can’t even figure out who goes with which car or which children, or even who are owners and who are their temporary guests.

And somehow I don’t care either way.

So, do you know your neighbors? Do you want to.

I’d be perfectly happy not knowing my neighbors. In my experience, if you start a friendship with a neighbor, and it goes downhill, and it certainly can, you still have to live next to them and it becomes tense. I’ve had some excellent neighbors in my life where this didn’t happen, but man it sucks when it does.

I currently have two neighbors in my building that are Middle Eastern. There’s a big communication problem, as I don’t speak Arabic and they speak very little English, but sometimes they bring me food that they’ve made. For the most part it’s really good. When it’s not so good I just throw it away and tell them it was wonderful.

So I guess there are really two sides to it.

Nope don’t care, don’t want to. All I want from them is to be quiet and mind their own business. I offer the same in return.

We’re in an end rowhouse. My neighbour is my brother-in-law’s brother. We know him, but we don’t know the noisy room-mate.

I don’t know my neighbors, and I’m just fine with that. If I see the woman who lives to the left of me, we’ll usually wave at each other, but that’s the extent of it.

I was just pondering this today. I saw someone at the grocery store who used to live down the street from me. There were 4 homes on the street where all of the families were VERY tight and still are. They act as if they’re all related. As kids from down the street, we knew them pretty well but were never as tight as the kids from the 4 families.

Here…I sort of was “forced” to know my neighbors right away. I had a fence installed first thing and had to have my eastern neighbors sign a variance for me to connect to their fence. I was very happy to find out they were a nice older couple. We wave over the fence and discuss gardening from time to time. The guy talks to my dad and my uncle.

I sort of got to know the neighbors to the west forcibly, too. I tore out a bunch of crap from the front “flower” bed and the neighbor lady ran over to offer to create a new flower bed for me with plants from her beautifully-maintained yard. She sort of forced her planting on me but seriously, it has worked out very well. We talk from time to time if she’s outside and her sons and husband wave.

My neighbors are nice and I live in the sort of neighborhood where everyone knows eachother and looks out for eachother. As a single woman on my own, I appreciate it. I’m just way too shy to appreciate it fully.

When I lived in a condo I knew everyone in the place. When I moved in, we were self-managed, and it was a small complex, so pretty much everyone would show up to HOA meetings. But as prices rose, some of the old guard moved out, and the people who moved in weren’t interested in knowing their neighbors, attending meetings, taking care of problems, paying dues…

Now that I’m in a house, I’m “friendly” with the neighbors to my left and across the street – I’ll wave or chat when I have time, and they do the same. The people to my right are supposedly renters (the horror!), but they’re not driving property values into the ground so I have no grudge against them. I just never see them.

Strangely (or not) I still know all my parents’ neighbors, even though I haven’t lived there for coming on 20 years now. And they all know me, too – and still think of me as a teenager!

I vaguely know my next-door neighbors, although we thought for a year and a half that one’s name was “Bill” and just discovered his name is “Ed.” Oops. We watch out for the elderly lady on the other side, because she’s recently widowed and her family is messed up. It’s handy to know a neighbor, in case you have an emergency and need to use a phone, or have someone keep an eye on your house and pick up your mail while you’re on vacation, or to have the guy next door shovel and de-ice the walk for an older lady.

When my across-the-street neighbors moved in, I took a plate of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies over to welcome them, and to introduce myself and my oldest son. They seemed nice, and the next day, the mom came over and asked me to baby-sit her son before and after school. I can’t do that, for a multitude of reasons, and she hasn’t spoken to me since. My husband has offered them use of his mowers, trimmers, and lawn stuff, and she still refuses to acknowledge my existence because I declined to care for her child. Whatever.

We live in a small townhouse development; I know probably half the residents and actually like maybe half of those I know. Some of them I’d like to know better.

Yes, they come over every Friday night and we order Chinese or pizza or subs.

I know my neighbors by sight but we’re none of us are buddy-buddy. When my neighbor’s to the north moved in, they relished about telling me “…when we lived in California…” as though I was supposed to be impressed by that. They came from a very close neighborhood with cookouts and bonfires. This must have been a great culture shock!

Is this a trick question? Er, answer?

I know two of the families across the street, vaguely know the guy to the East, and hate the guts of the ass I do not know to the West who plays loud music.

We’ve been in this house for 7 years, and I have never formally met anyone on the street.

The man who lives to our right is deaf, and I’ve seen his wife, although I couldn’t pick her out of a lineup. Right across from us, the house has spent a lot of time empty, but I’ve never met anyone who lived there. The house was recently renovated, and my wife says somebody moved in, but I’ve never seen them.

To our left is a rental property that’s had so many students come and go that we’ve neither met them, nor kept track. A family moved in there last month, and I waved to the woman unpacking boxes from the car, and that’s all I’ve seen of her. Directly across from her is a family of people who have had the police come numerous times to settle disputes, and I don’t want to know them.

None of them seems too interested in getting to know us, either. At the very least, nobody is a problem neighbor, so it’s quiet and pleasant to live here.

Since I’ve lived here, the house on my right went from being owned by a nice enough but kind of loud family of 6 to being rented out, invariably to very young adults. So there’s like a year-long training period as they go through the “Hey, Dave’s got a house! We can like, totally hang out and party there!” stage. I’m always super-friendly so that when I go over to tell them to knock the noise off at two a.m. they comply. It seems to take around a year with each set of young roommates to realize they don’t want people over trashing their place every night, then another year or two and they start growing up, finishing school, marrying off and it’s another slew of them to train.

The house on the left has had three owners since I lived here. The first turned out to be a friend from high school, a nice surprise on moving in. That was very friendly, then she sold to a couple that I became fairly good friends with too. They moved somewhere bigger when they started breeding, we still keep in touch. Now there’s a single flight attendant who’s gone more than she’s home, I keep a vague eye out for things and am distantly friendly when she’s around.

Across from us there’s a two block long park, elementary and playground, no one to wave to there. I’m on at least a first name basis with a few up and down the street, but just because our kids went to school together.

Good Lord what is wrong with you people? When I was growing up in my house my parents knew everyone on the street and then some. We would often have cook-outs in the middle of the street as it was a cul-de-sac and it was a lot of fun.

Yep, I grew up hanging with the neighbors too. The older folks were like extra grandparents, the younger folks babysat us and then we grew into teens who babysat their kids, the men all helped each other out with chainsawing fallen trees or putting together the new grill, etc.

However, when I was growing up, most of the mothers were stay at home moms. They had more time to chat and form friendships that then carried over to the dads and kids. With most families having two parents working outside the home, the evenings and weekends are more time-crunched now.

I think of Saturday as the day to catch up on all the errands and housework and lawn work I can’t get to during the week, what with work and commutes and cooking dinner and getting the kids homework checked, etc. If that leaves Sunday as the only quality family time, and for many they spend half the day in church, when do I have time to casually get to know my neighbors?

The internet and cell phones allow me to maintain friendships that sheer geography would have made not so viable in my parent’s day. That college friend that lived 4 hours away would have been an exchange of holiday cards for my mom, whereas I can blog/IM/chat/email them daily and spend time getting together every few weeks. Why make new friendships with the neighbors when I don’t have the time to maintain them?

I know them, and have good acquaintanceships with some, but the ones who were my friends have moved. I’ve got renters on one side; it’s empty and for sale at the moment. Across the street I have people who put up anti-gay rights signs before the election; I am alwaysw available in an emergency but don’t want to have a social relationship. I’ve got a college friend up the street, my doctor another block up, and a collegial friend the next hill over. I wouldn’t mind knowing more people, but usually we only interact during gardening season.

The apartment manager here screens potential tenants pretty thoroughly, and I must say he does a great job. I have the nicest bunch of neighbors one could wish for. When people first move in, they’re given a list with everyone’s first name, and we have a potluck-BBQ every summer with steaks and burgers provided by the manager. I can’t say I remember everybody’s name, but I know their faces. People wave and smile in the parking lot, and conversations in the common areas are the norm, not the exception.

One of the contributing factors to the mellow ambiance here is that twelve of my neighbors happen to be nuns.

I want to know my neighbors better and I’m slowly working toward that.

We’ve lived in this house for 12 years, but the whole busy, work, come home and collapse lifestyle that a previous poster described was an obstacle, plus the house was so messy I was embarrassed to invite anyone in.

Well, I’m mostly on top of the messy problem now and I’ve gotten a lot more energetic and outgoing than I used to be. As people move out and new ones move in it’s easy for me to knock on the door and introduce myself.

The problem is the people who were already living here when we moved in who I know are there but wouldn’t even recognize. I’m still puzzling out a way to knock on someone’s door and say, in essence, “Hey, I’ve been living across the street from you for 12 years, but I’ve never gotten around to meeting you. Wanna come over for dinner?” without it being too awkward.

For the most part the neighbors I have gotten to know have been great people.

After reading this thread I feel like I’m doing a better job than I thought I was. :slight_smile:

I live in the country. I know the folks down the road - I buy hay from the older guy, and chat with the wife. She’s given my homemade jam. I’ve given them homemade bread. The other guy down that way pulled my truck out when it was stuck in the mud, and his dog comes over every morning at 4:30 and wakes my dogs up, so I have to let them out to see him. The peopl who just built behind me are a cop and his wife. I made them bread when they first moved in, and we wave as we pass each other, but I don’t know them well. But I do know that he tried for two hours at 2:00 in themorning to catch my pony before waking me up to let me know he’d gotten out. That’s neighborly! Down the road the other way, I caught the neighbor guy’s horses when they’d been loose for two days and tied them up until they could get them. He’s looked at my lawnmower when it wasn’t working. They other folks half a mile away I know to wave at, but that’s about it.

This is about how i want it - we’re helpful and neighborly without being in each other’s personal lives too much.