By Steve Graham, Networx
Being a good neighbor is a balancing act between being the recluse with the nuisance yard who avoids everybody and the overbearing busybody who everybody avoids. In pop culture terms, you don’t want to be the Klopeks from “The Burbs,” and you don’t want to be Nathan from “Extract.”
So in the interest of neighborly relations, we offer 10 good neighbor rules with the Goldilocks approach to being a “just right” neighbor.
1. Get to know the neighbors
Too much: Don’t harass your neighbors, pry into the intimate details of their private lives or bore them with every detail of yours. They also don’t need to see your dirty laundry (and we aren’t talking about outdoor clotheslines, which we fully support), so keep family disputes respectful and take them inside.
Too little: Most of us fear the unknown, so Mr. Rogers was just the scary guy in the cardigan until he introduced himself to the neighbors.
Just right: Introduce yourself to the people on your block and anyone else with whom you share a property line. Give them your phone number so they know they can call you if they have a problem with noise, etc. Get to know a little about their schedule and lifestyle so you can be considerate of their working hours, baby naps, etc. Also, a pie or some cookies never hurt.
2. Maintain the yard
Too much: Don’t mow the neighbor’s lawn without asking, even if you think you are doing them a favor. It may come across as passive-aggressive. Also don’t let your lush, elaborate garden spill over the fence. Neighbors may not appreciate the same aesthetics. Minimize the spread of falling leaves and growing shoots onto adjacent properties.
Too little: If the neighbors are mowing your lawn or pulling your weeds, it may be a sign that your yard isn’t meeting the bare minimum. An overgrown, unkempt yard can lower property values, anger the neighbors and attract dangerous vermin.
Just right: No reasonable person (at least nobody outside a covenant-controlled HOA) expects every yard to be worthy of a magazine cover, but during the summer, your neighbors rightly expect you to mow regularly and do your part to minimize weeds. Also offer to water neighbors’ plants while they are away. Hopefully they will reciprocate the offer.