Be A Good Neighbour Top 10 Things to do

Life in the Big Tee Ohh is fast and furious… and many roses are often passed un-smelt.  But just because we live in a densely populated downtown core is no reason why we can't be friendly with our neighbours… in fact.. living in condo buildings or semi-attached houses gives us MORE reason to hone our "good-neighbour" skills.   A friendly community vibe is just the ticket to increasing the quality of urban life, and it all starts with YOU.  (If you can remember their names… you get bonus points already… )

So here is my top 10 check list of THINGS TO DO TO BE A *GREAT* NEIGHBOUR!

1) An easy first step… *SMILE*  when you see a neighbour (yes, even if you feel hungry or angry) … No need to chit chat about the weather if you are not feeling it…. but a CHEERFUL smile will brighten their day, brighten yours, and create a pleasant atmosphere for looker-ons.  Plus it might take work at first, but as it becomes muscle memory you won't even have to think about it :-)

2) Throwing a party?  Don't just INFORM your neighbours… *INVITE* your neighbours!!  … even if they don't come, they'll feel welcome rather than left out by your big bash! 

3) BREAK BREAD!  If you share a BBQ area on a condo roof top and a few gatherings are happening at once… invite the other party over for a hotdog!  It will only make both parties bigger and better!  And you will open up your social circle and maybe make a new friend.   In a house with a garden?  Share some strawberries or string beans that you grow!   Neighbours that eat together, stay sweet together. 

4) If you see your neighbour is carrying something heavy… jump in an give them a hand!   As the old proverb says "many hands make light work"! 

5) If a neighbour is going away and you can feed  their goldfish and  pick up their mail… or if they are stuck at work and you can walk their dog…. DO IT!  What goes around comes around and its great to have an ally on the home front next time you are stuck...

6) Give good candy at halloween :-)  One of the few times of year when neighbours go round to each other's homes…. so do what you can to make your home fun and memorable for the kids!  

7) Be thoughtful and considerate:  Need to block someone's car?  Leave a note!  Sweat profusely on the shared gym equipment?  Wipe it down!   Get the wrong mail?  Walk it over to the right address!  Treat the people in your building like a community, and it will feel like one.

8) Be the elevator attendant for 2 minutes a day:  First in? Ask what floor people need pressed, and pressed them.  Its a small friendly gesture that makes a big building environment feel warmer.  Also hold the doors if someone is running towards them!  (note this works less well in houses…no need to run onto their porch and open the storm door for them!)

9) If you have a problem with a neighbour… try to talk to them face to face with a positive attitude.  Assume they are *unaware* that they are bothering anyone (which is probably the case).  Most people will make a small adjustment to keep the relationship friendly.  If you are already yelling at them… why bother to change?  Here comes another helpful old adage:   "You will catch more flies with honey".  Give them a chance to fix the problem without having to feel bad, and they are more likely to.     Likewise, if someone speak to YOU… try to make a small adjustment to make their life easier, or explain gently and kindly why it is difficult to do so, and find a solution TOGETHER.  

10) Finally, the BEST thing you can do for a neighbour…(after extensive research on the subject)…. is SHOVEL THEIR SHOW!  (Note- this only works after snowfall).   A great life lesson and outdoor activity for kids is helping shovel the neighbour's walk (safely of course).. and for adults its great EXERCISE and KARMA…. Survey says his is the single friendliest thing you can do *especially* if your neighbour is elderly, busy, or taking care of small children.  This selfless act will brand you a HERO for *life*!  And who doesn't want to be a hero?

(for best results, always keep your mind OPEN.  If your neighbour expresses a religious, political or social opinion different from yours, no need to debate it… the beauty of this city is living side-by-side with different perspectives: Even if you don't agree… smile & nod, work your "empathy muscle" and enjoy living in a free society)

There you go… a roadmap to a more neighbourly way of thinking!! …even in the crazy urban jungle of Toronto it will make city life WARMER and FUZZIER!  And more FUN!