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Being a Good Neighbor – Does It Matter?

By Cindy Williams August 26, 2022 Lifestyle

Frankly, as I typed out the subject line “being a good neighbor,” scenes of old TV shows passed through my mind, reminiscent of neighbors on shows like Leave It to Beaver or My Three Sons bringing casseroles over to new neighbors or neighbors in need. Those of you 60 and older may have the same memories; however, those of you who are younger may wonder what the heck I am talking about!

The Good Ol’ Neighbors of Times Past

So you see, my older memories envision a new family moving into a neighborhood being showered with food dishes or possibly plants by nearby neighbors. While presently I see people moving into a neighborhood and not being approached at all by neighbors.

The same scenario applies to a sick neighbor or neighbors in need. My memories envision neighbors bringing over food or flowers to help. In a nutshell, it appears that our neighbors today trend on staying to themselves, possibly due to being busy, being self-absorbed or just trying to be careful and not get involved.

Newest Neighbor Experience

Of course, there are exceptions to our present day neighborhood trends of staying to ourselves and for that I am immensely thrilled! A recent experience I had with some new neighbors of ours demonstrates what neighbors should be like.

For example, our new neighbor went above and beyond by offering to maintain our pool while we were away. In addition, his wife shared beautiful plants with us to grow and even gave me a new set of garden gloves and clippers.

Yes, giving the gift of time takes a bit out of their lives, but from what I can plainly see, these new neighbors are a bright and shining light in our world. Other neighbors nearby also speak kindly and respect these neighbors, and I am sure it is because they have been recipients of the same kindness we received.

Living in a Neighborhood Requires Mutual Respect

A neighborhood can be broadly defined as a number of persons living near one another. Neighborhoods can be a small, one street subdivision or may be a large development containing a thousand or more homes. Regardless of the size, it is important to all of us to realize we need to make an effort to recognize that our neighbors are people like us, and we should respect and care for each other.

Are we really too busy to say “hello” to a new or existing neighbor and see if they need help with anything? Are we so self-absorbed in our own family lives to take the time to see if a new or existing neighbor may be struggling with something?

Or are we so cautious that we don’t want to get involved in any form or fashion with a new or existing neighbor for fear of costing us time or money or being perceived as a busy body? Maybe we are not accomplished cooks and cannot or should not bring over a casserole as in the TV sitcoms mentioned, but simple gestures of kindness and time are easy to accomplish and will make a difference!

My New Perspective on Neighbors

I will admit that I can answer yes to all three of the questions above at different times in my life, but I am strongly working to change that, and I hope that you can do that too! Today and everyday forward, I am never too busy to raise by hand, smile and wave to say hello to everyone I see in and around my neighborhood.

I am never going to be so worried about my family and their lives that I cannot take the time to see if a neighbor might need some help from me with something. And I vow to continue to “get involved” if I need to in order to stand up for a neighbor or neighbors if they need assistance. If we do not look out for and respect one another, who will respect and look out for us?

Do you have what you think are good neighbors? Do your neighbors stay to themselves and do not get involved? Do you wave and smile if you see a neighbor out? How can we all improve ourselves to be better neighbors?

Please take the Sixty and Me 2023 Community Survey

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Shirley Norman

I speak to, wave and smile at my neighbors, I do not know all of them, however, friendliness is contagious.
I share flowers from my garden and give plant growing advice (probably to much so).
Love my surroundings and my neighbors.

Cindy Williams

Shirley……Love your thoughts of friendliness being contagious and totally agree!!! My newest goal is to spread friendliness everywhere I can and hoping everyone gets exposed to it! Honestly, you feel better when you share your flowers and give advice, don’t you? So why wouldn’t anyone want to be friendly and kind given the results? It really doesn’t take that much time out of our lives and I truly think it will add years to all of our lives. Your comment is both inspiring and uplifting! Thank you for sharing and continue sharing and caring in your neighborhood!

Katherine D Smith

My across-the-street neighbor and I began walking a three mile circuit during COVID. We waved and greeted each person we met. Gradually, we began to feel a change that increasingly connected us all as neighbors. We began a “come out and say hello” to your neighbors during the first COVID summer — observant of safe space and masking but I am here to say that with each gathering, we all became increasingly neighborly. Learning the names of the kids on the street became a good game — I asked them to quiz me when they saw me (perfect!). Anyway, two new families have since moved in and both have remarked on what a terrific “neighborhood and neighbors” we have. I’ve lived here 36 years and this has most definitely become a neighborhood! Thank you, COVID. 🫢

Cindy Williams

Katherine……thanks to great neighbors like you and others, you took an uncertain and scary time in our lives and turned it into a positive by being kind and respectful to everyone around you. What a treasure you are to those in your neighborhood and the two new families that recently moved in! Thank you for sharing your story!


i’m 76 and back in the 50’s when i was a kid, everyone was very friendly. now i live in an area where people will wave but that’s it. I’m not one to have long conversations or be noisy but there are others who do like this, so maybe that is one reason people just keep to themselves, they don’t have time to chit chat for hours and they don’t like someone being the sleuth in the neighborhood.

Cindy Williams

Teresa……your memories are a lot like mine and I, like you, have felt in the past few years that most of our neighbors have kept to themselves. Our newest neighbors showed us that being neighborly is still alive and it is really up to all of us to keep it that way. I respect neighbors that want to keep to themselves, but I will continue to wave and smile, hoping that even the quietest busiest neighbor will take the time one day to wave and smile back and maybe even take a brief few minutes to get to know me and give me a chance to know them. We might have a lot in common or we may even be able to help one another. You never know until you communicate! Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Teresa.

The Author

Cindy Williams, investor and recently retired 40-plus-year TN-licensed real estate broker/appraiser, enjoys empowering people. Cindy has written articles for local newspapers, co-hosted a radio talk show, owned/operated a dirt race track and looks forward to more adventures. Any questions are welcomed at williamsandassoc@gmail.com.

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