Everybody Loves Good Neighbours

Living in close proximity with others as many of us do in the city, and being generally quite territorial creatures, there is no end to the difficult issues that can arise between neighbours, many of which I see in my work as a community mediator, helping people resolve their neighbour disputes. Yet we can avoid difficulties and cultivate great relationships with neighbours and they can even be a hugely useful resource if we go about things in the right way.

Unlike our partners and friends we don’t usually choose our neighbours so we need to make the best of the hand we are dealt and this can often work to our mutual advantage, creating a win-win. Ultimately most of us want to live in peace and harmony with people around us so it’s worthwhile to try to build good relationships.

When I was growing up we were very friendly with our neighbours who were like an extended family; on hand for practical problems such as locking ourselves out of our house, looking after our house and cats whilst we were away, babysitting for each other’s children and generally good friends whom we spent time with, even going on holiday with them. You may not want to be ‘best buddies’ with your neighbours but I believe it’s important to have good relationships with them and you never know when it might be useful.

Recently I was at home on my own when our washing machine started to make some strange noises and was flashing up an error code. Not being confident with such matters and knowing I could call on my neighbour for help, I did so. He helped me go through the manual to identify and resolve the problem! Another time he called on me when his car wouldn’t start to get a jump start. When our central heating broke down last year we arranged to take showers at our other neighbour’s house. I have also taken their dog for walks.

I believe that the key to getting on with your neighbours is to cultivate a good relationship from early on, that is as soon as you or they move in. You can do this by being consistently friendly towards them, going out of your way to help them whenever you can and being available for a chat from time to time. Hopefully then you can not only live quietly and happily, but also know that you have someone close by who may be able to help you out in times of trouble, and if difficult issues do arise between you at least you have cultivated a good relationship as an excellent basis for resolving them.

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