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Unless you are living on your own island, there is a good chance that you will have neighbors. Whether your neighbors are in the house next door or in the apartment across the hall, it is a good idea to introduce yourself to your neighbors and make an effort to be respectful and friendly. While you do not have to make them a muffin basket every Sunday or invite them for Christmas dinner, there are a few things you can do to be a courteous neighbor and benefit from a conflict free complex.

Love Thy Neighbors, Learn Thy Names

Many people can live their entire lives without knowing their neighbors. However, a friendly wave and introduction can go a long way, especially if you are ever faced with a problem down the road, like needing advice for spot cleaning carpets. If you are just moving into a rental home, apartment or any other structure, take the time to introduce yourself. You will have much better luck resolving the conflict in a civilized manner if you have gotten to know their names and offer them a ‘hello’ on the street or on the stairs.

One of the best ways to be a courteous neighbor is to follow the old cliché – treat others like you want to be treated. Consider the things that annoy you the most about your neighbors – vacuuming at 6am perhaps? Wild late night partying? A barking dog that seems to leave his ‘offerings’ on your lawn? If it annoys you, then it most likely also annoys them. Being a courteous neighbor starts by putting yourself in your neighbors shoes.

Friendly Neighborhood Complaints

Partying is often a complaint for neighbors. If you are planning on having people over, even it is just a few people, notify your neighbors. Letting them know in advance will soften the blow if the noise does get out of hand. However, try to end parties at a reasonable hour and keep the noise (such as music or loud games) to a minimum. If you enjoy throwing a party or two, plan a neighborhood bash for once a year which can help break the ice with your neighbors and make for a much better living environment.

Another big complaint for neighbors is a messy yard and unkempt house. Even if you are renting, no one wants to live on a street that looks like a junk yard. Keep the hedges trimmed and the grass mowed. Try to pick up your children’s toys as well as your dog’s messes at the end of each day and make sure the garbage is taken care of. A clean home and yard will also keep the rodents and creepy crawlies away which will benefit everyone on the block.

If you are friendly with your neighbor, you may find yourself asking favors once and a while, such as collecting the mail and watering the plants if you go away for the week, or borrowing a tool to do some maintenance. If this is the case, express your gratitude with thanks and be sure to let them know you are willing to return the favor. If you are borrowing tools and other gadgets, return them as soon as you are finished with it to avoid any awkward encounters down the road.

Keep in mind that everyone is different. The family across the hall may love their privacy and prefer to keep their distance while the couple beside you may stop and chat every chance they get. Respect the cultural differences and choices in order to be a courteous neighbor. You cannot choose your neighbors but you can choose to be respectful and courteous.

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