Monday, July 13, 2015

Learning to Be Neighborly

As I sit here, two of my neighbors--one of whom we've never met before--are helping my husband with a project he's doing on the front of our house. It seems to me that most "neighborly" behavior disappeared sometime around the time when they started telling kids not to sell those fundraising candy bars door-to-door anymore because too many dangerous people lived around. Don't get me wrong--safety first!--but that doesn't mean that as adults we can't do better to reach out to our neighbors.

A few winters ago, one of my neighbors got the cutest little golden retriever puppy. I watched that ball of fur roll around in the snow, longing to try taking him for a walk because she was so cute. My neighbor is older and not in the best health, and I learned later the puppy's antics were quite challenging for her to manage. She probably would've really appreciated the offer, but I thought offering to walk her dog might come across as either judgmental (as in, Why aren't you walking the dog?) or as something that I had no right to ask.

Months later, I finally crossed the street and offered to take her dog around the neighborhood. My neighbor gratefully accepted, and we've become friends.

My husband is much less shy than me, and he quickly went across the street to introduce himself to another neighbor... of course, his main interest in doing so was to see said neighbor's cool car, but a friendship bloomed there, too. Just don't tell them I used a flower term like "bloom" to describe their relationship. In fact, maybe don't even tell them I called it a "relationship" ;)

If you have a neighbor who stands out to you, why not go say hi? Bake some banana bread for the new couple. Compliment someone on their flowers. Wander over and talk once in a while.

Me? I plan to follow my own advice. Someone moved in down the street from me with a puppy (those things are like magnets for me!), and I've been meaning to introduce myself. After reflecting on how well getting to know my neighbors has worked out in the past, I'm going to get beyond my shy tendencies to go meet her. What about you?

Your Sister

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