Good Fences Make Good Neighbors

“Good fences make good neighbors”

 - Robert Frost

Think of all the places you have lived over the years. How many neighbors have you encountered in your lifetime? My family moved around quite a bit so we were witness to several kinds of neighbors. My kids have had the same neighbors their whole life. For some families, your neighbors become like your second family. Being a good neighbor is very important.

Being a good neighbor does not mean you have to be best friends. Sometimes that works -but it doesn’t have to. Being a good neighbor means living peacefully in a neighborhood, apartment building, or sharing a room with someone.

Are you a good neighbor? How do you treat your neighbors? A simple “Good Morning” or “Hello” …  is that all that is needed. My husband and I live in a great neighborhood. The people are friendly. They greet us happily and we have great relationships with many of them. Does that come automatically? No. We all are aware that not everyone gets along. So what are some simple etiquette rules for being a good neighbor?

A few characteristics come to mind when it comes to being a good neighbor. Consideration, kindness, and cooperation are just three.

Consideration for your neighbors is very important. Where is your driveway compared to your neighbor’s bedroom window? What time do you leave for work? Will you wake your neighbor when you start up your car? Do you have a hobby that will disrupt your neighbor? Think about your activities in and around your house, will they disrupt anyone? The best thing might be to talk to your neighbors. It’s possible you are not doing anything to bother them. But what if you are? Being considerate of others’ feelings goes a long way.

Kindness, I would like to believe is something that is an innate quality we all have. Trying to instill that quality in my children does take work. Kindness can mean several things. It can mean just being nice or possibly doing nice things for others. My girls will sometimes take in the trash for the neighbors. They also bake Christmas goodies for them all. The neighbors reciprocate by purchasing Girls Scout cookies or participate in various lemonade stand sales. These activities are how our children learn to interact with others. How will they treat others they live with or near?

Cooperation can mean helping your neighborhood be a better place. If a wall needs a little repair, working together can fix it easily. I know that being a good neighbor is not always effortless. People do not always have the other’s best interest at heart. but if we each take a moment to think about the other what a great world we would live in.

Not everyone lives in what I call a typical neighborhood. Some people can hear what is going on in their neighbor’s kitchen, while others have to ride for miles to see their neighbor once a month. I cherish the face to face conversations and good times with our neighbors. I look forward to building many walls with my neighbors. Once in a while sending a neighbor a quick little note to thank them or appreciate something they have done goes a long way. Southworth has beautiful notes to make the right statement. Be a good neighbor. Think about what characteristics you are expressing to your neighbors.

Cricket Wantland is a graduate of The Protocol School of Washington and is a Certified Consultant of Corporate Etiquette, International Protocol and Children’s Etiquette. She lives in Southern California and offers classes and training to all ages. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter or check out her website at

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