How to get along with your new neighbours

The eMove Moving Places column

It’s a well-worn phrase: love thy neighbour. And even though no one expects you to take it literally (it could cause more trouble than it’s worth), there’s no doubt that a harmonious relationship with your new neighbours beats arguing over a back fence about who should be pruning the Gum tree that borders your properties.

And yes, it may be that their dog poops on your lawn, that their kids dent your car with errant footballs, and that the smoky haze from their enormous BBQ regularly interrupts your nightly stargazing. But that’s all incidental. You need to get along. And luckily, they’re probably thinking the very same thing.

Some simple tips for getting on with your neighbours.

So, when you move into a new area, there are a few simple tips to follow in order to either slip nicely into an already peaceful environment, or to encourage a sense of community amongst those whom you will now be sharing more than just footpath space with.

First up is the obvious. Introduce yourself. Dress up in some nice clothes, bake a cake or some brownies, and do the rounds. Bring your partner, if you have one, and take your kids with you too. Smile, be brief but warm, and tell them how pleased you are to be in the neighbourhood. Then turn on your heels, wave goodbye, and do the whole thing over again to Mrs Smith next door.

Breaking the ice this way will set you up as the friendly neighbour from down the road. Take this a step further by offering to give someone a hand if you see them struggling with a chore or carrying groceries. Aside from being a good neighbourly thing to do, you never know when you’ll need that good karma returned.

Join community groups.

If you have the time, involve yourself in your local community group or neighbourhood watch scheme. If you don’t, then talk to those who are involved to get regular updates on the latest developments.

Throw a barbeque.

When you’ve really settled into your new place, consider having your neighbours around for afternoon tea or a BBQ. Or, provided you live in a quiet cul de sac, organize a giant game of street cricket or soccer. There’s no better way to get to know your neighbours than with a few quiet ales loosening the inhibitions.

Oh, but before you do, it’s probably best to hide that extensive collection of mounted animal heads. They mightn’t go down too well in your new surrounds.

By Zolton Zavos