I’ve lived on my block for almost 10 years. In that time I really only got to know the neighbors that live immediately around my house. Even then, we all know have that neighbor that never says hello and sticks to themselves no matter how long they have resided next-door to you and your family.
It seems pretty common actually, to live on a street for a number of years and not really know any of the people around you. Though it’s been said that I have the “gift of gab”, I really didn’t step too much out of my comfort zone when it came to really trying to get to know the people living on my street for quite some time.
A while back there were a few break-ins on my block and it occurred to me that it was probably more important than I thought to get to know the people around me. Coupled with having a new baby that joined me on my morning walk routine, I started to introduce myself to everyone I would run into and make it a point to learn their name and shake their hand. Not just the nod and smile, but really get to know them.
When our family started routine evening walks, I think it became quite a spectacle for my oldest daughter. Every couple of houses I would stop and say hello to a neighbor and she would marvel at the fact that I knew almost everyone on our street by name.
Your house is your castle and your street is a village, and it really is in your best interest to get to know the folks around you. For one, social interaction is a pretty healthy thing, and it really does change the feel of your home knowing that you have friends around you. For two, though no one will keep a better eye on your home then yourself, it certainly helps to have friends that will keep an eye on things when you are out of town and report the type of folks that are trying to jimmy their way into your window.
In this information age where most of us have our faces glued to a computer screen (myself included) it becomes increasingly more important to form real relationships with the folks we know. It has long since been proven that people who feel they are a part of a community live happier and healthier lives, less isolated and less depressed.
So why not give a nod back to the old fashion values of getting to know the people on your block. When I was growing up my folks knew everybody within a mile radius or more, and nowadays many people don’t even know their next-door neighbor. You’d be surprised how a five-minute conversation with your neighbor about the weather can change your whole outlook on the day, the feel of your neighborhood and the bonds of community.