The “neighbor” has been an iconic role on TV since the beginning of sitcoms.
Fred & Ethel Mertz from I Love Lucy, Lenny & Squiggy from Laverne and Shirley, and Eddie Haskell from Leave It To Beaver, to name some oldies but goodies. In the 1990’s we had Wilson, the always wise and half-seen neighbor from the other side of the fence on Home Improvement, and Cosmo Kramer, the boundary-less, jobless and all around crazy neighbor on Seinfeld.
All of these characters played a pivotal role in the lives of the main characters, just as our own neighbors can play in ours. Neighbors can end up being your best friends, or they can be your worst nightmare.
Since most of us in the Westchase area live within sneeze distance from the house next door, this can be a very important relationship. Proximity alone makes avoiding neighbors that you don’t like extremely challenging. Sunday morning newspaper retrieval can turn into an awkward, gaze-avoiding jaunt down the driveway if you happen to go at the same time as that dreaded neighbor.
Just like cats and dogs, brothers and sisters, Republicans and Democrats, and Tom and Jerry, neighbors will always find something to argue about. Since this is an unavoidable fact, I decided to explore what people thought were the traits of a good neighbor. I put that question on Facebook and polled some of my neighbors at the bus stop. Once I weeded through the smart aleck answers of my “funny” friends, I got down to the nitty-gritty on what makes a good neighbor.
Borrowing is still a big thing. If you need an egg, a ladder, or a piece of advice, a good neighbor will be ready to give.
Helping when your neighbor is away was also a common answer--feeding pets, picking up mail/newspapers, and just keeping an eye on things. People want to live next to someone they can trust enough to leave a house key with.
Some of my respondents wanted to live next to people that have similar aged kids who can play together. What kid wouldn’t want their best friend next door?
The people I talked to also wanted neighbors with similar interests as them. They want to bring their friendship out of the neighborhood and go to sporting events, concerts, and comedy shows.
My favorite answer came from the newest member of The Wood Team, Dan Sullivan. He said, “someone who will confront you directly with an issue rather than let it grow and fester.” I wonder how many neighbor disputes would be avoided if this was done on a regular basis?
Some people hit the neighbor jackpot. The adults become best friends, the kids become best friends, and their dogs enthusiastically lick from opposite sides of the fence. But most of us have to learn how to be a good neighbor to the individual personalities that surround us. Having good neighbors is most likely the product of being a good neighbor.
What do you think makes a great neighbor?
Melanie Atkinson is a Realtor with The Wood Team at Coldwell Banker. She can be reached at 813-368-6084 or Melanie.firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow me on Twitter @CBMelanieA or “Like” The Wood Team on Facebook.