09 January 2009

On Being Neighborly

Our next door neighbors appear to be moving out. Adam and I, on the other hand, are getting ready to renew our lease for another year. I love where we live. It's within walking distance of downtown, there are always people around, and it's not the country (we tried that once and I hated it). One thing I don't love, though, is the unfriendliness of our neighbors.

When this couple who is now moving out first moved in, we were sure to welcome them. I was glad to see it was another young couple, something I'd been praying for since the previous tenants moved out. But after that initial contact, they never spoke to us again and seemed to actually avoid having to say hello. The neighbors on the opposite of our house did the same thing, as did the couple across the street.

I'd like to think that we're nice neighbors. We've been friendly and always say hello or wave. Perhaps it's because of our annoying dog. She barks. She gets excited. She's a dog. (Wait til our kid is born.) But all neighbors have their quirks (I can hear the TV in the house next to us all night) and I don't see that as reason enough to be rude.

I thought when we moved here that we'd find the neighborhood to be, well, neighborly. I figured we'd build relationships and make friends. We even heard word of block parties and movies nights. But, for some reason, none of this ever happened.

When I mentioned this to a friend who has always lived in this city, she said, "That's not what we do here." Whatever happened to Southern hospitality? I'm a bit stunned.

So, now, onto praying for our new neighbors, whoever will end up moving in next door. Instead of praying for a young couple, I'll ask for neighborly neighbors -- people who will say hello, offer help and a kind word, and want to build relationships with the people they live beside.

That's all I want, really.


jenni said...

Me, too. Thankfully, we have two sets of neighborly neighbors, but we'd like to meet more. Praying for your neighbors is a great idea.

kate ortiz said...

why does being neighborly have to be so tricky? i, too, find the whole neighbor-avoidance kind of odd. it's been better in our new neighborhood but even here people will walk down the sidewalk and avoid eye-contact.

i agree with jenni, prayer is a great idea with this!

Laura Leigh Dobson said...

i can once again relate to this post. . .
i'd be neighborly if you were my neighbor:)

Lindsay said...

Thanks for the neighborly comments. Haha.

Kate, the avoiding eye contact is the worst. I always say hello and it usually shocks people into saying it back. I get a bit of pleasure out of it.