Neighbours seem to have become a very insular breed, I know that through speaking to people in their homes before i retired in June 2011, A lot of people dont even know the names of their neighbours, They see them leave for work in the morning then returning home at teatime and thats all they see of them. In the winter months it seems to be worse, 'Neighbours seem to go into hybernation once the clocks go back and we have the dark nights, Not to be seen again until springtime, Bit like the first cuckoo of spring.
I have considered setting up a local newsletter, but i really dont think neighbours these days want to share any personal information with the world, Suppose it can be tricky with such things as "Identity Theft" and Security issues,
I know that my wife and i have invited near neighbours to 'pop round for a cup of coffee, the excuse usually is "Thanks but by the time you get home from work, "you know how it is. etc, A few weeks ago i was talking to a near neighbour about the same topic and even he admitted that he hadnt got a clue who most of his neighbours were. Bit of a sad reflection of life today though.
With technology people have loads of Facebook friends and yet often dont know much about those who live next door.
This is really a really interesting topic to me. As a native Londoner recently moved to Yorkshire, getting to know, or even recognising (!) my neighbours has been a bit of a new experience.
In London I only knew my immediate neighbours, and that was because we'd gone to the same school, or they knew my family. I never noticed the same faces at my morning bus stop to work or on a journey home, it would have been a complete suprise to see someone I knew on public transport.
Now, I see the same people, the same bus driver(!) every day, I notice when people are on holiday by their absence from the stop and find it slightly weird that a few of them live very close to me - they would know where I live. It's almost as if we should speak to each other...but we don't.
I guess people may worry that if they speak to each other one day they will be obliged to do so every day from then on, I for one am not a morning person, so just smile or nod. Maybe we're all missing out on a great opportunity to make friends, maybe if i spoke to some of these people we would find we have loads in common and become "bus buddies"...who knows.
I agree and think it’s sad that people aren’t more connected; I know previous generations tended to be a bit closer knit than nowadays and were part of very social communities.
The newsletter seems like a good idea but if you don’t think it’s the right fit for your area then what about a community café? Is there a local space where you could hold small events like a picnic (never underestimate the allure of free food!) to encourage neighbours to meet each other? Or perhaps try starting something online such as a Facebook group for those in the area, maybe if you can connect that way you can progress to doing things together as a group later.
I’d suggest connecting with local community organisations as they tend to run events to help promote cohesion or could potentially help you set something up in your area. I know a lot of people are simply afraid to take the steps to introduce themselves, I included, but having a relaxed and social environment can help to get past this.
I would also suggest looking into skill sharing in your area, most communities have hidden treasures and it’s a fantastic way to showcase talent and encourage people to get to know each other.
You make some very good points 'Maike' !!
Thanks for your reply Frances, I dont know what is the matter with people, they seem to be afraid of 'getting involved', my wife says that i am always chatting to someone. but thats what you seem to have to do,
"I always have to take the first step", once you get people talking they seem happy to chat, before i retired i was amazed that some people actually thanked me for taking the time to talk to them, I think with neighbours its also an "age issue", our neighbours on one side are early 40s 'both work' no kids, so maybe they see us as having nothing in common, But i think that people have got out of the habit of talking. And of course if they work in retail which is what my two daughters-in-law do then the hours are very anti social working until 9pm and occasionally 11pm, "But anyway at least we have started a debate on the issue and we all seem to agree that there is a problem.
I think you are being charitable here Geff, sadly people simply do not care...when I was a young wife and mother with four children my neighbours on both sides were pensioners, they were lovely and I grew very fond of them. How times have changed, I have the neighbour from hell living next door who has caused me a great deal of grief in the last 12 years. I really do want to move as far away from here as possible and live in a very rural area with absolutely no neighbours, I never want to go through this again....
Like you I always chat to people of all ages and always if I have received remarkable care and attention point it out to the supervisors or head of companys etc.,...I used to have the worst dentist in the world and now have the very best....In the near future I will be contacting what used to be the Dental Board to sing his praises....
Yes, perhaps i was being too kind. my comments are far more blunt when discussing the topic with my wife, I think basically some people are just plain ignorant and use any excuse to avoid contact. You seem to mirror my attitude in singing the praises of good service particularly from retail staff etc, In my case i think this comes from 15 years of being a 'Market Researcher" between 1990 to 2000, where i had to visit various retail premises and report on staff attitudes and service, so i witnessed the 'excellent and the downright awful', so like you i regularly contact companies and comment on the service that i received. And yet company bosses seem surprised to receive compliments, saying that they only usually get complaints.
During last Winter's freeze none of my mother's very pleasant neighbours called to see if there was anything she needed even though she couldn't step outside the door. Their response was "She's only got to ask". She doesn't like to ask but they still didn't offer.
Sometimes an excuse helps. We had a wonderful street party for the Queen's Silver Jubilee where the whole street got together. We had an "It's a Knockout", some young people made a huge paper dragon, a guitar concert and a tea party for the children. The day was great but so was working together to create it. What's coming up that you could celebrate?
We lived in the US many years ago. People there had "Pot Luck Suppers". People would meet somewhere and each bring a dish and we would share the food. This was easy, cheap and fun. We've had a few pot luck barbeques in our road in the summer.
I also think if we want people to be friendlier, then the easiest thing to do is be friendly. Ghandi said "Be the change you want to see in the world". I smile at and speak to strangers on trains and tubes, even in London. They always respond positively. I've never been rebuffed. We are a friendly people but we are also excruciatingly shy. I'm shy too, but deciding to ignore the feeling and just do what needs doing is enlivening!
Here http://www.nickheap.co.uk/articles.asp?ART_ID=254 are details of an amazing initiative, Network Education, that built community and shows the extraordinary richness of what people know. In just a few streets in Enfield hundreds of people taught each other skills and shared knowledge, almost all for free. The list of skills took four sheets of A4 paper.
I don't know how many of the people were "oldies" but I would guess many were. It's an inspiring story.
I am happy to say that my family and i are known by every one from top to bottom of our lane, we have good nabours next door they are awear my wife and i both have health issuse and will do aything for us ,even the farmer up the lane pops in to see us so hay ho!it's good .