When we hear the word or think about the idea of “neighbor,” in how many ways and contexts can we define this word or idea? How many ways might we be a neighbor or part of a neighborhood? And how many ways might we be “good neighbors”? 

The answers to these questions vary with each person. The word “neighbor” can mean simply the person who lives next to you, no matter how much interaction you have or even how “friendly” they may be. For us at Good Neighbor House, that word carries a deeper meaning.

For example, several years ago, we shared a blog posting on “5 Ways to be a Good Neighbor“; and around the same time, The Washington Post published an article suggesting nine ways to be a good neighbor. The suggestions in both articles share similar themes, such as these: 

  • Practice hospitality: be friendly; Invite your neighbors over (i.e. cultivate your relationships with them)
  • Participate in / Contribute to meaningful interactions: Attend or host an event or activity or organize a service project 
  • Practice Respect: for others and for accepted community conventions

These (and other) suggestions apply to those who live next to or near you and to those who are part of the larger community in which we live and work. Being a good neighbor means we create and maintain inviting spaces that enable community-building, and to think of these concepts in specific and more abstract ways.  

In my upcoming blog posts, I’ll be introducing Good Neighbor House’s Resident Volunteers and Leadership Team, sharing their views on being “good neighbors,” and showcasing examples from our experiences so far at the Good Neighbor House, experiences and activities that embody the idea of “good neighbor.”