There was a time when neighbors were like extended family. Children in the neighborhood played together and everyone looked out for one another. While some communities still have this closeness, in many areas neighbors avoid each other and seldom even exchange pleasantries. 

If you’ve ever watched Judge Judy, you know conflict between neighbors is common, and this may be why many of us have no interest in getting to know the people next door. If your relationship with a neighbor goes bad, there is no way to avoid him or her—besides moving away. 

But there is something unnatural about living near people and having no interaction with them at all. A cordial, mutually supportive relationship with your neighbors will help make your neighborhood a safer, warmer place to live. Whether or not you celebrated National Good Neighbor Day on September 28th, here are some ways to be a better neighbor.

Neighborhood Watch

While it’s not as visible as it was in the ‘80s, Neighborhood Watch is one of the oldest and most effective ways to reduce crime in residential areas. If you join, you will receive training on how to identify suspicious behavior, where to report it, and what resources are available to victims; you’ll also get to know your neighbors. As the official website explains, “not only does Neighborhood Watch allow citizens to help in the fight against crime, it is also an opportunity for communities to bond through service.”

Volunteer

Whether it’s a clean-up effort after a storm, helping kids at crosswalks, dropping off food for an elderly neighbor, welcoming refugee families, or offering to participate in a carpool, there are an endless number of ways that you can lend a hand.

Community Events

Pulling off community events takes a lot of brainstorming and teamwork. There’s a good chance that your local neighborhood organization could use an extra set of hands.

Keep it Clean

Set a good example by keeping trash off your street and picking up after your pet. Take it a step further and pick up litter you see on the ground. Keep your own yard neat and tidy to discourage vermin, and help make your neighborhood more appealing. 

Join Next Door

The social media site, Next Door, helps neighbors communicate and share information—whether your beloved pet has gone missing, or you’re looking for a second-hand couch. If you download the app, you can control notifications and share pictures straight from your phone. I recently found a bike and returned it to the owner using Next Door!

Try to maintain the spirit of National Good Neighbor Day all year ’round—even when the family next door refuses to take down their Christmas lights!