One of any homeowner association’s challenges is helping neighbors “make nice” and be good neighbors. Board members are often called on to mediate disputes between neighbors or fine them for wrongdoings that are covered in the covenants.
Being a good neighbor is an attitude. You don’t need to be close friends. Acquaintances can be good neighbors. It’s your attitude – about being flexible and embracing cultural differences. It’s about looking out for each other. Here are some tips on how to nurture the “good neighbor” attitude in your association.
Take A Few Minutes to Meet Your Neighbors. Introduce yourself at the mailbox or a neighborhood get-together. Learn their names and greet them with a “Hello” when you see them.
Inform Your Neighbors. Before you host a party, build a fence or get a pet, think about any inconveniences your actions may cause them. Taking time to talk about issues upfront can prevent disputes from escalating.
Look at Things From Their ViewPoint. How does your yard look from their view? Would you want that view from your front door?
Accept Your Differences. Sure, you may have different faiths, ages, and ethnic backgrounds. This diversity affects lifestyles. Embrace these differences. It can be fun to learn about other customs and beliefs. If you aren’t comfortable participating, focus on the things you have in common.
Be Vocal. When a neighbor does something you like, tell them. People always want to hear about good things. If they do something that bothers you, talk about the issue with them. If you don’t react defensively, anger quickly subsides so that a resolution can be reached.
Expect the Best. People rarely create problems intentionally. Issues rise because someone doesn’t recognize that they are annoying their neighbors. If you approach your neighbor in a kind and compassionate manner, most people will be more cooperative.
Cool Off Before Reacting. If you are caught in angry confrontation with a neighbor, take a break and resume the discussion later when you have both cooled off. Make sure that you reach resolution because time will intensify unsettled hostilities.
Follow the Golden Rule. Treat others as you would like to be treated. Adopting this attitude will pave the way for you to be a good neighbor. When you “make nice”, your neighbors respond in a like manner.
When all homeowners work toward adopting a more accepting good neighbor attitude, the community, the Board and the residents reap the rewards.