September 28th is National Good Neighbor Day, a day that emphasizes the importance of generosity from good-hearted neighbors. It may seem like another silly holiday to celebrate, but the role of being a good neighbor should not be trivialized. Strong relationships are formed from even the smallest acts of kindness, and small acts by many create better living for all.

And while one day can be a reminder of how important it is to be a good neighbor, every day you can fulfill that role. Regularly practicing a handful of things will set you on the right path, and if you’re searching for different neighborhoods to live in, then now is a good time to be aware of what those might be. These are our suggestions. 

 

Have your home in order

Appearances say a lot about someone when you first meet them. The same goes for a home. Keeping a tidy yard and staying on top of general household maintenance will make a world of difference for you and others. It not only helps you in the long run as your home is an investment that could lose value if you don’t take care of it, but doing so will also make a good impression on your neighbors. 

You may shrug at the idea of having to appeal to your neighbors’ good graces, like who are they? Well, they too have a special interest in the value of their home, which changes when the neighborhood looks rundown or unattractive.

Every house plays a part, which is likely covered in the local homeowner’s association rules. Disregarding those rules is the work of a bad neighbor, while being an observer of them is the work of a good one.

 

Say hello!

Part of being a good neighbor is having a friendly disposition when you do cross paths with others. This can be achieved simply by saying hello. It’s not hard, and it’s honestly an open and welcoming gesture that is not practiced enough. 

You’d feel better if someone shared a friendly greeting with you instead of giving you a cold shoulder. That works both ways. 

Don’t be a stranger to your neighbor. 

 

Know when to turn down

We know that living in DC and Arlington is attractive because of its vibrant nightlife; however, when it comes to bringing the party back home, there’s something that everyone should be cautious of whether they live in a major city or a quiet suburb: decibel levels.

Hosting parties is great fun, but you have to be reasonable about the noise, especially as it gets later into the night. Usually a 10 pm cutoff is standard. 

One way to clarify is to check with county noise ordinances. They may differ slightly. You may even benefit from reaching out to neighbors the day after your event to make sure there were no disturbances. That will also show you are respectful toward the rest of the community.

 

Be a responsible pet owner

We all love our pets, but there’s a good chance your neighbor isn’t as enthusiastic about your four-legged furball, especially if Fido is leaving hidden treasures on their front lawn. This one should be a no-brainer—clean up after your pet.

A less obvious one is leash your pet. There are owners who feel comfortable enough to let their pet go without one, but that’s how accidents happen. And, for example,  seeing an unleashed dog can cause some alarm.

As a pet owner in the community, for other people’s safety as well as your pet’s, it’s best to ensure your furry friends are secure. 

 

Lend a helping hand

A clear sign of a good neighbor is a willingness to help others, whether that be for a direct neighbor or the general community. You can volunteer for or organize a clean up project or charity event for the community to attend or simply offer to help someone hang their Christmas lights. 

Another option is to survey what improvements your neighbors are interested in and put together a community project to help facilitate that change. This may include renovations at the local park or the development of a new community garden. 

You can establish a strong relationship with those around you if you make a concerted effort to help, and you’re likely to find others are quick to reciprocate.

Finding the right home is challenging enough, but if you want to love where you live, you’ll need to be a good neighbor.  A great community is the sign of many good neighbors. So, if you’ve just recently relocated, then now is the perfect time to start building a rewarding relationship with your neighbors. Invite them over, get to know them and aspects about the area.   

Much of what you can do as a neighbor is rooted in being conscious of others while caring for the overall well-being of the community. That starts with heeding the advice from the topics above and taking it another step further to consider what else you can do on a routine basis.