How to talk to your neighbours | Queen of Green | David Suzuki Foundation
Photo: How to talk to your neighbours

Get to know your neighbours! (Credit: Jode Roberts)

How neighbourly are you?

Before you approach neighbours about the leaves they don't rake, their scented dryer sheets, second-hand smoke wafting into your bedroom window or the car abandoned in their yard, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Are you coming from a place of judgment?
  2. Are you prepared for the outcome? Are you prepared to change? (They might say something you don't want to hear.)
  3. Is the issue important enough to risk the relationship and potentially create conflict?

And if you have 14 minutes and 47 seconds, this video by Leo Busgaglia reveals a thoughtful analysis of human relationships, including a neighbourly incident that you no doubt can relate to. Leo once asked, "What are we doing stuffing facts into people and forgetting that they are human beings?" He also taught a university class titled "Love" where there were no grades!

Subscribe to the Queen of Green digest

Five things to consider before your next neighbourly encounter:

  1. Establish a relationship first
  2. Recognize their intention
  3. Deal with the person (not the behavior)
  4. Is there anything I can do?
  5. Maybe it's not worth talking about

For example, I have a dog named Kitty. She poops. And on occasion I've been preoccupied in the dog park and missed the big event. This often leads to someone yelling "Hey! Your dog just $#*! over there! Pay attention!" Except for one time when someone calmly said, "Do you need a bag?"

To me, the "how can I help?" attitude made all the difference. Now I try to incorporate it into all my neighbourly encounters, because nobody needs to be $#*! on about $#*!.

How have you successfully dealt with neighbourly dilemmas?

Sincerely,
Lindsay Coulter, a fellow Queen of Green

August 25, 2014
http://www.davidsuzuki.org/blogs/queen-of-green/2014/08/how-to-talk-to-your-neighbours/

Read more

Post a comment


2 Comments

Sep 03, 2014
6:15 PM

One challenge I have in biting my tongue is my enthusiasm for wanting to help others.

Everyone has different bits of skills and knowledge, and when I see a group or small business struggling I want to pitch in and give them a boost. I would like people to do the same thing for me.

However, not everyone appreciates unsolicited free advice even if it is something that could save them hours of work or hundreds of dollars.

Oddly enough they will go and pay someone else hundreds of dollars for advice, and THEN come bask to me saying ..”Y’know when you told me …You were right!”

So, how do you offer help in a way that people will accept it? This is a challenge.

Aug 27, 2014
2:48 PM

This is very good information for all of us. Too often we forget to consider our neighbors’ compacity to accept positive suggestions for improvements. My experience has been people don’t accept change readily. I suppose it is mostly relative. Thank you for these types of topics, just keeping a peaceful neighborhood is so important for our families- particularly our children.

The David Suzuki Foundation does not necessarily endorse the comments or views posted within this forum. All contributors acknowledge DSF's right to refuse publication of comments deemed to be offensive or that contravene our operating principles as a charitable organization. Please note that all comments are pre-moderated. Privacy Policy »