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:
- Are you coming from a place of judgment?
- Are you prepared for the outcome? Are you prepared to change? (They might say something you don't want to hear.)
- 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!
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Five things to consider before your next neighbourly encounter:
- Establish a relationship first
- Recognize their intention
- Deal with the person (not the behavior)
- Is there anything I can do?
- 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?
Lindsay Coulter, a fellow Queen of Green