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Author Topic: Do You Know Your Neighbors?  (Read 1875 times)

StillAWarrior

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Do You Know Your Neighbors?
« on: May 16, 2018, 08:59:54 AM »
The question in the title -- Do you know your neighbors -- was prompted by a recent experience that I thought was kind of funny (but a little sad).

We've lived in the same house for 20+ years.  We've raised our four kids there.  Our house is not in a development...we don't have sidewalks and we don't have the shared back yards like a lot of developments do (the yards on our side of the street back up to woods).  Almost nobody has fenced yards.  It's a fairly normal street about 0.5 miles long connecting two more major streets.  There are approximately 20 houses on each side of the street - probably averaging about 0.5 acre lots.  Fairly typical, I think.

We know one of our immediately adjacent neighbors pretty well.  We get together and we exchange gifts at Christmas, etc.  We knew the neighbors on the other side casually, but they were elderly and have passed away.  We understand the house has been sold and have met the people who bought it, but that was more than a year ago and they still haven't moved in.  We're not sure what's going on there.  My youngest (15) was really excited to learn that they have a son her age because she'd never had a neighbor that was her age.  Or so she thought.

Earlier this year my daughter met a girl her age at a HS football game.  My daughter goes to a private school on the southeast side of the city; this girl goes to a private school on the northwest side of the city.  The two girls hit it off and, as kids these days tend to do, they exchanged social media information.  They've kept in touch through that since then, and have seen each other at several other events (all of which have been at a third private school where they have some common friends).  Over the last six months, there have been many times when my daughter talked about this girl and how much she likes her and how well they get along.

Fast forward to yesterday when my daughter found out that this other girl lives across the street from us.  Literally, across the street.  One house over.  According to Google Maps, their front door is 110 yards from our front door.  We had absolutely no idea.  I don't understand how that is even possible.  They've been there at least 10 years.

I guess that means we're crappy neighbors.  And so are they, I suppose.  My daughter is over the moon excited to not only have a neighbor her age, but it's a girl that she has been friends with and really likes.  Crazy.  And sad.

So, do you know your neighbors?  Do you get together with them?  Or are you antisocial like we (apparently) are?
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Sultan of South Wayne

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Re: Do You Know Your Neighbors?
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2018, 09:07:58 AM »
We know who most of our neighbors are.  The houses in our neighborhood rarely turn-over.  We are in a newer development with all of the homes built within the past ten years, and I think out of the 20 or so houses, all of them have their original owners except for four of them. 

That being said, we don't do anything socially with our neighbors.  No neighborhood parties, etc.  We have a number of friends in town that we mostly hang out with.  People we have known for almost 20 years and got connected with through our kids.
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ZiggysFryBoy

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Re: Do You Know Your Neighbors?
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2018, 09:17:07 AM »
few times walkin out to da mail bocks in my skivvies and nobooty wantz to talk ta me and imma fine wit zat.

BTW, I live in Mequon in the same hood as TC (sucks) used to live in.

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#UnleashTravis

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Re: Do You Know Your Neighbors?
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2018, 09:59:56 AM »
I'm guessing it has to do with an age thing. Back when my family lived in Tosa and it was a *young* neighborhood we knew all the neighbors and had tons of block parties. When we moved years ago we again knew all the neighbors in the new place. But now we know none of the new ones when our old ones moved away.

Fast forward to Bayview another young neighborhood where some friends live. They know everyone and have tons of block parties.

Galway Eagle

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Re: Do You Know Your Neighbors?
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2018, 10:11:22 AM »
Knew nobody but the family my sister babysat for when my family moved to Oak Park, but everyone on the block had kids at least 10yrs younger than me and they all knew each other. In Chicago we knew everybody within a two block radius.
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StillAWarrior

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Re: Do You Know Your Neighbors?
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2018, 10:25:05 AM »
It's funny, but I knew that they had kids.  I just thought they were several years younger than our youngest.  I'm still sure that they do have younger kids...we just didn't know about the older ones (and I've now learned that they also have a son in HS).  I see them out walking their dog with younger kids, but I don't recall ever seeing the older ones.  We walk the dog with my kids, so I'm a little surprised they never noticed or said anything.

We've had a number of pleasant interactions with the parents over the years, but it was obviously very "surface" if we never came to the shared realization that we had kids the same age.
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PTM

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Re: Do You Know Your Neighbors?
« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2018, 10:30:16 AM »
We moved into our current house four years ago. We became really close with the one neighbor in our cul-de-sac, they were awesome. Kids were out, maintained their yard to my impeccable standards and nice people.

They sold in August. Since then the new neighbors enjoy dandelions, four-wheelers and using the cul-de-sac as an extension of their yard. Another neighbor has a theory they are a couple from The Amazing Race since they are reclusive, have almost zero background information/internet profile and have a close resemblance.

Our daughter is friends with the two boys behind out and a girl a couple doors down.
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brewcity77

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Re: Do You Know Your Neighbors?
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2018, 10:32:44 AM »
We know them enough to have passing conversations, but not well. I'll put it like this, when Cheryl, our immediate neighbor to the north saw me pushing a stroller, she said in a shocked voice "oh, what happened, how did you get a baby?!?" I think the only thing that shocked her more was when I said "the old fashioned way." None of our neighbors even knew Holly was pregnant.

UWW2MU

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Re: Do You Know Your Neighbors?
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2018, 10:41:56 AM »
We know them enough to have passing conversations, but not well. I'll put it like this, when Cheryl, our immediate neighbor to the north saw me pushing a stroller, she said in a shocked voice "oh, what happened, how did you get a baby?!?" I think the only thing that shocked her more was when I said "the old fashioned way." None of our neighbors even knew Holly was pregnant.

Ha!  I love this!


As for the topic at hand... I moved about a year ago to a subdivision in Cedarburg that has small lot sizes and many communal cul-de-sacs.  Moving from the Milwaukee/Tosa area, I assumed this would mean all the neighbors would know one another well as they did in my old neighborhood.  This turned out not to be the case. 

I've met a couple direct neighbors but really only extensively talked to one directly next to us.  Our cul-de-sac is pretty much all retired couples, although some of the neighbors a little further away seem younger.  So maybe that has played into it.  However, I did notice one house where minivans sporting STH MU stickers on the back windows gather during all MU games.  I definitely need to reach out to them!

Ultimately, it's probably just us since we don't spend much time outside.  That and I always seem to say something awkward the few times I've actually talked to other neighbors.  Oops...!

SaveOD238

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Re: Do You Know Your Neighbors?
« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2018, 10:56:30 AM »
I'm guessing it has to do with an age thing. Back when my family lived in Tosa and it was a *young* neighborhood we knew all the neighbors and had tons of block parties. When we moved years ago we again knew all the neighbors in the new place. But now we know none of the new ones when our old ones moved away.

Fast forward to Bayview another young neighborhood where some friends live. They know everyone and have tons of block parties.

I'd agree on the age thing.  My wife have lived in our neighborhood for almost four years and I think were still the youngest (29 and 30) couple in the neighborhood.  Everyone else is middle aged or older.  We don't have many interactions with neighbors, which I think is unfortunate.  In fact, we found out at the HOA meeting that our behind-neighbors have a newborn (we're expecting in August) and I told my wife she needs to make friends so they can have baby play-dates.

Funny story: the FIRST interaction we had with neighbors was on the second day we owned the house.  I was at work, and my wife locked herself out (she locked the interior garage door for some reason), with the tea kettle boiling.  She had to go (barefoot, I think) to the brand new neighbors and introduce herself to borrow a phone to call me.  Not the best first impression.

TAMU Eagle

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Re: Do You Know Your Neighbors?
« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2018, 11:14:51 AM »
I live in a college town so it's a little different. Almost all the houses around us are rented to college students who shove as many people in as possible. We have at least 8 guys from the same fraternity living next to us on one side and at least 10 girls from the same sorority living next to us on the other side. So we're sandwiched between the movies Neighbors 1 and Neighbors 2.

Other than a few loud parties its mostly been fine. The fraternity invited us to a few parties when they first moved in but I assured them that they did not want a university employee there. They stopped asking when they realized what office I worked for
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mu03eng

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Re: Do You Know Your Neighbors?
« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2018, 11:18:15 AM »
It's a great topic of conversation. Our neighborhood is almost 40 years old and when we moved in 9 years ago we were probably one of the youngest couples within a half mile radius of the neighborhood. I met all of the immediate neighbors, who all had kids no younger than junior high or were empty nesters,within in the first year but never engaged with them more than in passing. We were pre-kid so we were either out with friends, travelling, or generally not around at least when our neighbors were.

However, in the last 2 or 3 years we're starting to see the neighborhood turn over as younger families are moving in replacing families that are now retiring, etc. We had neighbors move in next to us within that time period that we've gotten close with (dinners at least once a month, take the husband to MU games with me from time to time, and we'll hang out if we're both outside) and we had two different sets of friends move into our neighborhood as well. The neighbors are moving out immediately behind us (older couple with grandkids) and apparently a young couple is moving in (according to my neighbor friend who is the town spy as far as I can tell). I finally just met the guy down the street who has a tiki bar in his garage in the summer and he invited us over whenever the lights are on, etc.

All that to say, I think it's about timing and where you are in your life. With so much of life now virtual, you might miss out of engaging with neighbors simply because they are in a different phase of their life.
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tower912

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Re: Do You Know Your Neighbors?
« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2018, 11:45:57 AM »
I did.  Then, over the last 4 years, four families that I considered friends moved.  Needed a bigger house or a smaller house or got a job elsewhere.
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barfolomew

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Re: Do You Know Your Neighbors?
« Reply #13 on: May 16, 2018, 11:57:39 AM »
Last neighborhood in suburban Chicago, knew only two neighbors. All older people, whereas we were young and starting a family. New neighborhood two towns away was selected specifically for the neighborhood, and outside of a few recluses, I know everyone on both our blocks (we're on the corner).

We have a yearly block party, where everyone from retired widows to young childless families attend, which helps. Plus we have a progressive dinner, neighborhood book club, etc., which helps keep the connections between those who might not otherwise interact.
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MU82

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Re: Do You Know Your Neighbors?
« Reply #14 on: May 16, 2018, 12:04:59 PM »
We know our neighbors well.

The woman two houses down is watching our dog while we're in Mexico and she will pick us up at the airport. She also lets us use her pool whenever we want. In return, we watch her cat and take care of her pool when she goes out of town.

Our immediate next-door neighbor is taking our dog for a walk every day we are gone (they love our dog) and we have many pleasant conversations. Our immediate neighbor on the other side has had us over many times for social events - and yes, this is the neighbor who hung the unwanted ornaments in our tree last December and then kindly removed them when we asked her to.

My wife and I have always worked pretty hard at getting to know our neighbors. Life's too short to not have friends - or at least acquaintances - nearby!

(Edited to add the ornaments reference.)
« Last Edit: May 16, 2018, 12:13:27 PM by MU82 »
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real chili 83

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Re: Do You Know Your Neighbors?
« Reply #15 on: May 16, 2018, 12:05:25 PM »
We had this shady dude move in the neighborhood a couple of years ago.  Single guy, kinda sketchy.  He moved out about two years ago.  Home prices went up, grass was greener, flowers bloomed, and children were playing in the streets again. 

Dr. Blackheart

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Re: Do You Know Your Neighbors?
« Reply #16 on: May 16, 2018, 12:17:02 PM »
We had this shady dude move in the neighborhood a couple of years ago.  Single guy, kinda sketchy.  He moved out about two years ago.  Home prices went up, grass was greener, flowers bloomed, and children were playing in the streets again.

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StillAWarrior

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Re: Do You Know Your Neighbors?
« Reply #17 on: May 16, 2018, 12:26:18 PM »
All that to say, I think it's about timing and where you are in your life. With so much of life now virtual, you might miss out of engaging with neighbors simply because they are in a different phase of their life.

I agree completely.  Which is why I am so surprised to learn that there is a family right across the street that is in the same phase of life as us...or at least close enough that there is overlap between their oldest and our youngest.

When we moved onto the street, we were definitely one of the young couples.  There were a few families with kids that were 8-10 years older than our oldest .  There was one family across the street that had kids the same ages as our two older kids.  We knew them, but not well.  The kids played together occasionally, but never really hit it off that much.  Then people started moving in with younger kids.  We'd notice when they moved in, see the kids, and comment that another family moved in with kids that were too young to play with.  We just never realized that the family right across the street had kids who were the same age as ours.  I'm still shocked.  And a little embarrassed, actually.
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LloydsLegs

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Re: Do You Know Your Neighbors?
« Reply #18 on: May 16, 2018, 12:31:47 PM »
28 years in the same spot in the OP with BPB.  We know all of our neighbors on our block and all of the folks with whom we share the alley.  We have block parties and otherwise socialize with some (some were sitters for our kids, and our kids were sitters for the next gen).  Quite a few have been on the block longer than have we.  Our church and grade school take up part of the block across the street, so only 3 houses on that side. 

Next door neighbor was one when he moved into the house when it was built in 1950.  His mom lived there until she died 7 or 8 years ago at age 90.  He then moved back in, so the same family has been in that house for 68 some years.

Five years ago one Saturday morning, an 85+  year old guy knocked on our door.  His father had built our house in 1936 when he was 10 or 11; his family has moved out in the late 60's and he had not been back since.  We gave him the tour (we had done a big addition 10 years before, so it was fun listening to him re-create the old space), he told us a bunch of stories, and then I walked him over to that same neighbor- though they were 15 years apart, they remembered each other (mostly through siblings who were closer in age) and told stories for another hour.  A few days later we received a hand-written thank you note.  Very cool.


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Re: Do You Know Your Neighbors?
« Reply #19 on: May 16, 2018, 12:54:46 PM »
Side note, if you aren't following Best of NextDoor on twitter, you are really missing out. And if you don't know what NextDoor is, I'm not sure how you found your way to the internet and/or this particular thread.
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StillAWarrior

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Re: Do You Know Your Neighbors?
« Reply #20 on: May 16, 2018, 12:59:32 PM »
A little more about the "discovery" that I thought was funny.  My daughter's best friend in the world goes to school with this other girl and they are friends (but she didn't know where the girl lived).  My daughter's friend noticed through some social media app that this girl was often on our street (stalker alert).  My daughter and her friend didn't put two and two together, and just commented how strange it was that she was there so often.  They wondered who she might be visiting.  Apparently, detective work is not their strong suit.  Eventually, curiosity got the better of my daughter's friend and she checked the school directory and made the discovery.

My daughter was so excited last night she could barely contain herself.  Unfortunately, the other girl was at some event and didn't get home until after bed time so they couldn't get together.  I was reminded of the euphoric scene from Step Brothers..."So many activities! It's making my head spin how many activities we can do!"
« Last Edit: May 16, 2018, 01:02:44 PM by StillAWarrior »
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dgies9156

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Re: Do You Know Your Neighbors?
« Reply #21 on: May 16, 2018, 01:42:41 PM »
Interesting question.

We have lived in our home for 24 years. When we moved in, we were among the youngest folks in the neighborhood. We're now among the oldest. We have some close friends who live behind us who became our friends in no small measure because our son became best friends with their son. He's over at their house so much  that my son knows the code to their garage door and probably has a house key somewhere. He's their fourth son.

They are incredibly nice people and would do anything to assist us -- and vice versa.

By and large though, while we know our neighbors, we have been ostracized by the fact that our children have learning disabilities. The mothers of our neighborhood's upwardly mobile children didn't want their children to socialize with our children and largely turned their backs on me and my wife. It got so bad that one year our nearby neighbors sponsored a block party and invited residents of every home around us except us. We were "conveniently" forgotten.

Suffice to say, we never thought about going to that party again. We did make a stink and made sure people knew we were offended. Not one of my "turn the other cheek" days but even Jesus got fed up once in awhile.

By contrast, we bought a second home on the Treasure Coast of Florida a few years back. There, our neighborhood has monthly get-togethers in the pool area, in season, and probably 70 percent of the residents of the neighborhood show up. We get along and generally enjoy each others' company. Unless your are from Block Island, RI (where  an unusually large concentration of residents in our neighborhood came from), nobody really cares where you came from or who your children are (unless they are at the party or in the neighborhood, in which case they are an object of interest).

The difference between the two neighborhoods is largely social pecking order. In our northern neighborhood, our children were not what people wanted for their children -- as harsh and un-Christianlike as that might sound -- and so they weren't ugly most of the time but they made sure they thought they were better than we  were. Down south, nobody cares. We're in a community where everyone by-and-large is from somewhere else. They want to affiliate and want to pull people in, so they do.


Marquette Gyros

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Re: Do You Know Your Neighbors?
« Reply #22 on: May 16, 2018, 01:52:57 PM »
Good topic for conversation.

Really depends on where you live...

We were friendly with the folks in our four-flat in the city who all seemed to have kids at different stages...  makes a pretty big difference on who you socialize with. 

Next-door neighbors in Notting Hill were an AirBnB and a woman called "Bunty" whose name my toddler mispronounced to hilarious effect...

Back in the U.S. burbs; our neighbor to the north has lived in his house all 58 years of his life; our neighbors to the south have been in their place for 35 years, so we're a bit of the new kids on the block.   

Lazar's Headband

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Re: Do You Know Your Neighbors?
« Reply #23 on: May 16, 2018, 02:29:34 PM »
Friends with a few neighbors, acquaintances with a few more.  Some coincidences through the years.

One former neighborhood resident and my wife went to college together.  They recognized each other from afar but months went by before we all crossed paths on a walk and confirmed identities.

My first son was born 4 days before our neighbors had their first child, a girl.

My second son was born 3 days after a different set of neighbors had their second child, also a girl.

Both of those families have moved away.

When my wife and I had our third child, a girl, the night nurse woke us up and said, "Hey, I think we're neighbors!"  Sure enough, we recognized her as one of our new neighbors, even though we were barely acquaintances. She's since moved, too.

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Re: Do You Know Your Neighbors?
« Reply #24 on: May 16, 2018, 02:36:10 PM »
dg - your northern neighbors seem like total pr#cks. I would have moved in a heartbeat.

My own experiences were much more positive. I grew up in a neighborhood where people (with possibly a rare exception) knew one another and were friends or at least friendly. I still see a couple of those kids I grew up with. Same held true in the house my wife and I raised our 4 kids. My youngest daughter's best friend to this day was a next door neighbor. A common denominator - both homes were on dead end streets with an open field (baseball, football, hanging out, whatever) at the end.