From politics to parenting to rising property costs and much more, it seems like American communities are more divided than ever before. Are the days of close-knit communities and positive neighborly interactions a thing of the past?
While you aren’t likely to find the Cleavers down the street, this doesn’t mean your neighbors are cold and conflicted. In fact, a new survey found just the opposite.
OfferUp, the largest mobile marketplace in the U.S. for local buyers and sellers, released the 2019 Good Neighbor Report, which found there are steadfast levels of selflessness, care and trust across American communities, regardless of age group or location.
This is good news for the company, which relies on the promise of positive relationships that come from people buying and selling in their communities. However, there’s a lot of important insight that proves people aren’t as at odds as the general population believes, and even in diverse times, the health of American communities is strong.
Whether it’s the local government or discussion on the upcoming presidential election, the stage is ripe for political divide. However, the study found few (18%) have actually encountered a scenario where political divisions impacted a relationship with a neighbor. Among those who did, the vast majority (70%) still consider the neighbor who they had a political conflict with as a friend.
Communication hurdles Despite popular belief that social media is making younger generations increasingly isolated, more than half of all Americans from Gen Z to Baby Boomers regularly communicate with their neighbors in person, the study found. Likewise, younger Americans are just as likely to do something kind or helpful for a neighbor as their older counterparts.
The idea of being “neighborly” is still alive and well, with 61% of people feeling it’s important to develop friendships with neighbors and 58% likely to reach out and welcome a new neighbor to the neighborhood. Nearly one-third (32%) have invited a neighbor over for a special event and 49% say they trust their neighbors completely.
Tips to be more neighborly
Befriending neighbors helps you build a strong community you can depend on and trust, plus you’ll often find when you give, you receive. Here are a few easy ways to connect with your neighbors:
- Say hello. It’s short, simple and effective.
- Notice what your neighbor likes and use that as a cue for conversation and small gifts. For example, if your neighbor runs daily, you can ask about their exercise routine. If you see they drink coffee frequently, a gift card for a cup of coffee from their favorite coffee shop will brighten their day.
- Offer help during transition times. If your neighbor is having a baby, consider using OfferUp to find local sellers of new and used baby items and get a gift they need. Is a neighbor retiring? Offer to help them downsize by showing them how easy it is to sell what they no longer use. Learn more at offerup.com.
- Acts of kindness never get old. A simple gesture like shoveling an elderly neighbor’s walkways, watching a busy mom’s kids for a few hours or bringing the mail in while a neighbor is traveling can be a big help.
Creating meaningful bonds with your neighbors is easy to do if you have a positive outlook, friendly approach and an open mind. You’ll feel good about building relationships while also strengthening your community.