by Noah Tan on

Dear future neighbours,

Hello there! We haven’t officially met yet, but it’s only a matter of time before we’ll see each other in person. After all, it’s just a few more months before we get the keys to our new homes, and I bet you’re as excited as I am at starting this new chapter in our lives.

Excited as I am, however, I’m not really sure what to expect once I move into my new flat and neighbourhood with my wife-to-be.

And admittedly, one of the aspects of this impending move that I’m apprehensive about has to do with you, my future neighbours.

After all, as neighbours, we’ll be living in close proximity to each other. How you’re like as a person, how you behave, and what your habits are will play a key role in determining how much I’ll enjoy living at my new home, and vice versa.

Like me, you probably would have read or heard stories about neighbours behaving badly. Maybe you’ve even encountered ‘horror’ neighbours yourselves. Regardless, I’m sure you’ll agree with me that nobody wants to live beside bad neighbours.

So, let’s have an agreement that neither of us shall be that, ok?

Instead, let’s strive to emulate the many real-life examples of good neighbours – like the group of residents who banded together to care for their elderly neighbour, or the man who delivers food to his neighbours for free so as to make their lives easier.

Now, such grand gestures of neighbourliness are to be applauded. But, it’s not all the time that we’ll get the opportunity, or indeed, have the capability to perform such acts of kindness.

One thing that we can all do, however, is adhere to the basics of what makes a good neighbour.

A good rule of thumb I like to follow is to think about how my actions will impact people in the neighbourhood, and put myself in the shoes of those who will be affected by it.

So, for starters, I aim to be a responsible homeowner and a civic-minded resident. Simply put, I’ll be considerate to you, my neighbour, and respect the neighbourhood that we all live in.

Acts like picking up after my pet, throwing litter into the dustbins, and ensuring that my laundry is drained of any excess water before I hang it out to dry will all be good habits that I’ll adopt.

I know, these habits sound like common sense, but you’d be surprised at how many people fail to practise them. You can rest assured, however, that I’ll definitely be mindful of my behaviour and ensure that it will not negatively impact you or the neighbourhood.

And that is also why I’ll strive to keep the noise level down in my house at all times, so that there will be peace and quiet for all of you. I get it – our homes should be a place where we can unwind and relax, but it’ll be hard to do that if there’s a cacophony next door.

So, don’t fret, I’ll be mindful about the noise emanating from my house, especially during the times when I have guests over.

I do hope, however, that you’ll extend the same courtesy to me.

Speaking of courtesy, let’s try to make it a point to say ‘hi’ whenever we run into each other. Better yet, let’s engage in conversation – I’m open to talk about a wide range of topics, from movies, to food, to football (just so you know, I’m an Arsenal fan), to even sensitive subjects like politics and religion.

The one thing I ask of you, though, is that we keep these conversations respectful and cordial at all times, even if we happen to disagree on certain points.

On that note, I recognise there might be times when we run into disputes with each other. Otherwise, maybe one of us gets annoyed because of something the other did.

In these instances, let’s remain calm and talk things through rationally, instead of letting our anger get the better for us. So, if you were unhappy with me over something that I did, do let me know – in a nice, civil manner, of course. We can then discuss the issue and work out a solution or compromise.

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Image Source: Shutterstock / szefei

Nonetheless, through all our conversations and interactions, I hope we’ll be able to strengthen our relationship with each other to the point where we can consider each other as not just neighbours, but friends.

But, I understand that some may not be comfortable with making small talk, let alone engaging in a lengthy conversation. Not to worry, a smile and nod of acknowledgement when we bump into each other is good enough as a form of greeting.

And if there’s anything you need, I hope you won’t feel awkward or shy to ask me for help. I promise I will still do my best to help you in whatever way I can.

In fact, should I happen to see that you need assistance, I’ll even take the initiative to offer you a helping hand.

Conversely, it would be great if you could do the same for me should I approach you for help. I assure you, though, I’ll make sure not to overstep any boundaries, nor set unrealistic expectations when requesting for your help.

But, even if we do not explicitly ask for help, I do hope that we will still have each other’s backs, especially with regard to our safety and security. Just taking that small step of looking out for each other in simple ways – like being on alert if you happen to see a suspicious-looking character, or helping to clear potential fire hazards from the corridor – can go a long way to making our neighbourhood a much safer one.

And really, that’s all there is to being a good neighbour, isn’t it? The key ingredients are simply kindness, patience and thoughtfulness – traits that I believe we can all choose to have.

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Image Source: Shutterstock / Dragon Images

Because what makes a neighbourhood an enjoyable place to live in doesn’t lie in the beauty of its façade, its convenience, or the amenities it boasts.

It’s about the people living there, the bonds that are built, and the friendships we form, that will make our neighbourhood truly special.

So, till the time our flats are ready – take care, and I’ll see you soon, my neighbour.