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Love Thy Neighbor? I Think I'll Pass.

Updated on February 28, 2011

The bible says "Love thy neighbor as thyself". Normally I'm not one to argue with the bible, but on this topic I must disagree. For several reasons. First off, the last thing I want when I'm coming home from work is a fifteen minute (or longer) conversation with my neighbor before I can even get inside. Second, the last thing I want when I'm leaving my house and have somewhere to be is a conversation with anyone who isn't going with me. And I guarantee, my neighbor is not going with me. Third, you are the first person they're going to ask if they're out of something. It starts with a cup of sugar or an egg. Before you know it it's power tools, or your first born (hopefully just to babysit). Fourth, if you become friends with your neighbors, it's almost as if you agree to take on a portion of their baggage and drama simply because you have a fifteen minute (or longer) conversation a few times a week.

My wife learned this lesson the hard way. When we were in our early years she was the social butterfly. She knew all the neighbors, she would talk for what seemed like hours to me to various neighbors outside our house. This continued for several years, until she began to see that their drama somehow became our drama. If it wasn't the neighbor to the left fighting with her old man, seeking refuge in our apartment, it was the neighbor to the right wanting us to watch their children while they went to look for their cousin or some other sort of drama. She learned that the hassle does not equal the reward.

The secret is to be polite. Smile, wave, even have brief (I emphasise brief) conversations about the weather or the terrible job the trash men do. The key there is to KEEP WALKING. If you stop, your trapped, and who knows how long it will be before there's a lull in the conversation long enough to make your exit. My personal preference is a simple wave or a head nod from at least thirty feet.

Secret #2 Never mow your lawn at the same time. Even if this was the exact moment you had planned all week to mow your lawn, don't. It's going to end up in a conversation and no one wants that. Now your 30 minute lawn mowing duties got stretched to an hour or more and you missed the first quarter of the game because of it. Your better off just waiting for the game to end, then go out. I'm pretty sure you can't get a DUI in your own yard, right?

Secret #3 Resist the urge to out do your neighbor in anything. Don't try to out decorate at Christmas, don't be the guy who has to have his yard better then his neighbor. Fight all those compulsions, because I guarantee that if you do show up your neighbor on a consistent enough basis, it's only going to lead to longer and longer conversations. I mean you must have soooo much in common to both want to over decorate for Christmas, right?

 So, you can call me unChristian. You can call me a sinner. You can call me mean, or cruel, or intolerant of society. None of these would really surprise me. But remember one thing; When you're still dressed in your suit and your uncomfortable shoes and your back is aching and all you want in the world is to get away from your neighbor and kick back in your recliner. I've already been there for fifteen minutes (or longer)

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    • mcrawford76 profile image
      Author

      Matthew I Crawford 6 years ago from Greeley, Colorado

      Sure thing Bill, I'll just need your first born for collateral.

    • Billrrrr profile image

      Bill Russo 6 years ago from Cape Cod

      Howdy Mc. I'm your Hub neighbor. You won't mind if I borrow this Hub, will you?

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Are you kidding? This was a hoot - thanks for writing it - at least I know I'm not the only person who feels this way!

    • mcrawford76 profile image
      Author

      Matthew I Crawford 6 years ago from Greeley, Colorado

      Thank you, and thanks for reading.

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Oh my goodness you've hit the nail on the head! Our neighbors didn't speak to us for the first two years we lived here. They gossiped about us. They decided we must be in the witness protection program because we work from home:-). Now they won't shut up. We laugh and say we liked it better when no one talked to us! LOL!

    • Dee aka Nonna profile image

      Dee aka Nonna 6 years ago

      You have made a great point. It is rare to find a really good neighbor. I do remember growing up in a neighborhood that was a real community. People all knew each other but there was a great deal of respect for time and space. They all looked out for each other and the kids. My mother had flower gardens all over the yard-back and front-- and a small vegatable garden in the back. The neighbor on one side also had flowers and vegtables. They would talk with each other over the fence as they went about their work. I've had a couple good neighbors over the years, but nothing like that...I wish!

    • sam3m profile image

      sam3m 6 years ago from New York

      while i've got your attention, how do you keep your yard looking the way it does, you unchristian sinner you?