Cohabitation: For a good neighborhood

Berlin
In the rarest of cases, you can choose your neighbors – they are simply there, living in the same house or on the neighboring property. Having a good contact with them is definitely an advantage: “A good relationship with your neighbors has in many ways a positive effect on the quality of life,” says Christian Vollmann, founder of the neighbor portal “nebenan.de”.

A good relationship with the neighbors strengthens identification with the place of residence and creates a sense of belonging, Vollmann explains. It reduces loneliness, provides security and enables synergies, for example when neighbors support each other – be it with small jobs, or when you go on holiday.

Get to know better

Many see it as a big step to invite their neighbors home to them, explains psychologist Julia Scharnhorst. Visiting the neighbors unleashes a certain unrest among many people. How do they find my apartment? Can I keep up with their facilities? This comparison is a natural reflex.

A simple greeting upon moving in is more accessible than an invitation. The flying visit, where the newcomers introduce themselves, has become a tradition through generations, Scharnhorst explains. The first time you sniff, you already get a rough picture of the other person, which you can build on if need be. A short visit to move in is also the best basis for a successful neighborhood for Vollmann. “The hook is there and you come without wanting anything.”

Small movements help

Another tip from the psychologist for a good start: Ask the neighbors for help and borrow a ladder from them. Again, there is no reason for restraint. On the contrary: Anyone who asks for help appears sympathetic. In addition, the other can be helpful, which makes most people feel good, Scharnhorst explains.

But the newcomers should not overdo it when they move in. “Here is a sense of proportion. Nothing speaks against small gifts like a bouquet of flowers,” says communications consultant Eva Boos from Berlin. However, small gifts can not be recommended if there are strategic goals behind. “According to the motto: I have always given you small gifts, now it’s time for you to take care of my pet, “says Boos.

A good relationship

As a starting point, joint actions that go beyond the small talk in the hallway can satisfy the desire for social exchange and community. However, joint activities are not mandatory. “You don’t have to develop close friendships with your neighbors,” Vollmann explains. For him, a good neighborhood means that people do not pass each other, take time for casual meetings and show a basic interest in the other. And should a dispute arise, “show your willingness to take a step towards your neighbor and also admit your own mistakes,” Boos advises. Against this background, an open discussion may arise again.

Feels good: chatting over the garden fence PHOTO: Schwäbisch Hall

Cozy: help with shopping dpa-PICTURE: Christin Klose

Feels good: chatting over the garden fence PHOTO: Schwäbisch Hall

Cozy: help with shopping PHOTO: Christin Klose

A feeling A good neighborhood can convey security in one’s own living environment. This was the opinion of almost all respondents in a neighborhood survey conducted by the construction company Schwäbisch Hall. Nearly two-thirds consider peaceful coexistence to be very or extremely important. Mutual greetings (81 percent) and short, spontaneous conversations (58 percent) can also contribute to this.

Popular According to the survey, neighborhood services are: receiving packages and mail (66 percent), lending items such as tools or groceries (47 percent) and looking after the neighbor’s apartment when you are away on vacation. 56 percent of the respondents also state that being a good neighbor includes helping the elderly with, for example, snow removal, hedge trimming, shopping or the like.

Disturb A good neighborhood most likely causes noise – for example through loud music or through lawn mowers, leaf blowers, chainsaws or drills. Taking rest periods into account is important for 67 per cent.

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