Life is busy. We get that. But we think it’s important to make time to get to know your neighbours – especially if you’re an avid online shopper and often need a friendly face to take in your parcels from the postie! We understand that times have changed and our evolving digital culture means we don’t rely on face-to-face interaction as much as we used to, but feeling at ease in your environment and connected to those around you can do wonders for your mental health.

According to the government’s Community Life Survey 2019/20, 87% of people over 65 chat to their neighbours at least once a month, while this drops to 53% of those between 16-24. Interesting, but perhaps not surprising, that physical interaction seems to reduce in the younger generation.

Is the regular chinwag over the garden fence a generational affair? Will ‘community spirit’ become a thing of the past as we focus more on digital communication? We certainly hope not! Encouragingly, 63% of respondents felt ‘very strongly’ or ‘fairly strongly’ that they belonged to their immediate neighbourhood, which is a positive sign we feel happy where we live.

So how can we help initiate, build or maintain a bond with our neighbours?

Get things off on the right track: When a new neighbour moves in, curiosity can kick in, but a friendly hello and quick introduction will usually suffice; no-one wants an inquisition on moving in day! Similarly, they don’t want to hear your life story or political persuasion on your first meeting. Keep it short and sweet and leave it open if they want to connect with you in the future.

It's the little things: Simple gestures, like taking in a parcel or offering to fix a broken fence, can go a long way to building a good relationship with your neighbours. Being courteous like not blocking drives or playing loud music also helps!

Keep the rapport going: Once you’ve established a sociable connection, you could ask them over for a tea or coffee, or even host a cake and cuppa catch-up with a few of your neighbours.

Don’t try too hard: Some people are private and prefer their own company. Others are shy and not great at social interaction. Sometimes people are having a bad day and don’t fancy standing on their doorstep making small talk. Despite best intentions to create the Ramsay Street of Cardiff, sense the tone and understand that not everyone will want to have a street party every week. Speaking of which... did you celebrate the Jubilee?!
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