Wednesday, May 21, 2008

How to Be Nice to Your Neighbors

  • Make a list of local shops, restaurants, hair salons, and other services for new neighbors. When her friends Anna and Matt Dowling moved to her city of Portland, Oregon, Erica Heintz put together a binder of information, including MapQuest driving directions to various locations from their new address. “It was the perfect housewarming gift,” says Anna. “For the first few months, we kept that binder with us in the car at all times.” If the neighbors have kids, draw a street map and highlight the homes of families with children around the same age.
  • Take a dozen fresh-baked cookies to your local fire or police station. Bring the kids along to say thank you for their constant service.
  • When someone leaves a pie plate or a casserole dish at your house, return it with something tasty inside.
  • When a guest brings a bottle of wine to a party you’re throwing, jot her name on the label. Down the road, when you finally pop the cork, dial up your friend to let her know you’re having a drink in her honor.
  • Shovel the snow from your neighbor’s driveway after you’ve tackled your own.
  • Send a note to a former teacher, telling her how much she inspired you. (If she’s no longer at the same school, the office may be able to tell you where she is now.)
  • Invite someone who has moved here from another country to share your holiday feast. Pinky Vincent, who came to New York City from India three years ago, still remembers how lonely she was at first. “I had no family members here or family friends,” she recalls. “But people I met invited me over for Christmas or Thanksgiving and made me a part of the family.”

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