A neighbourhood can be made on a wave and a smile

My partner and I built our house about 6 years ago, and I would have to admit that we were part of the neighbourhood club who doesn’t wave to our neighbours and solely rely on the boundary fence to keep us from even seeing each other.

Now, I know this sounds terrible, but this is how we were for a long time, and once we finally realised that we were the problem due to pure laziness we finally invited the neighbours around (nearly 4 years later – yes I know, terrible) for a drink on our patio, and we have been friends ever since, sharing ideas, laughs and most importantly just watching out for each other.

 While we live in a society that actually encourages people to live in close proximity to each other, in unit complexes, townhouses, duplexes or houses, we are not setting aside the time to get to know those who actually live right next to us. My nan and I were talking about this topic during our weekly phone call and I asked her if she knew her neighbours when they lived on the cane farm (in the middle of no where), and she proudly listed all the surrounding farm owners by name, their kids and also most of the population of the small town she lived near. This impressed me, mostly due to the fact that she hasn’t lived on the farm since 2001, but also because she told me that she still in fact keeps in touch with most of the people she listed.

Now, I am only realising that we as a society have become too busy to acknowledge those around us and this is largely due to our increasingly busy work, family and social commitments that we ourselves hide behind so that we don’t have to get to know those who live the closest to us.

I know that I sound a little harsh, but just reflect on the last time you actually waved, smiled or talked to your neighbour. Do you know their name? Do you know if they have a partner? Would you be able to pick them out of a crowd?

Truthfully, I would have answered no to all of these questions, but since I have started to break down my own boundaries – with the help of Facebook, I have met some of the best people who actually live in walking distance of me and we actually acknowledge each other through the great divide we call a fence.

My advice to those reading this is to just start small, whether it be a smile or a wave and get to know those around you – if it ends up being as rewarding and successful as it has been for me, then that is fantastic, and if not, at least you know that you gave it a go and tried something different!

Nicole has lived in Townsville for 8 years and married her husband last year.  Currently on maternity leave from her high school teaching position, Nicole is enjoying the new challenges of becoming a mum after welcoming a beautiful baby girl in September 2015.

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