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Old 11-25-2014, 03:42 PM   #1
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For those living in densely populated areas: Does anyone here live in one of those fairytale neighborhoods where everyone likes and looks after each other , everyone takes care of their property, block parties are regular occurences, bluebirds sing in the trees, etc. Do they really exist? Or are most like mine, where you have a nodding relationship with the "good" neighbors, put-up with the slobs, and draw the curtains at night? I'm curious what the norm is.

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Old 11-25-2014, 03:47 PM   #2
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We had a "little girl culdesac" when I first moved in. Two of my neighbors and I each had two girls, and another neighbor had one girl, all about the same ages (3 through 7). The kids really made it easy to interact with the parents, and we did have cookouts and stuff. But, alas, two families moved, and the remaining girls grew up and out of the house. Now there's only one original girl still living at home (she usually about runs me over with her car when she comes home from work).

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Old 11-25-2014, 04:14 PM   #3
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Short answer: Yes, such neighbors exist. Long answer:

I have great neighbors, but we don't hang out together. They're quiet, pleasant, keep their houses and yards looking nice, and more.

After Katrina, when scary looters were roaming the neighborhood, the guy across the street and over one sat in his carport with a shotgun on his lap during most of the days and evenings, standing guard on our part of the block. He's an old guy with a Purple Heart and quite a hero IMO. That was such a kind thing for him to do.

Around that same time when I started cleaning the storm debris from the yard across the street from me (which was for sale, and the owners had moved), other neighbors came out and joined me in that effort and one even used a leaf blower on the street after we got the street cleaned up.

The young Cajun girl next door looks after my house when I'm gone.

About half of my neighbors are the original owners of their 1970's houses, or else their parents were. These are mostly some Cajuns and their relatives who originally inhabited the neighborhood back then. I don't know if they knew each other before they moved in, but they sure do by now after 40+ years. We don't have organized block parties, but on some holidays or Saints' game days there are parties in the street after dark. In typical INTJ fashion, I don't attend but I could.

After Hurricane Isaac, when my front double doors blew open while I was evacuated to Alabama, one of my neighbors noticed and thought somebody had broken in. He called at least one other neighbor about it, and one of them went over to my house in the rain, checked everything out, and locked it up again to keep any more rain from blowing in. Then they called me on my cell phone in Alabama to tell me what had happened and APOLOGIZED for going into my house!!! Wow, I told them I was so grateful that they did.

Honestly I couldn't ask for better neighbors even though most of the time we just nod or wave to one another. We don't go over to each others' houses or bake one another apple pies like in television's Mayberry, and no bluebirds, but they are quiet and considerate for the most part and very, very good people. If I find my dream house and move, I'll miss my neighbors a lot.

I notice from your profile that you live in New England, and I live in the South. I wonder if that explains the difference in our neighbors.
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Old 11-25-2014, 04:44 PM   #4
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Yep. We live in a rural subdivision. Ok, not 'densely populated area' There are about 400 homes. We have a 'wind down' ie happy hour in someone's home every Friday. We play cards on Thursday, and Dominoes on Mon. Women have a 'Women's League' tha meets once a month, and we go out to eat with neighbors. I know everyone on our block.
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Old 11-25-2014, 04:50 PM   #5
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We have never been particularly friendly with our neighbors but generally get along well. Where we used to live DW pissed off one neighbor (he probably had a somewhat valid beef with her). In our new place, we get along fine with one neighbor and our other neighbor is a "neighbor from hell" whose obituary I eagerly await.

We have other neighbors here (not directly adjacent to us but a few doors away) who we socialize with regularly.
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Old 11-25-2014, 04:51 PM   #6
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No bluebirds or block parties here, but I do have awesome neighbors. I am currently keeping an eye on one neighbors house while they are gone on vacation. Another neighbor who has a landscaping company has helped me many times with my yard over the past 16 years that I have lived here just because he is nice.

About 12 years ago I had a drug house right next door which was quite unbearable. I was working evening shift at the time and the drunken party guests would watch me as I came home alone at midnight. Fortunately, they were forced to move on and the current residents have been great.

One of my goals now that I have quit working is to spend more time with my neighbors and perhaps start up the block watch that I wanted to do years ago.
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Old 11-25-2014, 04:55 PM   #7
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I live in a condo building. Most of the people are young to middle aged, and one guy is about my age. They are all pleasant, and I have gotten to know some of them well. We text, talk frequently, go out for drinks occasionally, cooperate on jobs etc.

I take care of my neighbors cat when he leaves town, he takes me someplace when I need car cargo capacity.

This is the densest residential district in the city

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Old 11-25-2014, 05:03 PM   #8
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"Or are most like mine, where you have a nodding relationship with the "good" neighbors, put-up with the slobs, and draw the curtains at night? I'm curious what the norm is."

Same as above except we have no slobs but had one crazy dude that 3 of his immediate neighbors had to get a restraining order. He did many crazy things which caused equally many police visits. One neighbor sued him. One was considering moving out. Two neighbors installed CC cameras to monitor their property. Eventually, his behavior landed him in county jail for a week, and was kicked out the house (he was living in his girlfriend's house).

One good thing which came out of it was that he united the neighbors against him. We all got to know our neighbors better. We developed a neighbor monitoring process - one neighbor will take Monday to watch out for his crazy behavior, another Tuesday, .... We had "call 911" agreement if he went beyond crazy. We developed a close relationship with local police, police chief, mayor, restraining order admin, ....
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Old 11-25-2014, 05:20 PM   #9
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We live in a burb of Chicago. House is in a cul de sac which has 7 houses (including ours). We are on a "manly say hello" friendly basis with 5 of the houses.

However, with our next door neighbors (been there for 20 yrs.), we struck gold. We get together often (just got back from a road trip to Naples, FL) with them, dine out often, they invite us over to there place to eat, watch the bears/blackhawks so often I get embarrassed and the hubby and I get out golfing when we can.

We keep an eye out for each others house and kids (even though their all young adults now).

We definitely hit the neighbor lottery!
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Old 11-25-2014, 05:23 PM   #10
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There are 16 homes on my cul-de-sac street (public golf course behind me and a protected green space across the street). My neighbors are all nice, quiet people of varying ages. One thing about this area is there are not a lot of transplants from other parts of the country. This means that most folks still have high school friends, parents, kids, siblings, cousins etc. for socialization. I know about half of the people on my street and have a nodding acquaintance with most of the rest. There is a late 30's couple on one side of me and a widowed lady about 15 years older on the other side that I went out to dinner with once years ago. They both have family in the area who visit often. When I first moved here one lady asked if I played bridge or mah-jongg (No). There might be several couples who socialize with each other (I am single). We had a block party once about a half a dozen years ago. So, the answer to the question is "No, I do not socialize with my neighbors". But I do get along with all of them.
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Old 11-25-2014, 05:34 PM   #11
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That is one of the great advantages of a small town. My home town is about 1500 people and for the most part everyone knows everyone else. When I would go for walks someone would stop about every other block to see if I needed a lift. I moved away from there about 3 years ago and didn't realize how much I would miss it. I still own my home there and have decided that I will return there in the spring. I have relatives here and it has been nice being close to them but this isn't home and I don't want to spend the rest of my life here. I will go back to making one or two trips here in the summer or fall.
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Old 11-25-2014, 07:17 PM   #12
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Rural area for us. Only four houses on our dirt road. The guy at the end is crazy, and pretty much of an @$$, but we just avoid him. The other ones are nice enough, and look out for our house and animals to some degree.

We all chose to live out here for privacy, though, so nobody really wants to be in each other's business.

We do have best friends who live about a mile away, and we see them several times a week.

When we lived at the beach, we had the 'hood you describe, with neighbors always in and out of everyone's houses and very close friendships. It was a time when we were young, in our 20s mostly, and all had a lot of spare time and inclination for socializing. I enjoyed it, but wouldn't trade where we are now to go back to it, even if we could.

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Old 11-25-2014, 07:30 PM   #13
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We have a bad neighbor on one side. In 20 years of living there he has painted his house two or three times but never the peeling tattered side facing our house (where their back door is, so they have to see it themselves every day). Really weird. It's the husband who has a giant chip on his shoulder. All other neighbors are really great but no one socializes with each other on a regular basis.
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Old 11-25-2014, 07:31 PM   #14
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I live out in the country, where the houses were built side by side on narrow (100 foot frontage) but very deep parallel lots. My group of houses built in the late 1970s consists of 8 houses in a row, then open hay fields, then a dairy farm, then a few more houses, and so on. This area was mainly agricultural (corn, hay, and dairy cows) until the 70s when small tracts of land were sold for development and the rest left intact. It's an interesting mix.

All neighbors on both sides have all changed since 1984 when my late husband and I moved into the house as newlyweds. I have full grown pine and cedar trees on both of my property boundaries, plus a wooden fence stretching from the sides of the house to the boundary line. Behind me is woods, across the street is a hayfield. My own little world.

I rarely see any of the current neighbors. But if there were ever an emergency, I would be the first one going door to door to make sure everyone is ok.

I truly love the privacy of not having to pal around with the neighbors.
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Old 11-25-2014, 07:35 PM   #15
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Tree-dweller - our neighbors are like yours. We live in a rural subdivision and rarely see our neighbors. So I don't know them very well. We used to have a family across the street that we knew and sometimes depended on to plow our drive when DW was home alone. Unfortunately, they moved.
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Old 11-25-2014, 07:40 PM   #16
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There are about 200 apartments in our building. Many of them serve as corporate housing, so the turnover rate is very high and I only know a handful of people. Management organizes BBQ picnics, movie nights, and cocktail socials throughout the year. We don't participate in those activities. But we help with community charity drives and sometimes join a small group for a Giants game (free tickets, courtesy of management).
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Old 11-25-2014, 07:48 PM   #17
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There are 16 houses on my street, and we know who lives in each one. Turnover is infrequent. While it is a little less social than 20 years ago, when we had big neighborhood parties every summer and the neighborhood tag sale in late Spring, there is still a fair amount of socialization. Most of the women on the street are in the Movie Mavens. They go out to the movies together about once a month, then have a pajama party for the Oscars. We men talk in the street while raking leaves and mowing the yard, watch out for each other's pets during vacations, help each other with snow removal, and generally have a very pleasant little community. Many of us belong to the same church, so we often see each other there as well.
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Old 11-25-2014, 08:47 PM   #18
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Our neighborhood looks out for each other and we all get along. However, as an introvert, they sometimes get a little too nosey for my taste. For example, we went out of town and new pet sitters came to feed the dog and let him in the back yard for awhile. I received 2 calls, one saying someone just went in our house and their description. The other call reported a stranger in our backyard. It's nice to know if someone broke in, they might be watching, but still... 😳 So now when we leave town, I email the appropriate neighbors!

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Old 11-25-2014, 08:52 PM   #19
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I did have two renters in a duplex that filed restraining orders in each other. In the courtroom hearing, they got into a fight and both wound up in jail...

Of course here, at my place, I have acres so I am insulated from my neighbors a bit. That's probably a choice made by them... But we do get along. I plow the elderly neighbor across the street for free, and speak with the others a few times a year.
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Old 11-25-2014, 08:53 PM   #20
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I'd love to live in a neighborhood with folks I could call friends. It just seems that everywhere I've lived folks just nod as they get the mail then go inside.

And there's always a Neighbor from Hell. Currently, I have a double-size lot behind me that is littered with inoperable cars and a couple of boats (nearest water is 50 miles away). At the last house, my across-the-street neighbor with the $500k house cleared the trees from his front yard so the kids could ride their ATVs endlessly in circles all day and into the night. Then there was the house where the guy next door sat in his driveway at 4 A.M. revving his Harley for at least 20 minutes.

My "favorite" was the "lady" who let her big dog bark all day and night so the guy next door eventually sued after pleading with her to keep it quiet. When the cop served her the summons she cussed him out and spit on the cop car. He noticed from her ID that her birthday was coming up and it was a good court date for him, so guess when she went to court? After she lost she decided to spite the neighborhood by boarding up her garage doors with unpainted plywood. After a couple of years the HA threatened to sue her so she took that eyesore down, but what she didn't know was it was a bluff since the HA didn't have two nickels to rub together and couldn't afford court costs anyway.

My current neighbors are OK I guess. I still have a guy nearby who revs his motorcycle and rides in circles in his front yard, but at least it's only during daylight hours for the most part. The retired guy next door obsesses over his yard (which is beautiful), but if I ever try to talk to him he looks at me quizzically and turns away without saying anything.

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