Neighbourhoods aren't what they used to be

When I was younger, my mum used to pop next door to borrow some sugar or milk from our neighbours. They were some of our closest family friends and were like second parents to me. Everyone in our street knew each other and felt comfortable asking for help or having a chat over the fence – or even sharing gossip.

Fast forward many years since then and I’ve had my fair share of diverse neighbours but many of them I had no interaction with whatsoever. It seems that recent studies have echoed my sentiments – more than half of us have never connected with our neighbours.

This seems like a sad trend, especially because neighbours used to be so integral to our lives 10-20 years ago. Perhaps social media is to blame, or the busyness of our lives, but I can’t help but wonder why we have stopped taking the time to speak to those who live in close proximity to us. How many of us rush inside from the car without even so much as a wave?

Neighbours used to be our friends and could be counted as some of the people we told the most to. We could feel safe knowing our neighbours but do we nowadays? According to the survey by Nabo, 1 in 4 Australian don’t expect that their neighbours would call the police or make sure they were alright if they heard a break-and-enter…a sad fact.

There are many benefits to knowing your neighbours, and I’m not just talking about how much they can offer you. You could be making someone’s day by saying hello – particularly as more and more people are becoming isolated. You could also rehome a lost pet or offer to help someone nearby, just by finding out the name and number of the people next door.

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With all of this said, the findings surprisingly revealed that we do want to know more of our neighbours, with 65 per cent hoping to connect with them, but not knowing how to start the conversation.

Websites such as Nabo have been helping more Australians become connected, but it could also be as easy as knocking on the door and introducing yourself. Who knows? You could make some life-long friends you can trust.

Nabo lets you connect with people in your neighbourhood and to share news, and any resident can create their own community group to find like-minded people who live close by. A system like this seems to be the first step in making those connections we once treasured so much.

Do you know your neighbours? How did you first get talking? Or if not, why not? What is stopping you? Tell us below.