Neighbourhoods aren’t what they used to be 135



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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.

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.

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. Sad but true – all it takes is a simple smile and a hello but it also takes two for a friendship.
    We are blessed to have great neighbours next door and down the road.
    When we first moved here we invited people over in our street for an afternoon drink and snacks just to introduce ourselves.
    The ones that even had the courtesy to reply to our invitation we still see today the others we have lived here over four years now and wouldn’t know them if we passed them in the street.
    So for some they couldn’t be bothered and others have become our friends.
    Unfortunately it is what it is!!!!!

  2. I am lucky I grew up a few streets away from where I live and I have known many around me from childhood, but the older ones are dying off now or moving into nursing homes and I have no idea who the new people are.

  3. I live in a Retirement Village and I try and make sure everybody that wants friendship and help, gets it without appearing too bossy!

  4. Where we used to live we knew and spoke to almost all the neighbours. We moved almost 10 years ago and knew most of the neighbours… As ppl move on, new one move in and now most neighbours keep to themselves… Bit sad really that there is or even a hello or wave returned…

  5. I live in a group of houses where each of us looks out for the other.We all know each other by name..but are not in each others pockets.

    2 REPLY
    • I don’t have anything to do with my neighbours either side of me… I speak to the ppl over the road just a wave and a nice day gave them plums from my tree as I had a lot and bayleaves.. other than that nooo way

    • I have never been into going into next door for a cuppa.. when I lived in Geelong the lady next door was really nice but other than that… I keep to myself… except one night when next doors garage caught fire I bought the maltese lady inside my house told her family where she was .. until fire was put out they came and got her..

  6. Oh how sad we have always had good neighbours still friends with the ones I new 37 years ago and 20 years ago

  7. I live in one of 3 villas one neighbour I see all the time and help help her when needed. The other one still works so I don’t see her as much ,but she is a good neighbour.

  8. I am so lucky too as when I helped a friend move into her house she mentioned the block next door was for sale, we went to look at it and I bought it. I had been looking for ages for a small property. So I moved in to live right next door to one of my closest friends, but, I have met so many of the people around here, dog walking the neighbours over the road, so considering We all live hidden away in the rainforest on 1 1/4 blocks, I have great friends around my neighbourhood!

    1 REPLY
    • We too live on larger blocks in a rural estate and my next door neighbour came over the day after we moved in…We don’t live in each other homes and we don’t see a lot of each other but we do know that the other is there if needed….The entire community is really very friendly, everyone waves or says hello – so much friendlier than the suburbs where people tend to be so much busier..

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