After the hustle and bustle of moving into your new apartment, you’ll probably find yourself wondering about the people living around you. Will they be good neighbors? Will you get along with them? The coronavirus pandemic only makes this question more complicated, since you and your neighbors are living in such close proximity. Of course, there’s no way to know exactly how things will play out until you’ve lived in your apartment community for a while. However, we have a few simple tricks to help you form healthy, happy neighborly relationships from the get-go.

1. Be sociable in whatever way you can, even if you just say “hello.”

You might not be a big talker, and that’s okay––a few words can go a long way when it comes to creating a warm community atmosphere in your apartment building. Acknowledging your neighbor in the hallway with a quick, socially distant, “Hi, how are you?” can be enough to keep things friendly. This type of casual communication is also helpful because knowing that you can talk to one another will be important if one of you needs a favor or if you have to combat an issue together within the apartment building.

2. If you have a problem, be clear and communicative.

One of the best markers of a good neighbor is dealing with problems in a direct fashion, soon after issues arise. Courtesy and clarity are the name of the game. For example, if your neighbor is being too loud, you might get the urge to bang on the wall which separates you. Instead, try knocking on their door and asking them to be a little quieter. If you’d rather not put your mask on and leave your unit, you can try giving them a phone call or shooting them a text. The extra effort might make them more willing to consider your request, and hopefully they will be more mindful in the future.

3. Be mindful of the laundry etiquette in your apartment building.

As you and your neighbors navigate the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, one thing to be aware of is the way that you use communal resources. Since we’re all dealing with heightened hygiene concerns, it’s a good idea to make sure that you’re taking your laundry out as soon as it’s done so that no one else has to touch it in order to use the machines. Making sure that you haven’t left anything behind is also worth double-checking, just so that your clothes don’t have to sit in any kind of communal lost and found.   

4. Introduce your pet, but don’t assume that your neighbor will want to interact with them.

When you move into a new building, you’ll probably want to let your neighbors know what kind of pet you have and what their name is. However, it’s just as important to avoid making assumptions about how often your neighbors will want to interact with your pet. You may love your furry friend, but not everyone will have the same level of comfort with them, especially given the pandemic. Don’t take it too hard if not everyone wants to pet your dog or cat-sit for you. Hopefully there will also be people who will want to hang out with your animal and show them as much love as you do. 

5. Bond over problems with the building, if you have them.

Despite all of the ways that you and your neighbors might be different, you all live in the same building, which means that you’re likely to have some of the same problems. An easy way to strike up a conversation is to ask if they’re having the same problem with their hot water or their toilet pipes. This can provide a small bonding moment, and maybe even a moment of laughter. If your neighbor does happen to share your problem, you can both back each other up if you decide to bring the issue to your landlord.

how to be a good neighbor

6. If you know the noise level in your apartment might be high due to a special event, make sure to warn your neighbors beforehand.

When you set the date for a dinner party or a dance-off in your apartment with your friends, letting your neighbors know is a good move. That way, they’ll be prepared in advance for the noise level to be a little higher on the night in question. This polite gesture will let them know that you care about their needs, and hopefully they will let you know when they are holding special events so that you can make your own plans to navigate the increased noise level if you need to. 

7. Understand that the small things add up.

The best thing to keep in mind is that being a good neighbor doesn’t necessarily have to mean grand gestures and constantly going out of your way to accommodate everyone. As we’ve tried to show, it’s the little things which really matter. With the coronavirus pandemic occurring around us, these gestures of goodwill can end up holding so much weight. Small courtesies and kind words can do wonders, in the same way that a lot of little annoyances can add up into substantial problems over time. The goal is to live together successfully, in ways which create healthy and happy homes for everyone in the apartment community. Be thoughtful, be empathetic, and the rest will follow naturally.  

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