Loving thy Neighbour in these Times……

When I first moved to my area nine years ago, I vowed to keep to myself and avoid talking to too much to people around the neighborhood. I had grown up in a co-op community that was close knit and with that came a lot of nosy neighbours who were so close that you couldn’t escape them. Even going to your back yard to sit and talk wasn’t comfortable because usually somebody was  listening or eavesdropping on your conversation. Although there were many annoyances that come along with living in a co-op town house, I enjoyed the comradery, growing up and playing with the same friends for years, the parties, sleep overs……There were many benefits to growing up in a close knit community that I appreciate and I have many great memories that are dear to my heart.

Setting boundaries in the area you live is very crucial because people sometimes expect you to be available to them just because you live a few doors down. You should set them from the start, so you can protect your own space and privacy. Once you allow a person to step over that “line” that boundary you put up, it’s hard to draw that line again. It’s disappointing that kindness is viewed as weakness, and an act of charity to a fellow neighbour, may backfire. I have a friend in my apartment building who is one of the kindest, giving people I’ve ever encountered in my life. She opens up her home to others and looks out for other peoples children although she has a handful of children of her own and is a single mother. She would pick up another tenant in the buildings children from school everyday along with her own. She did not ask for anything in return, she cares that the children get home safe and sound. There was a change in her life circumstance and she was no longer able to do the favour any more. She told the tenant that, but the response she received was very negative and unexpected. The tenant become very angry and questioned the reason why my friend was unable to help her. She even took it as far as to go on facebook and slander her. This situation ended up escalating into a court battle. It became a very ugly war, and my friend was the one who ended up paying the price. All for helping a fellow neighbour…..

I’ve had my share of drama that has surrounded me due to quarrelling loud, unruly neighbours. I had to be on my best behaviour with a neighbour that lived right beside me who recently moved due to too many complaints and altercations with tenants. She and I never exchanged words, except a simple “Hello.” After she moved in beside me I heard nothing but noise and fighting from her and her husband that would sometimes end up in the hallway. I was going to speak to her about the noise issue at first, but I  felt that maybe it was a one time thing, and it would embarrass her if I knocked on her door and brought it up. She was young, and couples fight sometimes, but unfortunately it continued day and night, everyday. The noise was  unbearable. Cursing, derogatory terms, breaking glass and pounding sounds in the hallway as well, became a daily occurrence. The police would show up once, even TWICE  a day because she would call them, or a neighbour did….Honestly,  I was relieved that I did not initially speak to her about the issue, my addressing the issue may have created more problems………

We are living in a time of fear, and a person will call the police over hearing music being played too loud down the hall, before they simply knock on their neighbour’s door and ask them to turn down the music. The fear of what the neighbour may say or do, is bigger than the actual problem. When I first moved in to my apartment, I was playing my mini-stereo and I didn’t realize how loud it was. I was surprised to get a knock on the door from a police man who kindly explained there was a noise complaint. I asked him who it came from, but he said someone down the hall. I politely apologized, and it was over. I was disappointed that I didn’t receive a simple knock on my door from a neighbour, instead of a police visit, but I assumed that whoever it was may have been afraid to knock on the door…..

These stories are  examples of the difficult part of dealing with people who live around you, but in these times the  easiest way to show love to your neighbour, is treating them as you’d like to be treated.

Love&Respect,

~Dawn Lovely

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