What are the qualities of a good neighbor (4)? Каковы черты характера хорошего соседа?

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When I think about my childhood years, I my first friends come to my mind, those who were the first people besides my family I got to know, who became my friends and grew up with me. Most of them were classmates, relatives and of course, neighbors. Neighbors are those people who share the street, block and fences with us. Their existence has always been taken for granted, and they have not been given the importance or attention that they deserve.

For some people, neighbors can mean "troublesome" or "annoyance." For others, neighbors are considered as relatives, and they enjoy having a good and close relationship with their neighbors. Of course, the opinions depend on personality of individuals, culture, type of housing (house or apartment), place (a big city, a small town, or the country) among others. But both points of view may come to an agreement when determining "what makes a good neighbor?"

In the first place, a good neighbor should be considerate. Knowing that you should treat others the way you expect to be treated is a quality that makes people respect boundaries (physical, social and emotional). For instance, a neighbor who can tell when the noise of his stereo makes may bother the people next door, and is able to turn it down taking into consideration of his neighbors" needs.

In the second place, being sympathetic is another characteristic that a neighbor should have. Putting yourself in someone else"s shoes makes you understand better the feelings of somebody who is in trouble, and consequently, offer appropriate help. An example could be a situation where you know that your neighbor divorced recently and is going through a hard time. Maybe you will be more understanding when you see her in a bad mood, and avoid an unnecessary conflict, because you can see the way she feels.

Finally, good manners and a polite way to address your neighbors can polish even the toughest relationship. When a neighbor is rude, even if we excuse him or her by saying, "that is the way he/she is", we feel a little rejected. A nice smile or a "Hello" helps a lot to start a friendly conversation, and to avoid misunderstandings such as "He never speaks to me, so he must be mad at me or something." Manners do help to start friendships.

There are so many more characteristics that we could list, and there are many ways we could make a more accurate picture of the perfect neighbor we all want to have. But I guess the best way to "edify" our neighbors is by being good neighbors ourselves. We cannot demand others to do something for us that we cannot offer to do for them. We should stop complaining about what our neighbor always does that bothers us; we"d better start analyzing what we are doing to make the relationships with "the people next door" flourish. Let us start setting the example.

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