I can hardly wait until Saturday to celebrate National Good Neighbor Day. In my community we’re having a celebration so I am getting an opportunity to meet my neighbors and make new friends.

I moved last year and was traveling during the 2018 event but this year I made plans to be around because I have seen some of my neighbors but I don’t know anybody’s name. This unknown-neighbor thing is foreign because everywhere else I’ve lived—the research says most of us will move 13 times and I have surpassed that—I made it my business to meet my neighbors so I’d at least know them when I ran into them in the grocery store.

This time’s been different. I work one place, I live someplace else so I rarely see anybody at the mailbox or working in the yard. I introduced myself to my closest neighbors but if there’s a “what’s your neighbor’s name” quiz, give me a zero.

Unfortunately we have come to a place in our society where we haven’t taken the time or made the effort to get to know the people in our neighborhood. We’ve kind of gone our separate way and sometimes we wave and speak and sometimes we don’t.

When I was growing up, we knew all our neighbors because we spent time with them. We shared vegetables, we cared for each other, we babysat, we loaned tools and sugar, and we had a lasting bond. I had two or three extra sets of parents because our neighbors looked out for us. These days we not only don’t know our neighbors, we don’t know anything about them.

I don’t even know where to put the blame. All I know is that we’re missing something really beautiful and special by not having these relationships and interactions—so, Saturday, look out neighbors because here I come!

I intend to dress comfortably, bring my phone so I can take pictures, wear walking shoes, and bring a pad to take notes. I’m sure I’ll see the few folks I run into during my morning walks but since I don’t know their names or where they live, I’m planning to change that–in honor of all the wonderful neighbors I’ve had over the years.

Here are some neighborly tips for you:

Understand the difference in being nosy and being friendly. Yep, there’s a thin line between being all in someone’s business and being genuinely interested. When meeting newcomers ask general questions and don’t drill folks when they give you vague or evasive replies. Everyone won’t be as outgoing and friendly as you are, so be patient.

When you see new folks moving in, offer refreshments that might ease anxiety during this stressful time. No, you don’t have to bake a pie or cookies but you can become pretty popular if you do. With allergies being what they are, you should probably stick with general things. Roger and I loved bringing our new pastors bread and salt to bless their homes. It was a kind but thoughtful gesture we always enjoyed sharing and the families seemed pleased to receive.

To have a great neighbor, be a great neighbor. I don’t have to describe what good neighbors looks like—they’re helpful but not intrusive, interested but not in the way. They pay attention to protect and respect and they always go the extra mile without complaining and whining. This week if you have wonderful neighbors, take a moment and tell them so. Share how they bless you and wish me luck Saturday.

Also share with me about your wonderful neighbors at #drbondhopson on Twitter and Facebook.

Looking for inspiration, empowerment, uplift, straight talk, an encouraging word to brighten your day? You’ve arrived! Meet Dr. Cynthia Ann Bond Hopson, best-selling author, educator, inspirational speaker, sistergirl–she’s all that and more. All the way from Stanton, TN (you can’t get there from here) to 50 states, six continents and everything in between, she’s wise, witty and altogether wonderful. She enthusiastically invites you to slow down, sit a spell, and share a giggle or two.

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