In our first days as we unpacked, cleaned and painted, the established neighbors brought cookies and coffee explained some neighborhood "ways": how the plowing was done in the winter and the general approach to maintenance of our common private way. It was a lovely welcome.
We settled in quickly, but that's not to say there weren't occasionally misunderstandings and oversteps all around as we all came to know each other better. There were. We are all individuals, after all, and all have our quirks and preferences and differing parenting styles. Things happen. As friendly and welcoming as the neighbors were, their bonds ran deeper and they knew each other better because they had been neighbors longer. We couldn't expect to attain that same level in the first two weeks, or the first two months, and perhaps not even in the first two years.
In the bigger the neighborhoods, there were more opportunities for buffers in the form of personalities and boundary lines – but also sometimes bigger political issues, especially if there is a homeowners association is involved. And gossip. Don't forget the gossip.
No matter the size of your block or building or cul de sac, respect is essential. Respect with honesty and compassion and an open mind is even better. You are all in it together, literally. You may not live in the same house, but you are living together. When missteps do happen, being quick to say sorry and work it out is absolutely necessary for neighborhood harmony.
Regardless of how frequently or infrequently neighborhood changes happen, keep those welcome cookies baking.
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