Is the person living next door a dependable friend you can leave your spare keys with or a disturbed individual who terrorizes you in the night? Remember, while you can choose your home or apartment, your state or your neighborhood, you can’t choose your neighbor. In the words of Gilbert K. Chesterton, “We make our friends; we make our enemies; but God makes our next-door neighbor.”
Rent.com surveyed 1,000 renters and homeowners about how friendships with neighbors and what influences them.
Pay to play
The importance of the neighbor in our lives was underscored by the fact that people are willing to pay for the right one.
So that’s renters: $225 extra, and homeowners: $125 extra a month, all to choose your neighbor.
Perhaps they should make a few adjustments to their living conditions if they’re looking for the perfect fit: the people who are happiest about their relationships with their neighbors are those with the lowest rent payments and those who live in rural areas.
Also, people who lived at their current residences longer tended to be happier with their neighbors.
Trust thy neighbor
Trust (or a healthy lack of) is essential in a next-door relationship.
Millennials, for example, tend to be suspicious: they were found to be the least likely to trust a neighbor with their pets or keeping a spare key to their house.
Here’s a list of neighborly tasks, followed by the percentages of people (rural, suburban, urban) who would trust their neighbor to do them.
It appears that those living in rural areas are the most trusting, followed closely by suburbanites, with urbanites lagging far behind.
How much did you pay for yours?
So now you’re actually talking to your neighbor. Do you talk about important things, like the cost of housing and rent? Or is that taboo?
It looks like it’s more common for homeowners to discuss housing costs than renters.
But interestingly, 43% of homeowners who felt it “inappropriate” to discuss home values with neighbors simply looked up the cost of their neighbors’ home online.
According to the survey, nearly 2 out of 3 suburbanites admitted to doing this, as well as people who were unhappy with their neighbors. As the saying goes, “People in glass houses…”
Friends with benefits
So how many people, in general, become friends with their neighbors?
Not nearly as many as you’d think – only 29%. And 38.6% said they weren’t friends with any of their neighbors at all. In general, Baby Boomers met (and made friends with) more of their neighbors. For Millennials, they needed an assist to make friends with the Joneses – for them, it was owning a home.
And in general, the boost to making friends next door was the thing that helps one make friends everywhere: having kids or a dog. Because who wouldn’t want to talk to you when you’re with one of them?