Good Neighbours – May We Know Them And May We Be Them

Good Neighbours – May We Know Them And May We Be Them

The Covid-19 pandemic has made flat residents come face to face with a few things. We’ve had to sit in our homes longer than we’d ever dreamt, and that has made us realise a couple of things. What kind of colleagues our partners, siblings and friends are, how disciplined we are, and of course, what kind of neighbours we have. Think about it; how many dance fitness sounds do you recognise now? What about the occasional (read: frequent) weekend squabbles in the corridors? And while communal living may be convenient to a lot of people in an effort to cut costs, there have been some challenges regarding how to be more neighbourly during these trying times. Worry not; we’ve asked a few Johannesburg flat residents what makes an ideal neighbour and compiled a few tips on becoming a better neighbour yourself. After all, it starts with you. 

Don’t Be Mum About Noise

One of the best qualities of a good neighbour is being considerate when it comes to noise. We all know how uncomfortable it is to have to go to your neighbour’s flat and ask them to lower the noise because you are trying to study or read, or just mainly find it to be disruptive. A good neighbour announces to their neighbours that they will be having a bit of a gathering and that noise of some level should be expected.

“I like a neighbour that lets me know when they are having guests over or throwing a party. Just so I know what to expect and how to manage it”, says Hlengiwe Hadebe, a resident in one of Johannesburg’s flats who works as a brand strategist from the comfort of her home. “I find that it shows they care about being good neighbours, and I myself practice this to ensure that my neighbours don’t find me inconsiderate and selfish”, she adds. Clearly, noise is something you need to warn your neighbours about if you want to be good to them. You need to remember that you do not live alone in this building and there are other people to think about. 

We Have To Have Each Other’s Backs

Flats generally rely on security guards contracted to guard the building; however, showing consideration, compassion and being helpful to your neighbours can make them feel safe around the building too, and vice versa. Knowing that you are all creating an environment based on helping one another out is another beautiful way to approach communal living. Kelebogile Phalatsi, a creative living in Johannesburg, remembers a time when their neighbourhood was a target for car theft, and because she didn’t have a car, she’d offer her garage to any of the neighbours needing to use it - whether for themselves or visitors. “We just told everyone to use it whenever they needed it, and for as long as they needed to. That inspired everyone to also offer parking spaces to ensure safety at night”, says Kelebogile. Don’t forget to also try to show up to all meetings regarding the building and offer advice and assistance when you can. 

Boundaries: The Way to Our Neighbours’ Hearts

Boundaries are a thin line between being a considerate neighbour or a nosy one. Though it is important to be the kind of neighbour who helps their neighbours carry things or takes the block’s garbage out, you should be respectful of people’s personal spaces. Lukho Xaba, a Johannesburg-South-based Art Director, notes a unique hack his neighbour once introduced him to. “I once had this neighbour. She wanted ice cubes for her drinks, and I was working with the music on, so she put a note under my door with her unit number asking me”, he says. Something you should consider if you haven’t already. It’s important to know the boundaries you shouldn’t cross with your neighbours to ensure you all live better together. 

Be The Neighbour You Wish To See In The World

It’s important to take your building’s rules, regulations and guidelines seriously and follow them in order to make living with others a breeze, especially in a busy city like Johannesburg. Good neighbour etiquette does not go away when you move buildings. Always remember to carry good manners with you no matter where you live. You may inspire other people to join in creating a world with better neighbours. The Johannesburg Housing Company offers property to rent in Johannesburg and believes we can all help one another live better, one neighbourly act at a time, especially during these trying times. Find affordable apartments in Johannesburg with us. It’s our neighbourly act to you.