Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Won’t you be my neighbor? Does anyone know who is most often associated with that catchphrase? Yes, it was Mr. Rogers. He was the cardigan-loving, sneaker-wearing guy we all wanted to be our neighbor. He was friendly, funny and a neighborly icon to millions. We may all know Mr. Rogers, the fictional neighbor from TV, but how many of us can say we actually know our own neighbors? Is it strange that in the age of smartphones and social media which are supposed to bring the world closer together, we relate more with strangers on TV or “friends” on Facebook more than we do with the people who live next door? This is especially troubling in a place like Kauai where we pride ourselves on having genuine “Aloha Spirit.”

I have to admit, when I lived in a large condo complex in Honolulu, I didn’t know a single neighbor. I would say, “Hi” to them if I passed them in the hall, but I never took the time to get to know them, not even what their names were. I knew them as “That couple down the hall,” “The guy who plays loud music” or “The lady who spits on the floor.” Sometimes if I heard them leaving their apartment, I would wait until the elevator doors shut before I left mine so I could avoid that awkward small talk you are forced to make in an elevator. Are you guilty of doing the same?

Why is that? We post to the world about what we ate for dinner, when we’re feeling sick and sometimes information that we all did not need to know about you, yet we don’t associate with the people next door. Sure we would expect them to call the cops if they see some suspicious activity near our house or call 911 if a fire broke out at our home, but just don’t make me talk to them if there is no emergency.

An inviting and friendly neighborhood not only provides social benefits for the community, but economical one as well. There may be no statistics to prove this theory, but you can’t ignore the evidence. A happy and cohesive environment is more desirable to live in and raises the standard of living which can lead to increases in property value. Your real estate investment can benefit if you are willing to reach out to those around you and strengthen your relationships within the community.

I challenge you to talk to your neighbors, to get to know them apart from just knowing their names. You should even apply this to your workplace. Walk around to the other departments and chat up some coworkers or stop by other businesses near your office and introduce yourself. Engage in conversation with them and you may discover you may have more in common than you know. I am trying to apply this to my life, and I am glad that I did, because I feel more connected with those in the area.

Let’s stop being just “neighbors” and become neighborly with one another. Make those connections. Start those interactions. Let’s be more than just “the person next door.” If you want some motivation, think to yourself, “What would Mr. Rogers do?” Maybe you don’t need to break out into a song or dance, but start off with an introduction. You could be on your way to adding a true friend to your Facebook account and into your life.

Erin Koshi (RA) is a Kauai real estate agent at Taba Realty & Development, LLC in Koloa. The company specializes in Kauai real estate, whether residential and commercial sales, residential and commercial property management, development services or consulting. Please feel free to comment on this post. You may contact Erin at erin@tabarealty.com.

Comments are closed.