Building Community: Learning to Love Your Neighbor

Think about where you live. Whether it is in a house on a quiet street or an apartment in a bustling downtown, how many people do you know on your block or floor? If you are like most people, you don’t know your neighbors’ names, and you’ve never tried to get to know them. There is nothing wrong with that lifestyle, but you are missing out on community.

Understanding Community

Communities are something very different. The word itself means a feeling of fellowship, and that makes sense because communities are unified over a single goal – to create a home. While you may not always see eye to eye with your neighbors (for example, John takes forever to bring in his trash cans; Suzie plays her music too loudly), you can come together to create a place you all love.

If you are lucky, you might move to a place that has a strong community already. You’ll know you found one when you see neighbors talking and kids playing together, but communities are actually pretty rare. They take some work to build.

Building a Community

Creating a community starts with stepping outside your front door. While your neighborhood might have a homeowners association or something similar, at the end of the day, you still need to open your front door and talk to people. Start by spending more time outside of your front door. Sit on your porch or plant a few flower beds. Put yourself out there so you will have the opportunity to talk to your neighbors.

Give a Little

Even seemingly casual encounters like saying hello when you get the mail or waving when you are mowing the lawn can be a good foundation upon which to start your community, but go further. When you see your neighbor shoveling his walk, help out. When you see your neighbor carrying groceries in, offer to lend a hand. Small gestures can go a long way to establishing a community that cares.

Engage in Coworking

You can build a community at work too. Coworker communities, such as Mountains WorkspaceTahoe Mountain Lab, Tahoe Mill Collective and Lift provide workspaces for remote and freelance professionals. For a monthly or drop-in fee, you can go to a workstation or private office built for someone like you and have other professionals around to collaborate with. Coworker spaces are designed to foster a sense of community by offering private and communal areas.

Whether you want to build a community at home or at work, start by saying hello, then offer to lend a hand when you can. You will be part of a community before you know it.