Is your neighbour a friend or a stranger?


Is your neighbour a friend or a stranger?

Have you ever done your neighbour a favour? Do you make time to chat to them over the garden wall? Or do you not even know their name?

It turns out, us Brits are a lot closer to our neighbours than might have been imagined.

Lending a hand

In particular, most of us can be counted on to help out those who live next door to us when they need a favour. A recent survey* conducted for us revealed that more than eight in ten respondents have done a favour for their neighbour in the last year. These ranged from accepting a delivery on their behalf to helping out with DIY, looking after their neighbour’s pets or even caring for their kids.

Many Brits also appear to enjoy a good chinwag with their neighbours. Three-quarters of respondents said they have spoken to their neighbour in the last week, while a third had spoken to them in the last 24 hours. Just one in 20 people polled said they had never spoken to the people next door.

Chatting over the garden wall

Where you live appears to have an influence on how well you know your neighbours. Respondents who own their homes were found to be the most likely to know their next-door neighbour’s name – nearly nine in 10 owners of terrace houses said they did. In contrast, just half of respondents who rent a converted flat said the same.

But while many people appear to have good neighbourly relations, the same cannot be said for their opinion of the rest of their community. In fact, two-fifths of those surveyed said there is no community spirit at all where they live.

Where everybody knows your name

While community spirit and neighbourliness may seem like quite quaint ideas, they could be more important than you think. If a neighbourhood has a sense of comradery about it, particularly if it regularly hosts functions – such as for events like a Royal wedding or the Olympics – or if the people there are quick to pull together in times of trouble, it may make it a more desirable place to live. And this could increase buyer demand and, with it, house prices.

But even if you’re not interested in buying or selling, getting on with your neighbours and the other people who live in your area might just make for a more pleasant life. You know there is someone keeping an eye on your home if you’re not there, and that any suspicious activity will be quickly noticed. You may also know that if you need help in an emergency, such as if your boiler packs up in the middle of winter or you lock yourself out, you don’t have to look far for a helping hand.

Maybe it’s time you introduced yourself to your neighbours?

*OnePoll questioned a nationally representative sample of 2,000 adults aged 18 and over between 24Th July and 31st July 2014, of whom 620 were Scottish residents.