Whatever happened to being neighbourly? - GulfToday

Whatever happened to being neighbourly?

Birjees Hussain

She has more than 10 years of experience in writing articles on a range of topics including health, beauty, lifestyle, finance, management and Quality Management.

She has more than 10 years of experience in writing articles on a range of topics including health, beauty, lifestyle, finance, management and Quality Management.


The photo has been used for illustrative purpose.

I remember phrases like ‘love thy neighbour’, ‘being neighbourly’ and ‘neighbourhood watch’. It all implies that we are meant to be helpful to each and everyone in our street. In normal neighbourly relationships, new neighbours are welcomed into the street, especially by the family next door, usually with a welcoming cake or an invitation to a cup of tea. I don’t know about you but when I was younger, you could always pop round to your next door neighbour for a cup of sugar. Even recently I’ve borrowed onions from a neighbour and that was right in the middle of a cooking session.

But not all neighbours are neighbourly. Some neighbours really want you to move out and some make you want to move out. A lot of people are blaming what’s been going on between neighbours on the lockdowns we’ve had over the past 18 months but, to be honest, it’s been going on for as long as people have been neighbours.

Neighbours can not only be very nice and helpful to one another but they can be rather vindictive too. They can complain to the police about the noise you might be making, write sarcastic messages addressed specifically to you in prominent places or they can simply be getting at their spouse, or soon to be ex-spouse.  

Somethings they do might seem amusing or even petty to an onlooker but to those involved it can be downright offensive and annoying.

One of the biggest points of contention in some of Britain’s small residential streets is over parking. Every house has an allotted space right in front of the house but if you park even an inch in front of your neighbour’s house, you can be sure that he’ll storm out to your door and demand that you move your car, failing which a huge argument is bound to ensue. Another involves the back gardens.  If the roots of your tree appear to be causing havoc to them next door, they will demand you cut it down, even though it might not be causing any issues at all.  But you’ll never know.

One thing that’s become quite common since everyone can no longer do without it, is the internet and cable, the latter being actually around a lot longer than your Wi-Fi. But if a neighbour is really sneaky and naughty, and knows how to, he will most definitely try to steal your cable and even try to hack in to your Wi-Fi. If you’re finding that your internet is slower than usual, even though it’s a state-of-the-art installation, then maybe, just maybe, someone’s hacked into it and slowed down the traffic with huge downloads or even streaming? Even though you put a password on a family Wi-Fi, I suppose that does not prevent someone from trying to guess it.  That is why people jump through hoops and rack their brains to think of a password that is almost impregnable. Of course that is never a guarantee so to get at the usual suspects, some people’s passwords are often in the form of a message to the regular hacker. Something to the effect of ‘I know you’re stealing my Wi-Fi so shame on you, stop it” etc.

But sometimes the message is clear as day. One set of neighbours were at such loggerheads that when it snowed, the neighbour only cleared the snow on his side of the house. But other neighbours can be rather disgusting. Ever heard of fly tipping? Well, it’s when someone purposely throws their household rubbish in the wrong place. If there’s neighbourly tension then that rubbish could end up either on your doorstep or over your back garden.

If your neighbour is prone to having parties that go on late into the night and if you’re particularly irritated at not being able to sleep because of the music, you might call the police after a friendly discussion makes the noise louder.  

But some things are very difficult to take care of even though they may be damaging your lawn or getting right up your nose.  If you are not used to strong smelling food and your neighbour’s staple diet is just such food, you may be in a bit of trouble if the smell spreads across your entire house, even when your windows are closed.  Anything short of moving, you just have to bear it. Another is stray pets digging up your lawn. You can’t tell your neighbour to get rid of his pet anymore than you can tell him to change his food.

Whatever happened to being just plain neighbourly?

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