Why don't we trust our neighbors?

"It's a good thing we made friends with our neighbor! Look at the size of this thing!"

I’ve noticed that we Americans seem to take for granted that everyone is trying to kill us.

Perhaps this is nothing new, but it shows in our conversations, or lack thereof, with our neighbors. How much do people, especially those living in the city, know their neighbors? Not especially well I think.

Maybe it’s because we don’t need to, being loosed from the constrains of proximity thanks to the internet. But I think it’s more than that. It comes down to the fact that we simply don’t trust people.

We look at strangers as potential thieves and murders and not as potential new friends. As if their sole purpose in life is get chummy with us in order to take our $35 DVD player or study our habits so that they can better off us when we’re sleeping.

Now I know that there are other reasons for not making friends with neighbors; renters don’t want to make friends they might have to lose if they move, perhaps you have a full social calendar (Who needs more friends, Facebook has given me plenty!), or you might be utterly disagreeable to everyone you meet, in which case none of this really applies to you.

But for those who are generally well liked, what’s your excuse for not getting to know all your neighbors? Why hide yourself away in a perpetual fog of fear and uncertainty? Are your neighbors really going to kill you? (If your answer is “Yes!” to the last question, my advice is to move. I’m fairly certain there exists a community close by that has diminished degree of murderous intent)

If your excuse for not knowing your neighbors starts with “But…” or “Well…”, I would say throw the excuses in the trash. And while you’re outside, get to know your neighbors. You never know, you might get a good DVD player out of it.

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