This one exercise can have a big difference in getting to know your neighbours.
To begin, imagine that the middle box in the chart is your house and the other boxes are the eight houses situated nearest to you – the eight households that are closest to where you live.
Now, you might live in a community that doesn’t look like a tic-tac-toe board. That’s okay. Whether you live on a greenbelt, a cul-de-sac, a rural lot with five-acre parcels, or in a corner apartment, try to picture the locations of your eight nearest neighbors – the eight who live closest to you – however they might be situated. Then in the middle of the chart, simply write your home address. In the other boxes, fill in the three subpoints within each box – a, b, and c – as follows:
a – Write the names of the people who live in the house represented by the box. If you can give first and last names, that’s great. If it’s only first names, that’s fine too.
b – Write down some relevant information about each person, some data or facts about him or her that you couldn’t see just by standing in your driveway, things you might know if you’ve spoken to the person once or twice. We don’t mean drives a red car or has yellow roses by the sidewalk, because you could see that from your driveway. We mean information you’ve gathered from actually speaking to a neighbour, such as grew up in Regina, is a lawyer, plays golf, is from Ethiopia, had a father in World War II.
c – Write down some in-depth information you would know after connecting with people. This might include their career plans, dreams of starting a family or anything to do with the purpose of their lives. Write down anything meaningful that you’ve learned through interacting with them.
- About 10 percent of people can fill out the names of all eight of their neighbours
- About 3 percent can fill out line b for every home.
- Less than 1 percent can fill out line c for every home.
Exercise and text taken from The Art of Neighbouring by Jay Pathak and Dave Runyon.