The Best Ways to Use Apps to Know Your Neighbors

Most of us are familiar with our neighbors on some level. Maybe you wave to the man who walks his dog past your house. Or maybe you exchange a pleasant greeting with the lady next door as you check your mail.

Because of differing schedules and other limitations, though, we don’t always know our neighbors as well as we would like. In addition, recent fears of spreading illness can lead to feelings of isolation. One convenient way to connect with neighbors (without risking anyone’s health) is through the use of a neighborhood app.

A few popular neighborhood apps include:

Why Connect With an App?

Connecting with your neighbors has many advantages. For one thing, staying socially active is beneficial for your physical and mental well-being. In addition, people who live near each other often have important things in common. This means information shared between neighbors is frequently quite useful.

During this time of social distancing, we don’t want to lose touch with our neighbors. Neighborhood apps give us the opportunity to keep in touch without risking anyone’s health.

Practical Ways to Use a Neighborhood App

  • Share information. Whether it’s important notices, weather alerts, or changes in the trash pickup schedule, posting on a neighborhood app is an efficient way to keep everyone up to date.
  • Ask for or share recommendations. Do you need a contractor or someone to do some yard work? Your neighbors may be able to help you find someone who is trustworthy and who does quality work. Neighbors can also be helpful if you are looking for healthcare providers or dentists. In addition, a neighborhood app can be a good way to find local dog walkers, pet sitters, and other services you may need.
  • Plan events. Using an app to plan neighborhood events, gatherings, and even yard sales can save you a lot of leg work.
  • Find, sell, or give away items. Do you need to borrow a tool? Do you have items that you’re looking to sell or give away? Are you looking to purchase second-hand items of any sort? The person who has what you need (or who needs what you have) could be just a couple of houses away.
  • Post security alerts. If there are any incidents of break-ins, theft, vandalism, scams, or other suspicious activity, getting the word out quickly can save others in the neighborhood from being victimized. It may also help police to locate and report the person responsible.
  • Locate lost pets. As hard as we try, dogs and cats occasionally bolt out the door or wander out of the yard. Putting your neighbors on alert could help you to locate your furry friend before they have time to travel too far.
  • Ask for help. If you find yourself in a bind, your neighbors may be able to help you out. Are you having trouble putting up or removing seasonal decorations? Is working your DVR leaving you completely stumped? Do you need help removing tree limbs from your yard after a storm? Reach out for help. And you never know when you may be able to return the favor.

Be Cautious When Using a Neighborhood App

As useful as they can be, you still need to exercise caution and pay attention to certain expectations for etiquette if you choose to use a neighborhood app.

  • Consider limiting the amount of personal information you make public. For example, the Nextdoor app gives you the option to display only your street name in your profile rather than including your house number as well. In addition, while you may ask neighbors for recommendations for house sitters while you’re on vacation, posting the dates that you will be away could leave you open to potential mischief. It’s better to make specific arrangements in person.
  • Don’t play detective. It is certainly appropriate to warn your neighbors of suspicious activity or other security issues. However, resist the urge to do any investigating on your own. Be safe, and report any concerns to the police.
  • Research before buying or hiring. Neighborhood apps are a great way to get recommendations, but that should be your starting point. It’s still advisable to do your own research. Get references from any contractor you are considering hiring. And never pay for anything if you haven’t seen it in person or received it.
  • Keep it positive. It would be easy to start a neighborhood feud over a minor issue. If you have a complaint, it’s usually best to address it in person. You may be really annoyed that your neighbor’s barking dog kept you up all night. However, posting about it on a neighborhood platform will only lead to trouble. You’re more likely to see a problem solved if you bring it to their attention respectfully.

Neighborhood apps can be a convenient way to maintain a sense of community and connect with your neighbors. Many apps allow you to search for your specific location to find out if anyone in your neighborhood has already joined. You may be pleasantly surprised to find that a network of friendly neighbors is right at your fingertips.

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