5 Things You Should Never Ask Your Neighbors to Do, Etiquette Experts Say
While asking for a cup of sugar may be acceptable, there are some things that are off limits.
Many of us strive to create meaningful connections within our community—hoping to be and have the kind of neighbors that would make Mister Rogers proud. This entails being friendly and having a chat every once in a while, of course, but it also means not crossing certain lines. While it's fine to ask your neighbor for a cup of sugar in a pinch, there are other things that you should probably avoid. Talking to etiquette experts, we gathered insight on what common mistakes could cast a bad shadow on your neighborhood reputation. Read on to find out what are the five things they say you should never ask your neighbors to do.
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Let you use their property
While you may be physically close to one another, there are still boundaries between you and your neighbor's space. Darren Wayland, an etiquette expert and founder of BBQHost, says you should never ask your neighbor to use their property unless they explicitly offer themselves. This may include anything like their pool, garden, or other amenities, according to Wayland.
"Their property is their personal space, and it's important to respect their privacy and boundaries," he says. "It's best to establish a respectful relationship and avoid presuming access to their belongings."
Michelle Giordano, a community counselor and outreach specialist for Live Another Day, says this advice also extends to parking spaces. "Demanding or pressing your neighbor to provide you more parking places or to give you access to a portion of their land can lead to tension and conflict," she warns. "Finding suitable solutions for the shared community spaces is essential, as well as respecting property lines and parking."
Pick up your dog's poop
If your walking your dog around the neighborhood, you need to come prepared to clean up any of their messes. You should never expect your neighbor to "pick up your dog poop" if your pet makes a pit stop near or on their property, according to Liza Mirza Grotts, a 23-year certified etiquette expert.
"We have all experienced this kind of neighbor, so don't be that person," Grotts says. "Carry plastic bags and do it yourself."
Watch your pet
Speaking of doggy duty, your neighbor is also not a built-in babysitter for your pets. Bo Bennett, PhD, a social scientist with a background in social psychology, says putting the responsibility on them to always watch your animals when your away "oversteps the boundaries of good neighborly etiquette."
"Steer clear of asking your neighbor to look after your pets for a long duration," Bennett advises. "A brief pet-sitting favor is okay, but turning it into a constant duty is unfair."
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Help with other major tasks
Constant pet sitting is not the only activity you should avoid asking of your neighbor. It is actually recommended that you don't ask them to "help with any task that requires a lot of time or effort, like helping move furniture or mow the lawn," according to Kalley Hartman, LMFT, a licensed therapist and the clinical director at Ocean Recovery in Newport Beach, California.
"While this may seem like an innocent request, it could be seen as taking advantage of their kindness or not respecting their time and schedule," Hartman explains.
Get involved in personal matters
You can also be friendly with your neighbor, but at the end of the day, they're not actually your friend. "So don't ask your neighbor to get involved in any of your own personal matters," says Carolina Estevez, PsyD, a clinical psychologist at Infinite Recovery in Austin, Texas. According to Estevez, this may include things like helping with legal issues, giving personal advice, or mediating arguments between family members.
"This is intrusive behavior that should not be tolerated," she says. "It shows a lack of respect towards your neighbor's privacy and boundaries."