Community: close neighbours

How important are neighbours?neighbours1

“Love thy neighbour” is a term that’s become almost clichéd over the years. In a time when neighbours, at least in North America, are people we rarely see (thanks to garage door openers and busy lives), or are thought of as nuisances with barking dogs guilty and noisy children, how can we possibly love our neighbours?

Well you know; you don’t have to actually love them, but it’s best if you genuinely like them.

But how close is too close?  I’m talking about people you might see on a day to day basis, sometimes only in passing.  How do you feel towards them? Them towards you? How important is it to maintain a good relationship with your neighbour? I guess it depends on how much you have in common, how close in proximity you are…but at the very least isn’t it in your best interest to be friendly?

I’ve always had good luck with my neighbours (next door, back door, upstairs + down).  In the sense that we seem to genuinely like each other to the point of naturally developing over time a genuine friendship. From the very first time I moved away from home to a place of my own, I’ve been lucky to have had great neighbours. Many have become lifelong friends. One even gave me the best gift of my life, her dog whom I fell in love with from the get-go.  She realized we’d be happier together than apart.

Unfortunately last year I lost one of my favourite ones, a woman I rented part of a house from shortly after moving to Vancouver from Montreal.  She became like a second mother and we shared a family like relationship over the years.  I remember she used to leave homemade food and baked goods outside my door and we used to celebrate holidays together.

Now I have a next door neighbor in Palm Springs who leaves homemade cookies and banana cake on my doorstep.   I certainly don’t think that I look like I need to be fed! However, when I think back to past and present neighbors, food is always involved.  One used to leave homemade pies, another pyrogies.  Just can’t seem to break the mold and that’s okay.  Sharing is a nice trait and food is a pleasant ice breaker that brings people together.  It means you have to confront the giver to say “thank you.”

I think it’s important to be on friendly terms at the very least. More often than not I’ve stayed in touch over the years with past/present neighbours and we get together from time to time.

Good neighbours can make or break your peaceful enjoyment. It’s just really nice when it turns out you legitimately want to spend time with them or be in their company even temporarily.  It makes for better neighbourhoods and people tend to look out for one another (neighbourhood watch or watch out!).  I had a neighbour from across the street call to tell me I left my door open one time when traveling and another called the police to report unusual activity.  Turns out the unusual activity was me just getting home from a trip.  It was nighttime and she didn’t recognize that it was me.  So they can be helpful. They also come in handy for watering your plants while away…if they don’t kill them instead by mistake of course not mentioning any names.

And it’s a bonus if they love your music!  How do you feel towards yours?

F.R.I.E.N.D. =

 Forgiving, Reliable, Inspiring, Encouraging, Nice, Dedicated

The below was taken (slightly condensed) from a blog I follow – Garance Doré. She’s an amazing illustrator & photographer who hangs with the fashion crowd. Originally from France, she now makes her home in New York City and blogs mostly about….you guessed it – fashion.  Her “Pardon my French” videos are very entertaining and her interviews have included established designers such as Stella McCartney & Diane Von Furstenburg.  There’s no doubt in my mind that if I lived in New York I would be stalking her we would become best of friends.  Her photographs and video clips of any fashion week will make you feel like you’re a little jealous part of it.  Aaaagh!  I couldn’t say it better myself therefore.….

from images

from images

friendshipWhile discussing friends one day at the studio she and her team came up with the following conclusions…

1 – You don’t need to have a plan when you get together with a friend.
You don’t need to have a party, an activity, or brunch you’re supposed to go to together. You can see a friend with nothing on the agenda, just wanting to get together and decide what you’ll do after.

2 – A true friend:
Doesn’t judge you, but also has the right to not approve of your full body tattoo.
… Is ready to drop everything she’s doing and come to your rescue if you have an emergency, but also knows when to tell you when you’re overreacting.
Has the right to be pissed at you when you overreact, but not for too long.

3 – A true friend:
… Doesn’t make a move on your ex.
… Doesn’t make a move on your boyfriend!!! (even crypto-moves).
… Doesn’t steal your friends!!! (Unless you encourage her to do so).
… Doesn’t lie to you.

4 – With Friends You Don’t Have to Prove Anything to (which is the essence of true friendship, by the way).

Best thing to do with friends, the international renown crème de la crème friend activity:
Party the night before and spend the morning after having tea and recapping all the night’s events.

5 – A true friend would say
“Yeah, okay, maybe you’re right. You’ve gained a few. We’ll stop our Ben & Jerry’s x couch parties for three months.”
“You look amazing in that photo!”
“That outfit just doesn’t work on you.”
“I saw your man with another woman.”
OR
“Your boyfriend is amazing. Stop creating stuff in your head.”

6 – Sign that it’s a true friendship:
Your friend is with some people who are magnificently cooler or amazingly more important than you (yeah, it happens)(all the time in New York) and introduces you as if you’re the greatest thing since Mac and Cheese.

7 – Some friendships die, but it doesn’t mean they weren’t beautiful and true.

8 – Stupid Problems that can Kill a Friendship if not Kept in Check:

  • Jealousy: Jealousy stems from desire. Before you hate someone because she has everything you want, you usually start by loving her from everything she has. Keep yourself in check.
  • Money: In friendships, as in love, everyone gives what they can, whether that be affection, money, intelligence, experience, contacts, what ever it is… You have to be generous, and let others be generous too, even if it’s just paying for coffee.
  • Distance: You have to pick up the phone and call. Skype, text, whatever it is. I’m the worst at this and I can’t even get it together to respond to e-mails. Friendships have suffered… That said, I’d never hold it against a friend if they are too busy and don’t have time to call – I know they are busy, I don’t think they are forgetting me… Which maybe explains my behavior. But I know, it’s not enough.

9 – Sign of a true friendship: After three minutes of no one saying anything in a conversation, no one feels embarrassed.

10 – Unidirectional Friendships, A Problem More Frequent Than You Think.
Asking, “how are things for you?” (+ 15 minutes listening without checking your Twitter feed) is not a superfluous act.

11 – Some profound friendships can be formed in three minutes, other superficial ones can take years.

12 – With a true friend, you can be completely yourself.
You don’t need to be the girl who’s “cool with tons of friends, a great job and an awesome boyfriend, wahoooo!” You’re just you.

13 – Sign of a true friendship: Even after not seeing each other for three years, you feel like you’re picking up a conversation you didn’t quite finish the day before.

14 – Sign of a true friendship: after 35 years of friendship, you still laugh together like teenagers (my mom and her best friend, so awesome).

That’s all for now! There are many other things (including a theory on my living vicariously through Garance  jealousy) – but for the moment, that’s what appeared to us as the base of the base of the base. Big kisses my friends !

WAIT, wait!  I want to feel a little bit like the team so I came up with a few of my own:  A true friend…

1) Will let go of SNL misunderstandings (silly, nonsensical, little) .

2) Won’t drain you with listening to “only” their problems/issues for hours on end.

3) Know that intentions are always well meant.

4) Accept your flaws and celebrate your fabulousness.

5) Accept you moving on if #’s 1-4 don’t really matter (but hoping they matter).

6) Above all must love watching Chelsea Lately.

The PERFECT friend:  Funny, Real, Intelligent, Empathetic, Not too Needy, Divine.

http://www.garancedore.fr/en/