Are People Still Neighborly?

Rhoda from
Southern Hospitality!

The invitation said, "Come and Meet Your Neighbors.”

My goal was to get several of our neighbors together to at least meet and get familiar with others who live nearby on our street.

So I invited my neighbors over for dessert!

I can't say it was a smashing success, since we invited 16 families and 4 came out. Only one called to say they couldn't make it, but thought it was a great idea. The other 11 didn't respond at all.

I think times have changed and people are just not as neighborly anymore.

I remember when folks used to take time to get to know their neighbors and be friendly, but it seems that today, most just don't have the time or inclination to do that. And, it's OK...I'm glad we made the effort anyway. I have 2 great neighbors on either side of me who came over and we enjoyed visiting with them. They are both good friends with each other anyway and their kids are in school together. A sweet older couple in their 80's came from down the street. One other guy came over from across the street with his 2 young sons, but his wife was tired, so didn't make it.

I'm glad I tried it!

Although I may not be that ambitious again in hosting another event. Maybe something smaller next time, with those who seem to be interested in getting together?

What did I learn?

Not everyone wants to get to know their neighbors and I can’t take it personally!

I am now reaching out in other areas, like church and small groups, to meet couples and new friends. I haven’t given up on entertaining, but have revised my approach to inviting others over, more of a one-couple-at-a-time kind of thing.

The fact that I'm willing to reach out takes my mind off of myself and on to others!

I was so honored to have met Rhoda, from Southern
in Nashville a few weeks ago. We had a great
time hanging out, and bouncing ideas off of each other. A few years back I was inspired by her realness and her humbleness, of sharing this not-so-perfect story!

If you want to check out Rhoda's smashing cheesecake recipe that she made for her neighbors, you can visit her here. Thank you, Rhoda, for sharing your Southern Hospitality! Rhoda also invited me to be her guest today, so head on over to read about Easy Lunch Entertaining!

Here's a FUN neighborly story that will make you SMILE! Check out Kristen's post, from We are that Family, here. I just love this girl!


Sarah Herman said...

I will tell you that there are still neighborhoods that are friendly! We live in the midwest in a larger city for the state. The first month we lived here we invited all neighbors 8 houses down to the right and left, plus across the street. ALL of them showed up! For the past 9 years we have had many oppurtuities to move to a larger home however the hospitality in the neighborhood is truly amazing! All the holiday parties are celebrated by neighbors, we have all helped one another build garages, additions, paint, roof, ect. We have a selection of community tools! We exchange homemade gifts at christmas time! A new comer to our street commented recently how much our neighborhood reminds them of a norman rockwell painting, when times were simpler and neighbors were friendly!

Mujer Puertorriqueña said...

I need to be more neighborly. One of them has been good, bringing cady on Hallowen and cookies for Christmas. We live on farms neighborhood, so our distances are long...but it is not excuse.Anyway I should give it a try at list! Thanks for the reminder. And good for you for traying.

Kimm at Reinvented said...

I agree with you that people just don't socialize as much with neighbors anymore. I think everyone is just SO busy, that we don't take the time. I have some fabulous neighbors, we really have fun together, but some attempts to branch out have failed. Have faith!

Darlene - Our Creative Life said...

I think that was rude of those neighbors to not even reply to the invitation you sent. I think what you did was great and something I should do!

Anonymous said...

I just had this discussion the other day with a friend. I don't think people are neighborly anymore. Especially my subdivision. There's a few that ruin the whole vibe of the neighborhood.

"Hello... It's Me Again..." said...

I have pretty great neighbors and met them by inviting them over for watermelon or just dessert from time to time. Sometimes I tell them the grill will be ready at 6 pm and bring their meat and I'll have the sides. I feel that if I had not broken the ice with them by having them over first for watermelon, I'd not know them today. People are so busy with their families and working full-time so it makes it hard to stretch too much further.

Barb said...

I wonder if people become more neighborly with harder economic times?

Julie Gillies said...

People tend to arrive home, pull into their garages, close the door, then eat in front of the TV and go on Face Book. It's sad, but not hopeless.

I hosted the main course of a progressive dinner in our neighborhood a couple years ago. 98% of the 35 families we invited came. The house was crowded but we met the entire neighborhood! LOL And BONUS - my husband prayed the blessing before we ate.

We need to keep trying. Another good way to meet neighbors is taking walks. I know a LOT of my neighbors because I walk the dog or walk with one of my kids or hubby regularly.

Anonymous said...


Nice to meet you I have been visiting Rhoda for quite some time, she has been quite "neighborly" to this annon. blogging friend :)

Rhoda I remember your post about inviiting the neighbors, I am so glad you did not take it personal. I get along very well with my neighbors but I choose not to socialize...I once had a neighbor that did not understand boundaries and I swore I would not get in that mess again. Perhaps I am a little gun shy.

Great post,
Kathy :)

ps I will be back to visit again !!!

nikkicrumpet said...

I love Rhoda...she is a sweetheart and her neighbors are missing out! Although I hate to admit it but if we got an invitation from our neighbors to come to a dinner party...there is no way we would go. We tend to be very antisocial here in New England. When I lived in Utah I knew ALL my neighbors and hung out with them all the time. But here people are just not friendly or the least bit neighborly. It seems to have rubbed off on us and now we aren't either. It really is sad.

Betts said...

I think that we have so little time to spend with friends, that we want to use the time to be with those that share common interests other than a incidence of geographical proximity. I am cordial with my neighbors; I wave or might stop to chat. I also know that my neighbors would be there if I really needed them. We look out for each other even if we don't break bread together.

It was rude of your neighbors not to respond.

Karen at Nittany Inspirations said...

We moved to a new town in May 2006. We hosted our first annual clambake that August. We had 20 neighbors show up. My next door neighbor said to me, "How do you know all these people. I've lived here 32 years and I don't know this many neighbors." We wouldn't know them if we hadn't made the effort. It helps that we walk our little dog and stop and introduce ourselves when the neighbors are out doing yard work.

What else is amazing is that we have other connections beyond where we live. One neighbor worked with my stepfather. Another neighbor works with a coworker. Another neighbor is in a bible study with another coworker. And of course, we all like to eat.

Connie said...

When we all moved into our new homes about 8 years ago, we were all out more and had block parties but now it's gotten quiet. I have been challenged by Sandy to invite the neighbor women for lunch like she does each year. Otherwise I do know most of the original neighbors and we are all friendly. It's the new ones that are not so neighborly. Connie

Heidi said...

sandy - we do something similar- we host a christmas gathering and a summer bbq each year. what i've discovered is a few things...first of all - people are TOO busy - (including my family sometimes!) next - no one really likes to host this thing - so it's awesome that you did it! lastly - i think people crave the neighborly thing - even if they didn't all show up this time - don't let it get you down. do it again and maybe you'll have even more success. what i've learned is go easy on yourself - don't go all out - just have the dessert and coffee - skip the extras then if 2 come or 22 you won't feel like you are exhausted from getting it up and running. DON"T GIVE UP! i am a huge believe in everything beginning with our neighbors - including sharing Christ. life happens on our streets and it's where really it should all begin. oh and by the way - i totally think that having an INSIDE party is harder to get the neighbors to then having an OUTSIDE party - i.e. we do our bbq and instead of setting it up in our lovely backyard - we put it all in the front yard with the stuff in the driveway so neighbors can just walk up. ALSO - i totally think that asking neighbors to bring something (ie our bbq some bring salads some desserts) helps too -or having a neighbor help you set up or whatever! And - having my kids HAND invitations out seems to help. Wow - lots of thoughts here...we just have been totally in to this for a bit now.

Becky Dellar said...

I am so glad someone posted about this. We have had a tough time meet our neighbors! Everyone seems pretty standoff-ish. I wonder if it is the difference between people renting and owning houses (we all rent here). I just recently went over and introduced myself to the nieghbors next door and we get along great! :) The first time this has happened since we moved here! But - I will just trust the Lord will give opportunities to meet other neighbors around us in the future :D

Runner Mom said...

Hey! Just visiting from Rhoda's blog! This is great! You have wonderful ideas! Thanks so much for sharing!

In a recent Bible study, we discussed hospitality. One of the main reasons that we don't have friends over for lunch as often as we should is the fact that we have to clean the house! With the way my family goes like tornados, it doesn't always get picked up the way that I KNOW it should!This post that you did on Rhoda's blog was very encouraging!


Sandy Toes said...

I think it all matters what area you are in b/c everywhere where we have lived..it's been different!

We had a big storm here and the neighbors all came together..it was nice to see!
-sandy toe

GiBee said...

Great story. Thankfully, our neighborhood is very friendly and loves to party!

LuLu said...

When we moved to this rural area i was nervous cause I knew no one, we ended up building a home in a brand new neighborhood and i think it made all the difference for me, we started a Bunco group (12 women in the neighborhood) (and we have a list of subs from the neighborhood who like to play but don't want the commitment)and we meet once a month on Fridays to play our game... or just chat forever!everyone brings something to eat... recipes are tasted yum, housing projects are discussed and laughter shared.. what i love about this is it's my only time to hang out with them,my kids attend a different school from everyone else, it helped so much having this group.

Grace said...

i complain to my mom all the time about the unfriendliness of the folks here in ny, but i guess i'm being a hypocrite because i'm not making any effort either. i miss the south. :)

Erin said...

I grew up in a great neighborhood. We were seriously like family. Kind of like that Steele Magnolia's kind a place. The neighborhood I am in now is a lot different. Everyone is friendly, but it is just waves then into their homes. I kind of miss the old neighborhood I grew up in. Good for you for trying to be more neighborly!

Homesteader in Training said...

I think this is a great idea but I have one concern. How do you know if you really want "everybody" to show up? I mean we have some very interesting characters that walk down our street and I'm not sure if I would want them perusing my home, if you know what I mean. So how do you know who to invite if you're not sure who lives in what house. I'm only asking because I've thought of having open houses at Christmas time for our neighbors but I've always had this concern.
I loved this post but agree with most of the people here that people are just too busy these days.
Big Hugs.

Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality said...

Hi, Sandy, I wish we lived closer too & could just drop in at each other's house for coffee or lunch. That would be so fun! Thanks for letting me share on your blog today. I really enjoyed it & getting to meet some of your readers is a treat too. Hugs!

An Accomplished Woman said...


I love my neighbors. Every holiday we give them our special treats. Each Easter, I make baskets for them. I should throw a little party to get them all together. We have a big fourth of July one but a more intimate one would be nice. Thanks for the idea and Rhoda is lovely. She always inspires me.


Jackie said...

Hi Sandy & Rhoda, What fun to do guest blogging! I have enjoyed your blogs as a blessed lurker for awhile. :O) This was a good post. It seems the same can be said about our neighborhood. There are some that are neighborly and some just do their own thing. I can sometimes be the busy neighbor (due to the season of life I'm in) so I need to continually make it a point to make goodies and deliver them at holidays and such. Not always successful though. Thanks again for all the inspiration on your two blogs! Blessings onya, Jax

P.S. If you want to join the fun, I'm hosting a special "chick flick" giveaway on my blog. :O)

Alisa Lucas-Brown said...

Hi Sandy,
Thanks for stopping by today! I was glad to see that Rhoda was your guest. Her blog is one of my favorites and she was the very first blog I ever visited. My friend, Bella-Mella, introduced me to your site and I absolutely love it. I am impressed with all the things you contribute and love the new design of your site. I am very interested in the Christian Women Online group. What can you tell me about them? I am rather new to blogging and I would love to get affliated with CWO. As far as being "neighborly", I want to let you know that your site and personal testimony has inspired my husband and I to extend ourselves more and more to those around us. May God bless and favor all throughout this year.

LisaDuvall said...

I am not a big old fan of our city but the idea of ever leaving our little block breaks my heart. We know every family in the 9 houses around us on our block. In the winter a small brigade of shovelers goes out and takes care of almost every driveway. In the summer packs of kids are running through the yards, all parents being watchful. Babysitters are always nearby. Tools to borrow are no less than a phone call or two away. It's wonderful and I wish all neighborhoods were like this!!!

NeeNee said...

We live in a Charleston suburb on a very short street with only 13 houses. We all visit and take turns entertaining. What got this started was us having happy hours on Friday afternoons. We sent out invitations the first time, but would just put a sign in the yard after that. We asked everyone to bring their own drinks (I might have a specialty drink sometimes), and we furnished the snacks. Other folks started taking the sign home and having the happy hour the next Friday. It progressed from simple snacks to having enough food for dinner. We can't wait for the weather to get warm enough to start it again this spring. During the winter, we have a Halloween party, and the neighbors host Christmas parties, soup suppers, and oyster roasts. The neighborhood manages to have a party at least once a month! Just keep trying, once you start getting together like this, you really develop close relationships. We have a diverse range of ages and careers, but we all love our homes and want to make the neighborhood a great place to live.

Ms. Tee said...

That's so sweet of you to reach out to your neighbors like that. I think that people are so busy & don't make time to just visit & chat anymore. It really does seem like it isn't done these days. I think it's wonderful that you did it, though, and you'll probably make some sweet new friends because of it. :)

Live.Love.Eat said...

I agree with you. I find that some people are not as neighborly. It's a shame really. It's a matter of being too busy or untrusting. But be glad you tried.

Kirstin said...

That's a great post. I think it is sad how we just don't "visit" like they did years ago. No one just pops in for coffee, and I'm lucky if I see my neighbors. After we moved into our home I had a pampered chef party. I invited all of my neighbors making it clear I didn't expect them to buy anything but just come for goodies. No one came and only 3 explained why. while I talked to neighbors here and there while we built our house, only one neighbor actually said "welcome" when we moved in. Now most of the houses on our road have 2 or more acres so we don't sit right on top of each other, but it's just not the same.

I know some people up the road from us did a get to know your neighbors BBQ but we couldn't attend. I'm not sure how it turned out. Hopefully they'll do another one and we'll be sure to be there if we can.

I find it's a fight for me to get together with my girlfriends from church, let alone my neighbors.

Betsy said...

I don't think we are as neighborly as people were a generation ago. Nobody just hangs over the backyard fence and chats like they used to. Maybe it's because times are different, moms work, and busyness sets in. I do think we should try, though, and I love that you invite people over like you do. I do think it is terrible that most didn't rsvp, though!

The BLAH BLAH BLAHger said...

I LOVE the idea of being neighborly...but sadly, think that condo living is not condusive to it. I've lived here for six years and only know one of my neighbors names. My goal for this summer is to be chattier with my neighbors while lounging by the pool -- you've inspired me!

Amanda said...

I love that you tried! It's so sad that we are all too busy "living life" to really "live life!"

When our next door neighbors moved in, I brought them my famous homemade chocolate chip cookies. I could barely introduce myself before I got the door shut in my face. In the 4 years they've lived there, they've spoken to us twice. I just don't understand!

Monkey Giggles said...

We live in the country so neighbors are few. However, there is one that they have become like family to us. God is good like that.

Miss G said...

What a great thing to do! People are afraid to do something that not everyone else is doing and sometimes it takes a little time to warm up but people need relationships and community. As relationships are built, trust builds. Some people have probably never had anyone in their lives before who they could trust. As relationships are built, opportunities to minister to people as Christ would grow. As relationships are built, the opportunity to talk to people about Christ often occurs.

I am a very social person and would like to be neighborly but lived alone, single for ten years in a big city. To those of you who are doing the inviting and having a hard time trying not to take it personally that people don't come, just remember that we don't always know what each person's background is. As a single living alone in a big city and seeing all sorts of scary things on the news, it was easy for me to not want to invite people over or go to other's houses who I didn't know. Just something to think about.

I love that we're all thinking about this today. Thank you, Sandy and Rhoda for bringing this topic up. May God be at work in our hearts and minds as we seek to show kindness to others even when it's hard. Kelly

Donnetta said...

When we lived in a neighborhood we hosted an annual nieghbornhood homemade ice cream feed.

Now that we've moved to the country we haven't done anything. We should probably remedy that.

Thanks for the reminder to be neighborly to those around me.

Cupcake Mama said...

I found this post while searching for something else on your blog...what a timely piece because our family just handed out invitations to 12 neighbors for a come and go ice cream party to be held on Monday. My 5 year old will be VERY disappointed if no one comes, so hoping a few will stop by at least. Like some other posters, we also make little treats and small gifts for our immediate neighbors throughout the year, but decided to stand in our front and back yards and invite every house we could see from that vantage point.