New research finds people are avoiding their neighbours

Article by Olivia Lambert /
News.com.au /
August 23, 2017 /
Click here to view original /

LIFE is not like what it is on Ramsay Street.

There’s no Harold to wave to while he’s hosing the lawn in the morning, or Karl Kennedy to pass on your morning jog.

In fact, a new survey found reality is not at all like the television show Neighboursand gone are the days when you’d ring the doorbell of the person next door to ask for a cup of sugar.

The survey from realestate.com.au discovered most of us avoid human contact with our neighbours. Over a third of us are like Homer Simpson and Ned Flanders, we are not interested in getting to know whoever lives next door.

According to the survey, almost 100 per cent of us have actually gone out of our way at some point to avoid a neighbour.

One in 10 neighbours have called the cops on those who live next door and one in ten also admitted to spying on their neighbours. But take a deep breath, only three per cent of people have seen a neighbour in the nude. That’s sure to make taking the bins out pretty awkward.

One in five people admitted to having a fight with somebody living on their street and one in ten uses their neighbour’s bin without asking. Betting not everybody answered that question completely honestly.

The survey found Baby Boomers are dodging their neighbours just as much as millennials.

Dr Lauren Rosewarne, from Melbourne University’s School of Social and Political Sciences, said many people appreciated a respectful distance from neighbours.

“Just because we happen to live next door to each other doesn’t actually mean we have anything in common other than a similar address.

“If you live in an apartment, you literally share walls with these people. Sometimes that’s more than enough contact thank you very much.

“Neighbours can be annoying — from loud music, loud arguments, loud sex, to barking dogs and overgrown trees, these people are often a source of annoyance as opposed to value-adding to our lives.

“We have a tendency to idealise the past. I suspect not many of us were really borrowing cups of sugar from our neighbours.”

A 2016 study from Relationships Australia found not speaking to your neighbours was linked to poor physical and mental health.

Relationships Australia national executive officer Alison Brook said 65 per cent rarely or only occasionally chatted to neighbours.

“It’s a major concern that so many people are not connecting with their neighbours and only 40 per cent felt a strong sense of identity with their local community and neighbourhood,” she said.

She said relationships with neighbours changed communities and could make a real difference to people’s wellbeing.