Why Women Living Alone Should Befriend Their Neighbors
Perhaps you were already hesitant to open this article because you shiver at the thought of befriending your neighbors. You like your space. You don’t want to get dragged into some small talk of pleasantries in the driveway, every time you’re racing off to a meeting. You don’t want to know the neighbor who plays jazz music and sings to herself, quite loudly, every Sunday morning. You like your boundaries. But, if you’re a woman who lives alone, you can’t afford to not know your neighbors—for many reasons. That’s not to say that those with roommates or a live-in partner are off the hook for getting to know their neighbors. We could all benefit from having a more tight-knit community. However, women living alone especially need that support and that safety net. If you’re a woman who lives alone, here are good reasons to befriend your neighbors.
They’ll know your usual visitors
If you introduce your neighbors to your regular visitors—like a boyfriend, sibling, or best friend—then they’ll know who isn’t a regular visitor. So if a suspicious character is snooping around your doorstep and claims to be your boyfriend, they’ll know that isn’t true—they’ve met your boyfriend. They can call the cops and alert you.
Late-night dog walking companions
If you have a pet that requires nighttime walks, then you’ll be happy to have a neighbor to do that with you. Find another neighbor with a dog, and agree to do night walks together so you don’t have to go alone.
Backup in landlord disputes
Dealing with a landlord dispute on your own can be intimidating and overwhelming. Landlords may think they can take advantage of women living alone, and not fix or pay for things that are their responsibility. You can talk to the other neighbors, and if they face some of the same issues, you can confront the landlord together.
Split Costco runs
Hey, it never hurts to have somebody to split those Costco, Target, or other bulk-buy store runs with. You can see some major savings if you find another person living alone in your building, go to Target together, buy giant boxes of groceries and other household essentials at a discounted price, and just split them up.
They can help with pet care
When you travel, a neighbor can help with pet care. This is much more affordable than paying somebody. And, what’s best is that, if you do find another pet owner in the building, your animal can become familiar with her and her animals, so when you travel, your pet isn’t left with a total stranger.
They can bring in your mail
Neighbors can also bring in your mail when you’re away, but more importantly, they can keep an eye out for package theft for you. When you live alone, you don’t have a partner or roommate to split some of the responsibility of checking the package bins for your unit each day. But a helpful neighbor may bring up a package for you.
They’ll keep a look out for you
In general, buildings and blocks look out for the women living alone if they’re aware of them. Neighborhoods tend to want to take care of their own. There may be many couples and families living near you, and if they know you live by yourself, they’ll just keep a look out for you and make sure you’re safe. They know you don’t have anyone living with you to do that.
Help during tough times
When you throw your back out and can barely lift a finger for a week, it’s much easier for your downstairs neighbor to help you with chores and errands than for a friend who lives across town to drive over every day to do it.
They’ll check on you after a disaster
In the event of a disaster like an earthquake or blackout, you’ll be very grateful to have relationships with your neighbors. You can go to them for supplies or protection. It can be very scary to live alone when events like that occur.
They’ll notify you of neighborhood crime
When the neighbors know each other, you can all keep each other up to date on neighborhood crime. This is especially important information for a woman living alone to have. If there is a man, for example, who has been following people to their car at night, women living alone should know that. Maybe find a neighbor to walk with you to your car at night. That’s just one of many things women living alone can do to improve their safety.
You may need a chaperone
Sometimes, you may just not feel safe having a new electrician or plumber in your home, who you’ve never worked with before. It can be nice to just have a neighbor come over to your unit and keep you company while you have a stranger working in your home.
New dates know you have supervisors
If you’re actively dating, hopefully you never bring a man home who you don’t know very well, but your neighbors can keep an eye on you, either way. They’ll feel protective of you. They’ll introduce themselves to your dates out on the sidewalk. It’s good for the men you go on dates with to know there are people looking out for you, who’d notice if you yelled out in distress or went missing.
Living alone can be, well, lonely. If you don’t have a roommate, then you have to make plans and drive somewhere just to enjoy a glass of wine with a friend. But when you’re friends with your neighbors, you can do that right in your building or on your block. You can even all start having monthly building parties or something like that.
When you need supplies or help
When you need a hammer, have no clue how to install your new AC unit, or can’t figure out why your smoke detector is beeping, it’s nice to have a community of neighbors who can help you out.
Side hustle opportunities
You never know how your neighbors may help you. They might hire you to do small jobs for them. They may give you a referral to someone else who is hiring. That relationship between neighbors can be a long and fruitful one.