Ultima modifica 6 Novembre 2015

neighbours 1
Foto di George Jakorsky

Neighbours, or neighbors as the Americans spell it, are a bit like family, and, like family, we don’t get to choose them and again, like our families,th ey have their faults and failings.
Some are annoying, some are perfect, some are indifferent and aloof, some are over-friendly. But when we need a hand in an emergency, the people we often turn to first are our neighbours and they rarely let us down.

N stands for neighbour and it also stands for a lot of words associated with neighbours.

Noisy is perhaps the biggest complaint one hears from the negative camp when the topic comes up. People noise, as in arguing, bickering, partying, watching loud tv or playing computer games at all hours of the day or night. Animal noises, when people living in close proximity to others in houses or apartments divided by wafer thin wall insist on having dogs, cats, parrots and so on. Furniture dragging noise, high-heel shoes noise and door-banging noise are also high on the list of offences.

Nosey is a close second. Those curious, usually idle people who peep from behind curtains or through door peep-holes, if one shares the landing of an apartment complex with three or four other families. They watch the comings and goings of visitors and keep tabs on how long they stay and maybe even memorize their car registration plate if it’s within eyesight.

Near can be either near enough for comfort and breathing space or too near as to be claustrophobic. As the saying goes: “Good fences make good neighbours” Unfortunately it is often very true.

neighbours 2Nuisance often refers to those well-intentioned neighbours who think they have to make conversation each time you bump into each other even if that happens to be ten times a day. They want to share every detail of their day, from what film or political debate they watched last night to minute descriptions of the marvellous restaurant they’ve just discovered, or the cost of their electricity bill which varies so little from one month to the next as to make it a very poor topic.

Nasty are those neighbours who believe that people are generally unhappy or angry with life like they themselves are and so they set out to deliberately make a peaceful coexistence difficult.

Nightmare neighbours aka “neighbours from hell” are a combination of the above and are often the cause of people having to sell their homes and relocate.

Nondescript are people who are totally indifferent to those around them. They don’t even want to know our names much less enter into an social exchange with us. They prefer to live as if those around them were invisible. I doubt they even qualify as neighbours.

Nice neighbours are as important as a nice extended family – discreet, loyal, understanding,  trustworthy, balanced, tactful. They realy don’t need all that many descriptors. They are the kind of neighbours we all hope that others see us as.
We are blessed if we can apply nice to the people who have lived close to us for many years. The kind of neighbour who will take in the post when you are on holiday because you’ve both been doing it for years and there’s no need to repeat the request every time one has to leave home.
We share a large part of our lives with our neighbours, especially those we call our “next-door” neighbours. We know a lot about each other. We see our own ageing mirrored in theirs and, hopefully, we may well grow old together.

And, as in all relationships, we and our neighbours will very likely mellow with our little disagreements or misunderstandings will fade into a foggy, unimportant recollection. Those who have invested in a healthy neighbourly relationship will probably end up having close reliable friends to share their twilight years with.


Frances Fahy


La redazione del magazine. Nato nel maggio 2013, da marzo 2015, testata registrata al tribunale di Milano. Mamme di idee rigorosamente diverse commentano le notizie dell'Italia e del mondo, non solo mammesche.


  1. Neighbor watchin! It’s a sign very popular in US and means that if you are a thief and see an empty house, be careful because the neighbor can see you and call 911. But also… if you are a woman and your hubby is at work and a MALE friend is coming to… drink a cup of tea with you… BE CAREFUL: your neighbor can’t wait to tell it to your hubby!!!


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