Should you care what your neighbors think of you?

Worried about what neighbors think.

Worried about what neighbors think?

There are people who spend a good part of their lives worrying about what the neighbors think of them.

Their concern on this point dominates all their actions in and around the home.

You might say they almost become enslaved to their neighbors, for every major consideration takes into account the question of how to hold on to the respect and approval of the people next door.

On the other hand, there are those who go to the other extreme, for they care nothing at all about what their neighbors think.

Now, what is the balanced view to take toward one’s neighbor?

All things considered, neighbors are good to have.

So often it turns out that we need them.

In emergencies they are often the first to respond.

A bond of mutual protection can build up.

You look after their interests when they are away, and they do the same for you.

When you leave on an extended trip, it is good to know that someone will keep an eye on things for you.

How pleasant, too, to exchange a few words with them morning or evening and, on the basis of what you learn about them, practice empathy in your dealings with them!

However, worrying about what the neighbors think is quite a different matter.

It is amazing what such worry can make one do.

There is the neighbor, for example, who insists that her family keep their conversations to a whisper for fear the noise will bother the neighbor.

If they do raise their voices, she begins closing all the windows.

In other households where worry about neighbors is evident, the front lawn and the back garden become merely ornamental but useless places.

Why?

Because to spend time in either would put one under the critical eyes of the neighbors.

This preoccupation with what the neighbors think can also drive one into a financial risky way of life.

Great numbers of people strive to put on as good a front as the neighbor, having just as good a car, just as big a TV aerial, and so on.

Advertising capitalizes on this inclination, stimulating one’s desire for things that are really “status symbols.”

Therefore, many a people have become engulfed in debt due to efforts to keep up with the joneses.

How frustrating it can be to be caught in this very common snare!

But what about your neighbor?

Who are they?

For the most part they are simply other people very much like yourself.

Financially, they may not be any better off than you yourself.

If they do possess a lot of material things, much more than you do, don’t forget that a large percentage of the population is struggling to keep above water, so to speak, as they pay and pay and pay for the things they purchased on credit.

If you were to have a talk with them you would doubtless find that they respects you if you are one who has not been drawn into the scramble for status symbols.

There are times, however, when we should care about what the neighbors think.

Why?

Because you are not an extremists.

An exaggerated indifference over the folks next door can produce bad results.

This may be the real reason why some people refuse to invite to their home neighbors who are poor, or of some other nationality, race or religion.

However, if you are doing what is right, then there is no reason to worry over what the neighbors think.

In fact, if they are upright people, your good example will move them to speak well of you.

And decent people will admire your dignity and admire it when you display it in their neighborhood.

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