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The Best Way to Befriend Your Neighbors—It’s a Matter of Heart

By Mormon.org
two men visiting over a fence

Reach Out with Love

Noted Irish poet William Butler Yeats once said: “There are no strangers here; only friends you haven’t yet met.” But sometimes, with our always-on-the-go schedules, our neighbors can still feel more like strangers than friends. If that’s how it feels to you sometimes, there is one simple solution—and it’s a matter of heart.

In the parable of the good Samaritan, Jesus Christ taught that a true neighbor is one who reaches out to others with love and compassion in true acts of friendship. Watch the parable here.

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On the eve of the Last Supper, after demonstrating His love by washing His disciples’ feet, the Savior taught: “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:34–35). We can befriend our neighbors best when we follow the Savior’s command to love one another as He has loved us.

Some Ideas to Get Started

If you are wondering how to create lasting friendships with your neighbors, show them some love by trying some of these ideas.

  • Plan an outdoor party. In a neighborhood setting, visiting over a backyard potluck dinner is a nonthreatening way to strengthen friendships with your neighbors.
  • Do some service. Nothing opens up the lines of communication better than serving someone else with love. Mow a lawn, weed a flower bed, shovel a sidewalk, or retrieve a trash can. Better yet, first observe, then serve to meet specific needs. You know how you feel about those who serve you, so do something nice for somebody else and pass it along.
  • Create a tradition. Come up with activities that bind you and your neighbors together. Whether it’s leaving treats on doorsteps for Halloween, sharing May Day baskets, watching fireworks together, or participating in a neighborhood group on social media, do something that creates a sense of community with those around you.
  • Share a treat. It might seem simple, but homemade cookies or even donuts from the local bakery work wonders when it comes to making friends out of neighbors. Honestly, who can say no to a friendship started over a warm loaf of bread?
  • Strike up a conversation. So you don’t bake? That’s OK. Knock on the door and say hi. Remember, neighbors can only stay strangers if you don’t get to know them and call them friends. So get out and start talking.
  • Wave hello. If nothing else, connect with your neighbors with a friendly wave whenever you see them. It may not be the ultimate friend maker, but it’s a great place to start.

No matter what you do to build friendships with your neighbors, let love be your motivation. When you see others not as strangers but as potential friends, you are already on the path to creating friendships that last.