LONDON — The average adult has not spoken to their neighbors in three weeks, although millions still enjoy posting passive-aggressive messages about them on social media community pages. A study of 2,000 adults in the United Kingdom discovered that 56 percent of those in local online groups encounter sniping and mudslinging, with 34 percent describing it as pure entertainment.
Additionally, 47 percent have shared information with friends and family about certain posts because they were either outrageous or amusing. Nearly a third (31%) of adults are friends with a neighbor on Facebook, while only 17 percent follow at least one on Instagram. The study, commissioned by mobile network giffgaff to examine the level of community spirit throughout the U.K., also found that one in 20 participants cannot remember the last time they spoke to their next-door neighbor face-to-face.
Interestingly, when it comes to communicating about issues such as loud dogs, inappropriate parking, and litter, 18 percent find it easier or prefer to voice their thoughts online rather than approaching a neighbor to discuss the matter in person.
“It can be difficult to make time for our neighbors. The research found many don’t have close relationships with people in their local area, and this can lead to feelings of isolation. However, ironically, these people shouldn’t feel alone, as it seems there are millions in the same boat, and there are ways that we can improve our communication with those in our community,” says communications expert Amira Mansour in a statement.
While 10 percent miss the community friendliness they experienced during COVID lockdowns, only one in five believe community spirit is alive and well where they live. Another 14 percent would like to be better friends with their neighbors. Just over one in 10 would like to get to know people living nearby more but are unsure how to go about doing so.
In contrast, 43 percent have made an effort to chat with a neighbor about another local resident’s behavior. Some of the most common annoyances adults have with their neighbors include inappropriate parking (24%) and loud music (22%). Another 21 percent are irritated by loudly barking dogs, and 16 percent are bothered by overly loud house parties in nearby homes. One in 10 can’t stand their neighbor’s messy home exterior, such as having garbage lying around, according to the OnePoll data.
“It feels like there’s a real appetite to connect with neighbors and our local communities, even if those moments can sometimes lead to passive-aggressive conversations,” adds Ash Schofield, CEO at giffgaff.
Top 20 Neighborly Annoyances:
- Inappropriate parking
- Loud music
- Dogs barking loudly
- Noisy children
- Noise from a house party
- Doors being slammed
- Loud TV
- Messy exterior appearance (not tidying up, leaving paint chipped, etc.)
- Animal feces left outside
- Having a fire/bbq
- Leaving trash cans out/not putting them away
- Having to take their packages in repeatedly
- Swearing loudly
- Not giving you a heads up about construction work
- Having a bold color on their front door
- Not holding a door open for you
- Not holding an elevator for you
Amira’s Tips For Neighborly Conversations:
- Small talk can be a good thing: Find ways to start to interact with neighbors on a more daily basis so that when situations that bother you crop up, you’ve already got a relationship with them. You can create small talk by staying curious, asking questions and listening to how they respond.
- Keep it short: We love to over explain things but it’s important to keep your points clear, succinct and on topic. It’s helpful to prepare what you want to say beforehand to help you feel more confident in addressing the situation.
- Stop focusing on being right: Ask yourself how you can see it from their perspective and try focusing on a solution that works for you all.
South West News Service writer Rich Jenkins contributed to this report.