Does Anyone Really Know Their Neighbor Anymore?

Do you know your neighbor? This may sound like something of a glib statement, but if you think about it, it’s something you probably haven’t overly considered in recent years. 

Speak to anyone over the age of 60 and you will no doubt be regaled as to their experience of a different time when you knew those who lived nearby and you could leave your back door unlocked and everything was sweetness and light.

Become a Harlem insider - Sign-Up for our Weekly Newsletter!


The reality is perhaps not as rosy as they might believe it was but there is certainly a sense that as individuals and family groups we now tend to not associate with those outside our immediate circle and that means that we almost certainly don’t know a great deal about those who occupy the residence just the other side of your living room wall.

The reasons we don’t have the same level of interaction with our community are manifold and aren’t down exclusively to an attitude or a generational change of heart towards our neighbors. 

Technology has made the world smaller and by doing so, according to those who study such things, we’ve become less dependent on those who are physically situated within reach of us.

A Different Time

Think about it for a moment. Imagine it’s the 1960s and let’s say a young family uproots from their hometown and moves to pastures new.

They literally know no one and are far removed from their usual support networks.

The working members of that family will now need to find a new job and those who live in the area are forced, in a positive sense, to interact directly with complete strangers who just happen to share the same zip code, failure to do either of these actions will result in complete isolation and ostracization.

In many ways you were forced to band together with those in your immediate vicinity, regardless of whether they were family members or known to you.

It was to some extent a necessary evil and a way of keeping the ‘pack’ safe. 

In these eras it was perhaps unnecessary, or entirely unheard of, to experience a life outside the few miles surrounding your neighborhood and as such it was crucial to be aware of those who lived close by.

This is in many ways a residual throwback to a different time when your social grouping stayed close together and were well aware of the dangers outside the area they presided over, it was a way to stay alive.

As humans we haven’t changed all that much, no matter what we may tell ourselves.

Community Spirit

Related:  Great Tips For International Students Living In Australia

Clearly the sense of community is important and isn’t something that’s vanished in recent decades but it’s an act that is no longer automatically in our thought process.

It would be safe to state that not knowing your neighbors has some sense of safety in itself, the less you know the better perhaps.

The benefits of being in good relations with those around you are clear but likewise if you are not entirely comfortable with those around you, you might choose to steer clear or to have as little contact as possible.

Fear dictates much of our communication with those we are not fully aware or trustful of, we assume, rightly or wrongly, the worst of those we do not know. It’s an evolutionary necessity that keeps us from tricky situations.

Knowing about those in our community that we don’t interact with is a useful tool to possess and one that is becoming more and more prevalent.

Snooping or Staying Safe?

When you hear the term ‘background search’ you are instantly conjuring up images of police dramas or legal proceedings but the usage of such services and information derived from them is now something of a common practice.

Perhaps you are renting a property to a new tenant and in which case, your concerns are perhaps even more valid and as such a simple background check would ease those worries. 

When it comes to using any of the many providers of background checks, the software and supporting mechanisms are incredibly easy to navigate and you can see for yourself if you sign-up on a trial basis.

A background check service, when provided by a trustworthy company, is entirely legal and not an expensive undertaking.

The information provided ranges according to what parameters you select.

As well as checking out a suspicious neighbor, or the community as a whole (perhaps in relation to the safety of your children in an area), these services are used by individuals who want to make sure a potential date is suitable and doesn’t throw up any alarm bells.

The uses of such services are as myriad as they are expansive and clearly these services are increasing in popularity, this is evidenced by the sheer weight of numbers when it comes to providers vying for your custom. 

While the use of such services may have been unheard of back in an era when you knew your neighbor intimately, in 2021 the very nature of the landscape has changed and technology has adapted accordingly.

In turn this should help give you the peace of mind you may desire as you look to keep your family and loved ones safe from harm.

Share This Story

About Harlem World Magazine

Harlem World Magazine is about living your best life and style around the block and around the world of Harlem.

Leave a Reply