Think of your house or apartment as the center of a Tic-Tac-Toe diagram, with eight spaces around you being residences surrounding you.
Can you name all of the people living in the 8 houses or apartments closest to you?
If you answered the first question, can you think of something about their life that is not visible from the outside of their house?
If you were able to answer the second question, do you know any superficial facts not seen from the outside?
If you answered the first two questions, do you know anything personal about them? Would you consider them a friend and do you help them when needed and they help you?
Results from this exercise
- Less than 10% of the people know the names of their eight surrounding neighbors.
- Those that do, only one or two can tell you anything superficial about their neighbors.
- Maybe one can tell you something deeper about their neighbors and these people have been intentional about getting to know their neighbors.
Most people don’t know the names of their neighbors, let alone anything personal about them. It’s typical for many people to have lived in their current residence for a short time. It’s easy for people to feel isolated and not care if they know their neighbors or not. People find it difficult to know who to go to if they need help.
How Many Different Places Have You Lived in during your lifetime?
Asking hundreds of people in US cities this question, we found the following:
- Less than 10% have lived in fewer than five places in their adult life.
- 33% have lived in 5-10 places.
- 40% have lived in 10-15 places.
- 15% have lived in 15-20 places.
- 10% have lived in 20 or more places
This shows us that Americans are very transient. Many people only live in one place for two or three years. Most people are very busy at work and with their kids, taking them to their different activities. Therefore, they don’t have time for their neighbors, so why make the effort?
Even those who have lived in a place a long time, who used to take cookies to their new neighbors or helped their neighbors, have stopped. They once knew most of their neighbors but today they know they won’t be there long, so why go through the effort.