GratiTuesday: Great neighbors, great friends

I had a different GratiTuesday written and ready to go this week, but then I read the posts of several bloggers I follow and decided to change it. These posts explored different types of friendships, and, more specifically, the varying strengths of friendships, how they change over the years, and how it can be difficult to meet new friends as we get older.

Reading those posts reminded me of how grateful I am that I have dear friends who are also neighbors.

When my husband and I moved into our neighborhood over 20 years ago, we already had good friends who lived just a few doors away. In fact, they were the ones who alerted us to the possible availability of our house before it went on the market.

Then, these original friends introduced us to several neighbors who also became our friends and, over the years, we’ve been lucky to acquire even more friends as they have moved into our hood. Although we have a core group of four couples who socialize regularly, we often get together for celebrations, barbeques, and holiday parties with many of our other neighbors too. Several of us are retired couples, but there are also a few singles, retired and not, and younger couples, with and without children.

Over the years, we’ve watched neighborhood children grow up and get successfully launched, helped each other with household projects, celebrated milestones, mourned losses, watched each other’s houses when traveling, and always knew we could rely on each other when any help was needed.

Our neighborhood feels very much like the one I grew up in during the 60s. It’s the type of neighborhood I hoped for when my husband and I were looking for a home to purchase, and I feel so fortunate to be a part of it. Unfortunately, neighborhoods like ours have become increasingly rare in our modern world, especially in larger cities. I’m sure there are many reasons why things have changed, but I believe, whatever the explanations, the loss to our sense of community is profound.

I am so grateful for all most (our neighborhood is great, but not perfect) of my neighbors, but primarily for our core group of eight. I am confident that any of them would jump to lend a hand if we needed it, and I hope they know the same about us. I’m also grateful that, after all these years, we still have fun together and have never gotten tired of celebrating our friendship.

Author: Janis @

My blog is about travel, relationships, photography, and whatever else pops into my head (even, sometimes, issues surrounding retirement and aging).

30 thoughts on “GratiTuesday: Great neighbors, great friends”

  1. You are so lucky. We have one couple friend but most of the neighbors keep to themselves. There has been a turnover so there are more young children and they always seem to be on the go. There hasn’t been a neighborhood function since our former next door neighbors moved several years ago. We have considered moving to one of those over 55 communities just to get a sense of community and make friends with our interests. You are indeed lucky.

      1. They do but we found out that living there involves a lot of restrictions. We have one too many pets. No vegetable plants not even in a pot on the deck. It just gets tedious. I’d love to move to your neighborhood!

  2. Yours is a unique and special neighborhood. I seem to recall that your wedding was in the backyard of one of your neighbors! In our neighborhood, I know the names of most of the dogs that walk past our house, as well as their owners. My neighbor across the street is one those that will watch out for us, and we watch out for her. (It’s a tradition; our parents were great friends.) I think a sense of community is what most of us would greatly appreciate, but your neighborhood is a far and away above that. You are indeed very lucky~!

    1. Yes! Our wedding was in a neighbor’s backyard and another neighbor was our best man (and, of course you know who our maid-of-honor was 😉). I think it’s really nice that you are able to continue the tradition set by your parents in your neighborhood!

  3. Wow, that is a great deal for you! We’ve had friends fairly close by over the years, but mostly parents of our sons friends. Now many of them are downsizing and moving to other places or neighborhoods. It’s nice that you have that built-in support system right there!

    1. It is sad when good friends move away. I imagine that will happen at some point to our core group too, but I hope not for a long while! The new people who move in now and then (there isn’t much turnover on our block) don’t seem as interested in socializing with the neighbors as we were when we moved in. Maybe it’s a generational thing.

  4. I am very envious. Unfortunately, we do not have that kind of neighborhood, and I miss it. Now that I am retired, I have the time and the energy to try to create a new community. It’s slow going, but so worth the effort.

      1. We used to have these rotating dinner parties, where the hostess designed the menu and assigned duties to the guests. We may get the salad order one time and the dessert the next. Usually they were attended by eight to twelve couples. Only four of those couples remain. We remain good friends with two of the couples that moved away and see them often. But, to be frank, we have invested less time in the newer families given the ages of our kids and their having friends over from school.

        1. It’s hard when a neighborhood changes over time. I love the idea of rotating dinner parties! We’ve had a few progressive dinners, where we start at one house (appetizers), and continue to other houses on the block for the different courses.

    1. I’d be so sad to lose any of our special group! Eventually, someone will probably move but we have pretty low turnover in this neighborhood. Many of our neighbors who are our peers bought their homes from the original owners, as we did.

  5. I think that’s really great. Friends who are also neighbors gives you a sense of security. A bit of that “It Takes A Village” theme even if it’s not really about raising children per se. I’ve moved so much that I never really developed close ties with any neighbors, and this has continued into my retirement too. But our next phase is actually buying a place, so perhaps it will all begin then.

    1. The only downside is that it’s almost impossible to walk up or down the block without seeing at least one neighbor and having an extended conversation. It’s difficult to take a quick walk anywhere. I hope whatever neighborhood you end up in is as wonderful as ours!

  6. Great post, Janis–on an important topic!! BTW – I love that you write your posts well ahead of time, and still have time to change your mind with a new idea. I greatly enjoy GratiTuesday-it always gives me much food for thought!

    1. I wish I always wrote my posts ahead of time! It’s probably the same for you – sometimes the topics just pop into my head and sometimes they play hide-and-seek with my brain. I’m glad you like GratiTuesdays… they help me focus on the good things in life (of which there are many)!

  7. I would love a neighborhood like yours! I have reached out to neighbors, invited them over for BBQ, but it’s just not the feel of this place. Our neighbors on one side have never even met the ones on our other side! We know most, by name, but we are the odd ones on the block. We are looking to right size, we just need less house (but more kitchen), and a walkable neighborhood is a must. I hope that means more people out & connecting.
    We also have some long term friends and they are one reason we are right sizing here in same city. We thought about moving south(it is 28 again this morning…not 82 like you), but I worry about starting over on friends who are there to just do stuff – go on hikes at the park, catch a lunch or happy hour, hang out on a Saturday night. I’m not sure all of these folks are the close, do anything for you friends, but they fill a need in my life.
    So, I am grateful also…for the neighbors I do know who are willing to get to know us in a neighborhood where it’s not done. And the friends we have around the city. They all bring joy into my life, in their own ways.

    1. It seems that most neighborhoods have a personality. I have heard that ours has always been like it is now, just with different (older, and gone now) neighbors. I wonder, though, how it might change with the newer families. They don’t seem to want to socialize as much. I think it’s a huge loss. Good luck finding your perfect neighborhood… and neighbors!

  8. How lucky you are to have such a wonderful community of neighbours … who are also very good friends.
    That’s one of the things I’ve always wished for and never achieved.
    I guess I’m just grateful that my closest friends are reasonably close by – give or take a 20 minute drive – and we all feel the same way … ie to follow the drift of retirees heading south wouldn’t be the same when good friends are left behind.

    1. Having friends who live close by is lucky too! I agree that it would be hard to lose friends when retiring to a different area. But, I guess just about everyone in the new place would be in the same boat and may be more open to new friendships.

  9. Your neighborhood DOES sound reminiscent of the 60s, when most neighbors were friendly. I think people today are so busy and overwhelmed that they don’t care about their neighbors. You are very fortunate, Janis. It really is something to be grateful for!

  10. Our neighborhood, a slightly older one, is much the same way. We have a core group of friends who look out for each other, and I (because I work from home and my office faces the front) am the Gladys Kravitz of the neighborhood. That said, these friendships are a main reason we had our minimalist epiphany and decided NOT to build a bigger home and move south of town. Friendships like these are precious!

    1. I am so happy to hear that you have a great neighborhood too! Friendships are precious and, as much as we might think we can maintain them, so easy to have fall away once a great distance is put between them. Good for you for deciding to stay and be surrounded by friends.

  11. You describe what a neighborhood is supposed to be like! Glad to hear this especially knowing where you live. We have too many rentals in our neighborhood, and the few that have been there as long as us are friendly and have gone through similar circumstances!

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