Skip to main content

What Kind of Neighbor Are You?


Etiquette expert Patricia Rossi shares personality traits and types

By Margie Jacinto

From sending over a bowl of chicken noodle soup when someone’s feeling under the weather to giving sound advice on local schools, doctors, and businesses around your area, a good neighbor knows how to make those around him feel welcome. So how can you tell just what type of neighbor you are? Etiquette and protocol coach Patricia Rossi shares some revealing traits to help determine your neighborly persona.

The Thoughtful Giver

Characteristics: Your pantry is always packed with cookies and casserole ingredients. Greeting cards for every occasion are always on-hand. Children and pets make you smile.

Thoughtful givers are doers to say the least, and lending a hand comes naturally. If a neighbor is ill, this kind of personality may volunteer to do anything from mowing the lawn to cooking a meal. He or she remembers special occasions and won’t hesitate to send a card. When someone nearby has plans to go out of town, one can count on the thoughtful giver to pick up the mail, water the plants, or run a small errand while that person is away.

The Informed Neighbor

Characteristics: You know the best doctors, lawn care specialists, and mechanics around. You’re part of the community watch program or homeowners’ association board. You know if your neighbor’s ill or has just given birth.

If anyone has the scoop on the neighborhood, it’s the informed neighbor. A great resource for outsourcing outside help, getting great recommendations for local restaurants and more, insight is this person’s greatest contribution. Rossi adds, “They will watch your house when you travel. They will keep you informed in a positive manner about other neighbors [or tenants]—if they need help or support. They might suggest a neighborhood mixer three or four times a year or maybe even a progressive dinner —where each house serves a different course.”

The Potluck Person

Characteristics: Cooking/entertainment show episodes are stored in your DVR. Sugar is just one of the many ingredients you buy in bulk. Your dinning room is always buffet-ready.

Like the kitchen is said to be the heart of the home, the potluck person’s hospitality thrives best on good food and drink. Though not necessarily the host of every party, this personality loves to converse over a good meal, exchange recipes and get to know those nearby through food-related functions. The potluck person is always ready to share a meal if a neighbor is in need of help, or just a little bit of comfort.

The New Neighbor

What if you just moved into the community? Try throwing a meet-and-greet or perhaps inviting the folks next door or on your same floor over for dinner. If you’re short on time or find a full dinner to be a bit much, have them over for a shorter stay and offer them a hot pot of coffee or delicious dessert instead. And if you’re not quite ready to have company over, even the smallest steps can make a big impact. Rossi says, “Smiling, waving, and simply asking how someone is doing can really go a long way.”