How to Be a Good Neighbor

How to Be a Good Neighbor

September 28 is National Good Neighbor Day. Created in the early 1970s by Becky Mattson of Lakeside, Montana, this day celebrates the importance of creating a connected and caring community.

In 1978, President Jimmy Carter issued a proclamation for the day stating, “The noblest human concern is concern for others. Understanding, love, and respect build cohesive families and communities…For most of us, this sense of community is nurtured and expressed in our neighborhoods where we give each other an opportunity to share and feel part of a larger family…I call upon the people of the United States and interested groups and organizations to observe such day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.”

In honor of Good Neighbor Day, Jil Littlejohn joined us on our Caine Live webinar series to share her tips for being neighborly. Jil is a Former Greenville City Council Member and Mayor Pro Tem. She was the first African American CEO and Executive Director of the YWCA as well as the first and youngest female CEO for the Urban League of the Upstate. She also serves as a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion practitioner.

This topic is especially important considering the Upstate’s rapid growth. In fact, Greenville County projects 40 percent population growth over the next 20 years. That means we’ll see an additional 200,000 residents come to the area by the year 2040. Spartanburg County is also projected to add nearly 40,000 residents by 2030. That’s a nearly 13 percent increase.

As more people move to the Upstate, Jil said that real estate agents hold the key to our cities, as they are often the first people newcomers interact with while they look for a home. So, how are we welcoming them? She had us consider these three tips.


Build belonging.
One way to do this is by practicing active listening. As humans, we are all prone to making assumptions, but we can learn from others and better understand their point of view if we listen actively. If you are actively listening, you are not just hearing what the other person is saying but seeking to truly understand it.

One example is if someone is asking you a question. Do you find yourself trying to formulate your answer before they have even finished stating the question? Instead, pause. Stop and listen. Even ask them to repeat the question. Then you can respond with a more meaningful answer.


Be comfortable with being uncomfortable.
It is okay if you don’t have all the answers. Speak up when you don’t know or don’t understand. Ask questions like, “Can you help me understand?” or “How can I be of assistance?” Getting clarification helps you move forward, explore new territory, and learn new things.


Get involved.
Giving back and meeting new people outside of your circles is a great way to expand your local knowledge and awareness. Organizations like the United Way, Ten at the Top, the Urban League of the Upstate, the Hispanic Alliance, Safe Harbor, and United Ministries offer educational and volunteer opportunities that can help you develop broader connections in the Upstate.


In a time where we’re spending more time at home than ever before, our neighbors have helped make our houses feel more like home. At Coldwell Banker Caine, we strive to help everyone across the Upstate find a home where they can thrive and find neighbors who feel like home.