Who are our new neighbours?

neighbours.jpgDo you know who’s on the other side of your fence?

We don’t seem to chat across the fence or drop in next door for a cup of sugar anymore, but does that mean we’ve lost a sense of neighbourhood. It would seem the answer is yes … and no.

Researchers are saying that while we may not interact with those living in our own street we’ve simply shifted from suburbia to the office. We’re being told that the people we see each day in our workplace have become our new neighbours.

OFFICES are replacing traditional neighbourhoods as people prefer to befriend co-workers instead of those living down the street and busy careers limit opportunities for socialising.

KPMG demographer Bernard Salt said many people opted to talk to their workmates across the office partition rather than chat to their neighbours over the fence.News.com.au

We’ve only been in our current house for about five months and we haven’t got to know our neighbours very well but we have introduced ourselves to the people either side of us and we wave a cheery hello to others in the street. Still, it’s not quite the same as when I was growing up and we’d wander from house to house with friends in the street.

Do you know the people in your street or do you socialise more with workmates?

A recent survey of 2100 Australian households for NRMA Insurance found nearly half the population never or rarely spoke to their neighbours.

A third of people said they were too busy to get to know the people over the fence and just one in five knew all of their neighbours’ names, the poll found.News.com.au

Have we lost something by changing our ‘neighbourhood’? It’s great to have healthy friendships with the people we see each day at work but knowing that you can depend on those in your street and that they can rely on you to watch out for their interests is something that workplace friendships can’t replace.

If you had an emergency at home could you call on the person next door? Do they know that they can call on you if they need help?

Socialising with workmates means we’re more likely to have common interests, after all we work in the same industry, but I wonder if that means that we lose the diversity of connecting with people from quite different waks of life.

What’s your idea of neighbourhood? I’d really appreciate your thoughts. Please leave a comment or two.

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Does Marriage Change Friendships?

friend.jpgSteve left an interesting comment on the previous post regarding friendship. I’m hoping that we can get a discussion going to provide a few answers.

In part, this is what he had to say:

Here’s a question I battle with everyday. I could be generalising here too; Why do single friends phone and come over your place every weekend and then once they get married, you never hear from them again.

Does marriage make life too busy? Does your partner refuse you to still have your single friends?

Steve was part of the church I grew up in many years ago. It’s been a long while since we’ve caught up. 

I left a lengthy reply in the comments section of the last post but I though it’d be worth getting some other perspectives? Are you a married person who no longer hangs out with your single friends or a single person who is losing married friends? Have you found that things stayed pretty much the same after marriage?

Here are some of the thoughts I shared in my reply.

Relationships certainly do change after marriage. I know that in some relationships one or the other partner will ‘forbid’ their other half from getting together with some of their friends. I’d hate to be in such a relationship. I would never dictate such things to Pauline and she would never dictate such things to me.

I think it’s right that a greater emphasis is placed onto building the marriage partnership than on other friendships. Things can’t remain the same forever. On the other hand I think it’s wrong to become so insular in a marriage relationship that you break long term friendships. Even married couples need to remain as part of a wider community.

Friendships are based on a lot of things including shared interests and proximity.

I think marriage does change your interests somewhat, even more so when you add children into the mix. A single person will often have different interests to a married person.

As for proximity, Pauline and I are now living across the other side of the city from where we used to live so there are many people, both married and single, that we no longer see as often.

I think that friendships begin, change and end for a variety of reasons. We all go through various ‘seasons’ in our lives. Things change, we move on.

I’d also have to say that it’s not all down to those who are married. It goes both ways. A number of our single friends stopped staying in touch after we married. While scheduling is sometimes an issue we’ve never said ‘no’ to an invitation to get together with a single friend.

So what do you think? Have you felt hurt when a friend has moved to a different phase of their life? Have you noticed this phenomenon in your own life?

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