Neighbours... Everybody Needs Good Neighbours

It’s commonly thought that in the age of digital communication people are less interested in human interaction and more preoccupied with staring at their smartphones. Generally, it’s believed that the art and joy of being a neighbour or feeling a part of a community, have been lost in recent years. At People’s Postcode Lottery, however, that hasn’t been our experience of communities – so we set out to find out more.

To do so, we surveyed over 2,000 people from around the country, including both renters and homeowners, to find out just what the country’s attitudes toward their neighbours are.

Love your Neighbour

Of all respondents polled, half always try to speak to their neighbours, suggesting the spirit of community is alive and well in the UK. Interestingly, our research also dispelled the common stereotype that younger generations, particularly those in temporary, rented accommodation, are less likely to build relationships with their neighbours. This demographic came out top for the most likely to make an effort, with a huge 78% interacting with their neighbours more in real life than any other way (i.e. via email).

Previous studies have also shown that most Brits couldn’t tell you their neighbour’s name, however, our research paints a much brighter picture. We found that as few as 1 in 5 people (around 17%) didn’t know the name of their neighbours. Additionally, our results indicated that the age-old habit of popping round to borrow a cup of milk is still very much common, with 6 in 10 respondents saying they’d ask their neighbour to borrow bread, sugar or similar items.

The New Neighbourly

Contrary to popular opinions, digital forms of communication like social media, email and WhatsApp could have helped people to build better relations with their neighbours. Nearly half of our respondents (44%) said that they were a part of a community social media group. Largely run through Facebook, these are set up by groups of like-minded users so communities can share news, report crimes and ask for help on a greater scale. 28% of all our respondents reported being part of their local Facebook group.

The Big Issue

But what are the issues that get people talking? In the age of digital communication, are there certain things that are best-discussed face-to-face, or left on the building’s notice-board? Going on holiday was the most likely topic to get people talking, with 76% of people saying they’d inform their neighbours if they were going away, either digitally or in real life. Older groups were more likely to speak to their neighbours with an issue, with over half (57%) saying they’d pick up face-to-face. On the other hand, people in flats were less likely to confront neighbours directly if they had a grievance, with only 48% saying they would. Overall, however, nearly a quarter of respondents (23%) said they’d avoid confronting neighbours about any problem.

Building Bridges

Lastly, we asked our respondents if they’d like to be closer to their neighbours, and if so what would make them interact more often. Across the board, our respondents said that if they had clear shared interests (such as noticing them carrying similar sporting equipment), this would make them more likely to engage their neighbours in conversation. Also, it’s clear we’re a nation of animal lovers, as nearly 1 in 5 of us (19%) would chat to our neighbours if they had a dog.

So, there we have it – getting to know your neighbours certainly isn’t going out of fashion. If you’d like the chance to win with your neighbours find out how to play People’s Postcode Lottery online today.