Where have all the neighbours gone?

When was the last time you had your neighbour around for a cup of tea? Do you even know what their name is? How often do you get to catch up with your friends, or talk to them on the phone, or write them a letter? When was the last time you met someone new, and struck up a new friendship? Sadly, the answer for many of us ‘busy’ people out there is rarely, or never. Is sitting down for a conversation with a friendly face really such a waste of time?

Recently I read an article that explored the idea that although the time we have for leisure activities has increased, we are feeling busier than ever. I think perhaps that’s why we’ve lost our sense of community. Because we’re too busy getting our own stuff together to care much about everyone else. We’re so caught up in our own business of living that we’ve forgotten about the outside world. We give more time and attention to our careers, tidy homes and other ‘productive’ outputs than we do our relationships. And I think it’s hurting us.

There are more people living on Earth than ever before, living closer to each other than ever before, and yet people are still feeling isolated, lonely and depressed. As a young person who moved to a new town, far away from family and friends, and become a stay at home mum I can truly say there was no lonelier time in my life. They say it takes a tribe to raise a child, and yet most of us are doing it on our own, behind closed doors. No wonder so many of us are struggling.

It’s sad to think that my local Country Womens’ Association branch is closing due to a lack of new memberships. CWA is a wonderful organisation that is all about women supporting each other and their community and yet no one wants to be part of it anymore. Why is it now considered lame or trivial to spend time with other women doing fun activities such as cooking or craft, talking about our struggles and dreams, making friends with people from an older generation, and working together on community projects?

I think it’s because we’re just so out of touch with each other. We’re glued to social media without realising it’s a world that only exists in our devices. It satisfies our need for information but leaves a massive gap when it comes to feeling truly connected. I hate to say it but it even feels a little bit lazy and I am the first to admit it… I am guilty of being a lazy friend. Posts and comments on Facebook don’t even start to compare to a hug and a chat over a cup of tea. And the reason? Because I am sooooooo busy. Well goodbye busy! It’s time for a new perspective on things. It’s about time I started placing more value on relationships and a sense of community over getting things done and scrolling through my newsfeed.

Last night I caught up with a friend I hadn’t seen in ages. We shared a nice bottle of wine and just talked. I feel like I’ve hit the reset button, like a huge weight has come off my shoulders, and that I belong. It truely is a wonderful feeling.

So lookout neighbours and old friends… I’m coming for you! Xx