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 Every society sets expectations and has “social norms.” In society, can chose to follow certain rules or guidelines if we seek to enjoy a positive and comfortable relationship with others. These societal rules are absorbed and learned almost naturally from the people who surround us. In the 21st century, societal communication has changed due to technology, including how we interact with neighbors. Here are 5 tips to be the expert in neighborly etiquette:

  • To text or to knock?  If you have an established relationship with your neighbor and you normally knock on the door without texting, then continuing to do so would be standard protocol. However, if you have your neighbor’s mobile number and you’re able to text prior to a door knock, it’s polite to text first. Advance texting allows your neighbor to respond. They may not be home, or the timing may be inconvenient. Refrain from texting at odd hours, late at night or early in the morning. The best times to text are between 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. on weekends. If you don’t have your neighbor’s cell number, it’s fine to knock.
  • Coordinating the Kids: Similar to adult-to-adult, kids will want to check with the parents before knocking. In this case, it is best to have a discussion with neighboring parents to establish preferences and ground rules for the kiddos. For example, kids may only be able to knock unannounced after school up until 6 p.m. and on weekends between noon and 6 pm.
  • Neighbors on Facebook: You are under no obligation to send your neighbors a friend request. Friending anyone on Facebook is highly personal, and if you are not comfortable with sending or accepting a neighbor’s friend request then don’t do so.
  • Mind the Cameras: As an attorney and etiquette expert, for reasons of privacy I would encourage land or property owners to limit the scope of all videotaping to the boundary of their own property line. To confirm that you are not videotaping your neighbor’s property, double check your videotape during day and nighttime hours.

In our techy world, it’s still the neighborly thing to do to be friendly with our neighbors. Keep these tips in mind and have fun in the neighborhood!


Sharon Schweitzer and Sophie Echeverry co-wrote this post. Sharon Schweitzer, J.D., is a cross-cultural trainer, modern manners expert, and the founder of Access to Culture. In addition to her accreditation in intercultural management from the HOFSTEDE Centre and the Intercultural Communication Institute, she serves as a Chinese Ceremonial Dining Etiquette Specialist in the documentary series Confucius was a Foodie, on Nat Geo People. She is the resident etiquette expert on two popular lifestyle shows: ABC Tampa Bay’s Morning Blend and CBS Austin’s We Are Austin. She is regularly quoted by BBC Capital, Investor’s Business Daily, and Fortune. Her Amazon #1 Best Selling book in International Business, Access to Asia: Your Multicultural Business Guide, now in its third printing, was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2015. She’s a winner of the British Airways International Trade Award at the 2016 Greater Austin Business Awards and the 2017 New York City Big Book Award for Multicultural Nonfiction.

Sophie Echeverry is the Corporate Marketing Manager and Event Coordinator at Access to Culture. Born and raised in Colombia, she’s a 2018 graduate with a B.B.A. in International Business and Marketing from Hult International Business School in San Francisco, CA. Sophie has co-written more than 30 blogs since graduation. She’s a passionate foodie, and an avid e-scooter rider. Follow her foodie Instagram account or Connect with her on LinkedIn.