Column: Hello, neighbor


Commentary by Jeff Worrell

Alexandra Hudson, author of the book, “The Soul of Civility,” returned to Carmel to continue the conversation about how we can nurture a culture of civility in our community. It was during the robust discussion session that we discovered a sad reality: fewer and fewer of us know our neighbors.

As a city councilor, I can confirm that in many calls I receive about neighborhood problems, when I ask, “Have you talked to your neighbor about it?” The answer routinely is, “I don’t know my neighbor.”

And so, the Civility Corps left our second community event determined to meet our potential new friends.

Ms. Hudson encouraged us to make the effort to knock on our neighbors’ door, regardless of how uncomfortable and vulnerable the thought makes us. She acknowledged the very real possibility that people might not respond in the preferred way we might want them to, or, they might not necessarily even want to know us.

But, the good news is that research shows that people are much more receptive to bids of affection than we realize or assume. People are actually open to it and desire it. And, she argues, our democracy depends on it.

So, Carmel, start with a wave and get to know your neighbors.