Wouldn’t it Be Nice to Get ON With Me Neighbours

That really annoying Small Faces song has been chugging around in my head while I’ve been thinking about this blog entry so I thought I’d share it. You’ll be singing it for days!

At the weekend some new people moved into the house next door and it got me wondering again about the old chestnut: do blind people face social isolation or do people in general not communicate any more?

I’ve lived in my house for over four years now and still don’t know anyone on my road apart from my immediate neighbours on one side and next door but one on the other, I don’t know who or where anyone is! People speak to me as they pass, but its just that.

I tried on Sunday to catch my new neighbours’ eye and say hello but couldn’t do it. When I spoke to my partner about this he said it probably wasn’t a blind thing. He thinks that neighbours just don’t talk to each other any more. He used his parents as an example. At one time they all had open house in their street. People went in and out and the kids got a drink and something to eat wherever they could. This doesn’t happen any more. Doors are locked and children are transported to friends’ houses in cars. It doesn’t make for a sociable society.

I did manage to speak to my neighbour on Monday morning. She was very surprised that I was on my way to work but pleasant enough. There’s always that niggle in the back of my mind. I wonder what she thinks about living next to a couple of blind people and a gobby black Labrador guide dog!

About Mel Griffiths

I live and work in Nottingham, England and am blind. This blog is often centred around things that happen to me because of being blind. This is my space to write and sometimes people will disagree with what I write, but its the one place I have in which to be frank and honest. I also like to reflect on the funnier side of life from time to time.
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4 Responses to Wouldn’t it Be Nice to Get ON With Me Neighbours

  1. Alan Humphries says:

    I’ve lived next door to my neighbours for two years and have never once spoken to them nor them to me – the only issue they had, they went through the landlord! Where I lived before, we knew one side but not the other. I think Gav’s right – we just don’t communicate any more. My experince as a child is the same as his – you could move between houses – one neighbour looked after us when my parents were called away to a family emergency – we didn’t even know they were gone as we were playing out! People these days don’t want to know about their neighbours (to be honest I don’t) – they just want to close their doors and live their own lives.

  2. Ian Beverley says:

    A good and thought provoking post Mel. Theres definitely truth in both the blindness and peopel just not talking to each other any more. However, I’ve lived in my block of flats for nearly 6 months now and whenever I try to say hi to anybody, they usually grunt and pick up speed to get where they’re going. I think that social isolation isn’t too strong a term to use in these instances.

    Keep up the good blog posts.

  3. Alan Humphries says:

    Are they grunting & getting to where they want to be quicker because we’re blind or because they’d do that anyway? In some cases it will be probably be a bit of both but in the majority I suspect they would do who ever it was. Community has systematically been broken down since the 1980s to the extent where the majority don’t care what’s going on around them and are just relieved it isn’t them when there’s a problem/issue that they don’t have to deal with. To a degree everyone is socially isolated whatever the reason people won’t engage with them – it could simply be they don’t like talking to fat people, black people, people who smell, they have a dog, they wear a hood etc.

  4. Val says:

    I think its a bit of both. In my last block of flats I knew quite a few of the people there and most people were really friendly. I find where we live now is reasonably ok. Our neighhours are odd and I’ve never even seen them to seak to, but I’ve had other people say hello to me in the street and some good chats with local old ladies at bus stops.

    I think the real issue is that most of us are too busy to stop and chat these days. Now I have a bit more time to chat I’ve found people to be much more approachable then I’d have expected. The other thing that holds people back is shyness. People don’t like to make the first move, and if you add the that the worry of “saying the wrong thing” it makes it even harder to start a conversation.



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