Is the age of knowing your neighbours a thing of the past?

A recent poll suggests it might be...

Gone are the days of popping round to borrow milk or sugar, throwing street parties or inviting your neighbours round for a barbecue. British homeowners now spend just an hour each year talking to their neighbours.

This is according to a poll of 1,507 homeowners by pensions advice specialist Portafina.

Only 23 per cent of those polled classed their neighbours as friends, and less than a third said they ‘live in a friendly neighbourhood and all talk’.

Read more: What makes a bad house guest?

road with many vehicles

(Image credit: David Iliff)

These are the top five reasons we don’t speak to our neighbours, as found by the poll:

1. Not wanting to invade their privacy
2. Liking our own privacy
3. Concern that we would have nothing in common
4. Being new to an area and not having met neighbours yet
5. Believing that our neighbour doesn’t like us

Where you live, the type of property you live in and your age may all play a significant role in your willingness to interact with those who live around you.

The survey showed that those under the age of 34 are more than twice as likely not to speak to their neighbours at all compared to over 55s.

'As much as attitudes have naturally changed due to the digital culture we live in, my feeling is that this outcome is largely due to the huge time pressures on our young people,' says Jamie Smith-Thompson, managing director at Portafina.

'In our later years we tend to have more time and inclinations to build stronger relationships with our neighbours – often building lasting friendships.'


Owners of detached properties are 50 per cent more likely to class their neighbours as friends than flat/apartment owners, implying that having distance from our neighbours could actually bring us closer together.

Across the whole of the UK, these are the five locations with the friendliest neighbours, based on time spent chatting with next door on average per month):

1. Norwich
2. Glasgow
3. Dublin
4. Nottingham
5. Newcastle

Read more: The top five family-friendly cities have been revealed

Do you interact with your neighbours? Let us know what you think about the results of this poll in the comments box below...