I never thought I'd be great buds with a retired man who rides through the neighborhood every day on a golf cart, but Chuck is awesome!  And he's proof that getting to know our neighbors is a really good thing.

There's a big gym about a mile away from my house, and one day I was the only one in the warm water pool and Chuck came strolling in for a dip.  We talked while we were treading water and doing some pool jogs, and discovered that we lived in the same neighborhood, just a block away from each other.  We kept showing up to swim at the same times during the week, and before long I knew all about his family and the health issues he's overcome and what kind of wine he likes with dinner.  And he's got my dirt, so if you ever want to write one of those unauthorized biographies, look up Chuck and he'll give you some of my entertaining Tinder stories at the very least.

I've mentioned Chuck to other neighbors and they all say, "Oh yeah!  The golf cart guy!" Chuck cruises around the neighborhood on his golf cart almost every afternoon, and he's also been known to take the back way to the bank and the grocery store on that souped-up ride.  It's got blinkers and headlights and a horn and everything.

Everyone always says we should get to know our neighbors, and since I've become buds with Chuck, I've got five reasons why that's totally true.

5 Reasons Why We Should Know Our Neighbors

1.  A Sense of Community.  I'm completely curious about people and not in a nosey way, but just wondering what makes them tick.  Where they're from, if they like to cook, what they do on a Saturday afternoon when nothing is scheduled, and if they are night owls or morning people.  People are interesting, and knowing which types are around us can help us feel more connected.

2.  We Learn New Things.  Neighbors know what's happening around the neighborhood, and they can keep us updated on construction and rules and things.  And sometimes they can recommend a good handyman when the dryer is on the fritz.  Chuck has shown me the quickest way to get to Walmart without using main roads, and he's reinforced the value of saving for retirement and taking time to volunteer.  Some of the stuff I learn from him he has no idea he's teaching.

3.  Our Social Circles Grow.  Becoming good friends with someone unexpected is really rewarding.  Chuck makes me laugh, and he's got a good soul, and that makes talking to him very easy.  We can all use a friend like that.

4.  Safety.  I'm a single mom, and I want someone nearby to check on us once in awhile, just to make sure we're all still kickin'.  Chuck's golf-cart drive-bys make me feel a little safer, and I know he'd call for backup if he needed to.

5.  It feels good.  Having real friends is so much better than watching people on social media.  With real live face-to-face interaction, we get to see the look on someone's actual face instead of an emoji face, and we see that real people don't really wink all that much or wear devil horns or halos.  And you get the whole story and not just the highlights.

So here's to getting out of the comfort zone and out into the neighborhood more often.  Go forth and meet a Chuck!  You'll be glad you did.

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