Is knowing your neighbours a 'class' thing?

(50 Posts)
StuRedman Tue 17-May-16 16:58:00

I'm not even sure I mean class, maybe income level? Bear with me.

I live on a small new build estate, made up of large 4/5 bed detached houses and then some HA terraces and a small block of shared ownership flats. About forty properties in total. We've all lived here for two years.

Most of the people who live in the flats/terraces are friends. Their children all play out together, they pop into each other's houses for coffee or to borrow stuff, they mind each other's children, help out with other things, basically a really tight and supportive little community. This includes one anomaly family from the detached houses.

The other detached houses on the other hand, despite also being predominantly young families, are only on nodding terms with each other. They'll take in parcels etc but that's about it.

I've been thinking on it for a little while and wondering if it's just coincidence or whether there is some sort of social conditioning at play. I don't like class lables but I suppose what I mean is that the outwardly 'middle class' lot don't socialise with each other like the 'working class' lot do.

Does your experience of where you live bear out my theory or am I barking?

P.S I am genuinely not being goady, I'm just having a ponder.

DailyFaily Tue 17-May-16 17:01:52

I live in a terraced flat and am on nodding terms with my neighbours, no more than that.

DailyFaily Tue 17-May-16 17:02:52

Oh and class wise, I'd say it's a mixture of working/middle class on our street/town

rememberthebacon Tue 17-May-16 17:03:52

I live in a terrace - mixture of privately rented and owner occupied but small houses so probably not "middle class". Most people are on good terms with each other but not as friendly as you describe the HA folk - somewhere between them and the detached house people. Before here we lived in a typical Scottish 19th C tenement block and no one spoke to each other if they could help it - most residents were students or on their 20s, privately renting and I guess from a mixture of class backgrounds.

So, I'm not sure if YABU or not grin

SeriousCreativeBlock Tue 17-May-16 17:04:32

Middle class upbringing in a council flat right over here. I'm on friendly terms with most of my neighbours so I'm not sure it's a class thing.

Nottalotta Tue 17-May-16 17:05:04

I think you are kind of right. We lived on a council estate when I was a child, then in a house my parents bought, neear to a council estate (with similar families to ours as neighbours. As in, previous council tenants) things were as you describe in your ha houses. Then we moved, parents business was doing well, bought a larger detached house. Never ever knew the neighbours. No children to play with. However, they have moved again after years in that house, to a much more expensive area, and the neighbours are all friendly. So, in my very limited experience it depends where you are on the class/income scale. Friendly, not friendly, then friendly again.

KatieHopkinsAteMyHamster99 Tue 17-May-16 17:06:16

Interesting. I hardly knew my neighbours at all when we lived in the city (terraced houses) but living in a small town I know most of the neighbours to say hello to, and socialise with a fair few families. We have a detached house but most others are semis/terraced. So I've noticed more of a difference between city and small town than by "social class"

sparechange Tue 17-May-16 17:06:21

I live in a terrace in a naice bit of SW London.
I'm v good mates with our next door neighbours, and they are veh posh! We have keys to each other's houses, have been away for a long weekend, have dinner together once a week or so

Of the 12 houses in our end of the street, we are friends with 7 of the houses - most have everyone over for a dinner/bbq/drinks a couple of times a year, meet for drinks, have each other's numbers etc

A mix of professional couples, families with young kids, family with older kids, older retired couple

BillSykesDog Tue 17-May-16 17:07:52

I think it's a matter of proximity and space more than anything else. In flats and terraces you're thrown together more often and in situations where the interaction is more forced simply by the fact you are closer together when they happen. And that breaks down the initial ice which leads to proper neighbourly relations.

Put it this way, if you put your bins out at the same time as your neighbour in a terrace you won't get away just with a wave and will probably have to exchange niceties. Ditto being in the garden at the same time, you can't help but overhear and then you find out what football team they support and that your kids both like bloody Shopkins. It's a space thing.

exexpat Tue 17-May-16 17:14:20

I would guess it's more to do with them being detached and people coming and going by car, so they have little chance to stop and chat with neighbours. And two years is not that long to get to know each other.

I live on a pretty expensive, very middle class street (lawyers, doctors, teachers, university professors etc), and most of the neighbours know each other pretty well - but the street is full of semi-detached Victorian houses, built close together, tiny front gardens etc, and most of us come and go on foot a lot of the time, so there are plenty of opportunities to bump into each other and chat on the street. We also have street parties every now and again. And probably just as importantly, lots of people have been here for five or ten or twenty years, so the neighbourly/community feel has had time to build up.

StuRedman Tue 17-May-16 17:14:23

Oh good point about the proximity, that probably comes into it.

it is funny how evenly it's split though, I do often feel like I'm in the middle of some weird social experiment (we are the anomaly family btw).

TheoriginalLEM Tue 17-May-16 17:14:43

i have often thougjt this. Saying that i am working class and am pretty antisocial. polite and friendly but not iverly. We live on a terraced street with council properties either end. My neighbour is always in and out of the house over the road. they are friends but have older kids. Both single parents maleand female. i say hello.

maybe the people in the bigger houses are at work? have older children so less likely to play out?

I do think your perception is correct though but i don't know why.

ManonLescaut Tue 17-May-16 17:18:04

No, I think it's an area thing.

Currently on posting in Paris, but our main house is in SW London. We know all the neighbours round about. Some are the same kind of background as me - public school, professional - others are a mix of all kinds of backgrounds/regions/nationalities. There's a really nice northern guy who lives over the road with a Tiger Mom wife (HKC), she's not very friendly but I think that's just her. Our next door neighbours are a gay couple, one's S. African, the other's Indian British.

One of my friends moved to a road in Fulham with her husband and child and no-one spoke to them for the whole year they lived there. Very odd because she's a classic Sloane like everyone else there, so I can only imagine it was just an unfriendly street.

dowhatnow Tue 17-May-16 17:18:37

i moved into a new build estate of quite large houses. My best friends now comprise a group of neighbours within 100m of each other. We all had babies at the same time. I know other neighbours because our older children play together.

I think it is children rather than anything else, that determines how much you have to do with the neighbours.

My sister says she is jealous of my neighbourhood network.

I think with newbuilds a lot of people are at the same life stage and are looking to make friends. When we moved in 15 years ago though, there was no social housing. Maybe we did have professional jobs as the "glue".

MrsJayy Tue 17-May-16 17:19:23

I'm working class but antisocial I couldn't cope with people in and out all day however when the kids were young they all played on the street and we would watch out for each other's kids the estate up the road from where I lived were friendlier with each other

MadamDeathstare Tue 17-May-16 17:19:58

I agree with BillSykesDog and ExExPat.

We lived on a middle class street of detached houses. We barely new the neighbors because they all worked, I was a SAHM, and I hardly ever saw them.

When we moved to another middle class street of detached houses there was much more of a community. There were 30 children under the age of 10 on our cul-de-sac. They all came out to play with their parents supervising them so of course we got to talking as we were in each other's company for a couple of hours a day in the evenings, and our DC played in each other's houses all the time. We would regularly have celebrations like Easter egg hunts, pizza at the pool, end of school year water fights, ice cream on someone's driveway. Now the children are older and don't play together as much and we parents don't see each other as much either.

ManonLescaut Tue 17-May-16 17:20:37

*I meant to say that they moved to Chiswick and they're friends with most of the people on their street. She happened to move next door to another old friend of mine & get on really well...

Kitty3E Tue 17-May-16 17:21:39

I think middle class to rich are more social. However in general most don't talk to their neighbours (in london anyway) because most people are dicks who will use whatever you say to them in confidence against you one day.

NeedACleverNN Tue 17-May-16 17:21:50

How do you define class anyway?

I've always said we are working class but my dh insists we are middle class.

We've compromised and said upper working class/lower middle class for now but how do you know for sure??

Either way we don't socialise with our neighbours. They don't speak English very well so we have a language barrier

CantWaitForWarmWeather Tue 17-May-16 17:22:43

I wonder how many of the middle class ones are sulking because of the people in HA houses almost identical to theirs grin

LittleHouseOnTheShelf Tue 17-May-16 17:26:23

I never talk to my neighbours, I don't like them and they don't like me. We live in a typical small road of detached houses.

ManonLescaut Tue 17-May-16 17:27:48

However in general most don't talk to their neighbours (in london anyway) because most people are dicks who will use whatever you say to them in confidence against you one day

First part yes, second part - wtf?

London isn't generally that sociable because it's a big city and people are busy.

Madbengalmum Tue 17-May-16 17:28:15

No, i believe it is an area thing. I live in a village with a manor house, a rectory, and mostly large properties and people are well educated and they talk to each other. I would expect big cities to be very different though.

MrsEricBana Tue 17-May-16 17:30:03

I don't think it's class/income, I think it's dependent on who lives there. Our street was politely friendly then over the last few years two very friendly families have moved in and it is they that have really brought people together. No class or income changes.

HowBadIsThisPlease Tue 17-May-16 17:30:40

I think the density / closeness thing goes both ways though - sometimes in big cities, there are lots of people moving in and out of flats in very close proximity to each other, and there is a sort of social contract that you aren't required to do more than nod hello, or it's all just too much.

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