There is a trade off between community and privacy. We believe the gains are worth it, but there is the risk of some people gossiping about others. Discussing another’s situation can be out of interest or concern and can lead to offers of help, or it can be idle gossiping, and can upset the person being talked about. Idle gossiping is breaching a neighbour’s privacy.

All you can do is discuss the issue with the group and ask for a group agreement (or ground rule) to not gossip about others. Each person can be responsible for ending a conversation if it is purely gossip, reminding the speaker that the group has agreed not to gossip.

Having the right amount of contact with your neighbours can be challenging, with some loving it when others drop in regularly and others wishing their neighbour wouldn’t start a conversation with them every time they went into their garden. Again, all you can do is:

  • discuss this at a meeting and decide how you will handle it
  • try to pick up on your neighbour’s non-verbal communication about whether they want the contact
  • be direct, but polite, when necessary (eg. Sorry, I’m pretty busy with the family so I won’t invite you in now, but I’ll see you at our meeting next Wednesday).

As with everything, communication is the key.

The Street by Street Project only uses your contact information to communicate with you about community matters and does not share your information with other organisations.