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to think there is such a thing as society?

(40 Posts)
Penstemmon Mon 04-Aug-14 22:47:38

I find that the current financial climate polarises folk. Some people are re ally inward looking whereas others put themselves out to make things easier for others. What's your response in tough situations?

Ana Mon 04-Aug-14 22:51:51

Whose tough situations? Are you asking whether we'd help out someone in need? confused (in which case the answer is obviously 'yes')

Penstemmon Mon 04-Aug-14 23:07:05

Hardened attitudes is what I mean . Less neighbourliness or community attitude. A sort of 'kick the cat' outlook.

merlotgran Mon 04-Aug-14 23:13:58

Haven't noticed anything like that round here hmm

HollyDaze Mon 04-Aug-14 23:17:26

The area I live on the Island is very much like that - it came as a bit of a shock when I moved here just how unfriendly and insular they all are. They turn out to do various charitable work and then scurry back indoors again.

One day, I smelt smoke, quite an acrid smoke and went out to see which direction it was coming from and noticed it was coming from the rear of the house of an elderly lady who lives a few doors up from my house. The whole area where I live in not particularly friendly and never has been but I went to make sure she was okay. She had accidently set the chip pan on fire but had managed to put it out. Not one other neighbour went to see if she was okay.

So many instances of a lack of neighbourliness and/or community attitude - one chap wanted to get a street party going for something or other and asked if I'd help (I said I would) but neighbours were not interested in attending let alone helping him.

Terrafirma1 Mon 04-Aug-14 23:30:34

I wondered if this had influenced you when you said on another thread thst it is not your responsibility to "worry about the world and his wife" and you feel that is the job of "politicians and charities". Where would you draw the "community" boundary? And is not caring (for want of a better word) about the wider global community not just another example of insularity.

absent Tue 05-Aug-14 00:23:09

Human beings only survived because they were/are social animals and, of course, there is such a thing as a society. In fact, there are many societies or social groupings, from small ones - the family, the neighbours, the dog walkers in the park - to medium ones - the school, the church, the supporters' club, the workplace - larger ones - the city, the county, the local region - to large ones - the country, the global region. And we are all members of the human race. How all these societies operate and how positive they are for their own well-being is dependent on the individuals who form them.

grannyactivist Tue 05-Aug-14 00:27:58

I'm happy to say that where I live there are many communities of the sort that absent has mentioned and that generally there is still a great deal of care and concern both within and between the various groupings.

granjura Tue 05-Aug-14 13:06:31

It is amazing how our 'roots' influence our reaction. I always find it strange that people often react in a 'one track mind' kind of way- either on the left, or on the right, or from a Christian or Atheist perspective- or British or European- etc- because it is where 'home' is. My family and OH's family come from all over the place, and are affilitated to all sorts of religions, and athiesm/humanism, cultures, social 'classes', etc, etc,. And this strongly influences the way I react to most issues- as I try to see things from all sides. Perhaps too I often try to please everybody- and become a bit of a chameleon- but as I get older and my parents (who came from VERY different backgrounds in so many ways) it is becoming easier to avoid this.

Politically, although politics fascinate me, and are the solutions to so many problems- I found it very difficult in the UK- as the 'winner takes all' or 'first past the post' system- meant my vote always ended up in the bin- and were I could not become involved due to the left/right ridiculous seesaw.

bimbadeen Tue 05-Aug-14 17:59:29

A lady contacted me recently re people being neighbouly and she has been so disappointed at her reception , she is a single mum working from home , child about 3 years of age, not certain if she has a partner but she is amazed at how unfriendly the neighbours are , don't speak and don't want to speak to her. Is some of this attitude due to television ,and using computers ?

rubylady Wed 06-Aug-14 00:28:53

I live on a council estate and it's like still living in the 70's. Everyone knows everyone else, new people get welcomed with open arms, we all look out for the elderly, new babies are rejoiced, children play in the street, if I need help there is always someone around to help. I don't do well in areas where people keep themselves to themselves. In my last home, private housing, you could have been lying on the floor for a month and no one would be bothered. So please don't take notice of what is portrayed on the television about council estates, they are not people skiving on benefits, they are a wealth of caring individuals struggling together and helping one another. smile

grannyactivist Wed 06-Aug-14 01:05:27

rubylady my mum has lived on the same council estate for 81 years. She moved there at the age of 4 when the estate was still being built. She has friends nearby that she was at school with and she knows all of her neighbours and many of their children and grandchildren. She rarely goes out now, but stops to chat when she does and still seems to find out all the news of the estate. smile

AlieOxon Wed 06-Aug-14 06:38:19

A mixed lot here. I think according to who bought the council houses they were living in and who came after?
I try to be a good neighbour myself but...
One older lot near living with a wolf-pack of large dogs; one (next to me unfortunately) letting their house, bought, go to rack and ruin.
Others across the road are old hats here and friendly.
But my friendly neighbour next door, here a long while, has just died after a long struggle with cancer.

Joan Wed 06-Aug-14 08:44:13

I live in a small Australian suburb and have very friendly neighbours. The little 6 year old next door is almost like a grand child to me, her Mum and I chat occasionally, the single woman at the corner comes for walks with me, the little lass, and all our dogs. We often have a coffee together. Old John and young Carol round the corner own two horses each, and let the little lass help with them, and have a ride on Saturdays. Up the street a young 15 year old has just gone back to live with her Nan, I knew her when she lived here before when she was younger, and now she has a cute puppy which my pretend grandchild loves to see.....

I think it is a true society - the sort Thatcher said didn't exist. I'm sure there are similar places in Britain. But there are also insular places too. My suburb is very working class: I once lived in a posh suburb only about miles away, and everyone was insular.

Joan Wed 06-Aug-14 08:44:39

8 miles, I meant to say.

Mishap Wed 06-Aug-14 09:24:27

I am just reading The Moneyless Man by Mark Boyle; and he has a great deal to say about this. He identifies the use (and worship) of money as one of the reasons that society functions in a less communal and more insular way.

It is a book worth reading if only for its very simple explanation (one paragraph) of the banking system and how it functions on "pretend" money.

I am very privileged to live in a tiny rural community on the Welsh border where neighbours really are neighbours.

Wheniwasyourage Wed 06-Aug-14 09:35:11

People are friendly in this small town too, and it's always fun in the summer saying hallo to visitors and seeing them smile at being welcomed. To some of them it obviously comes as a surprise to be spoken to by a stranger, which is a bit sad.

Anyone who was in Glasgow over the Commonwealth Games must have got used to being spoken to by strangers!

tiggypiro Wed 06-Aug-14 10:23:28

Good neighbours are worth their weight in gold. I am now in the happy position of having them all around me after having a very unpleasant family next door for a few years. Being in the middle and with this lovely weather we have had some great impromptu afternoon tea parties, pimms etc in my garden and the kids go from one garden to the other as they wish.

etheltbags1 Wed 06-Aug-14 11:48:54

I have an ex council house and most are rented where I live, the neighbours never speak apart from the immediate left of my house, the one on the right is a single parent-no disrespect but she gets the house rent free and probably council tax free but lives somewhere else with a boyfriend. The house is deserted for months on end, I get angry because a young couple could have that house. So although she is friendly I hardly see her. The rest of the community are either working or retired and have their own lives, I too lived on a private estate and would not have dreamed of bothering neighbours other than to say 'good morning' or 'hello'. That is the way of life today, frankly I hated having neighbours sitting In my house all day as they used to do when I was first married and owned a terraced house with all young mums around me. I felt like they would never go home and used to make excuses to get them out.
sorry if you think Im unfriendly

susieb755 Wed 06-Aug-14 22:52:28

I think it depends on your outlook - you reap what you sow, if you are friendly and hel[ful, you will receive the same back- occasionally people have taken the proverbial, but that's their problem, not mine, and I wouldn't let it stop me helping people that need it.

Penstemmon Wed 06-Aug-14 23:10:22

I ask the question because I am a natural 'joiner' . I wish I was religious because I would have a ready made community to be part of! I set up a WI when I moved here and have met people that way. I do some volunteering locally too. Our house is set back from the road so do not have direct neighbours, or see any one passing the house. I know people who live nearby etc. and I also meant society to be some of the things absent spoke about.
Also I meant that feeling of having a shared responsibility for the good of 'the whole'. I was brought up to believe that caring for others in need, whoever they were, was what you did. In a way a very Christian perspective and as UK is nominally Christian it should perhaps be a British value ..'Who is my neighbour?

Eloethan Thu 07-Aug-14 00:12:08

I live in east London and have done so for 26 years. It is a very diverse community - my direct neighbours are of Pakistani origin on one side and Scottish and Peruvian on the other. We all get along well and, although we are not in and out of each other's houses and we don't usually socialise - apart from the odd wedding anniversary celebration or other special occasion, or a passing chat in the garden - we try and look out for each other. Because it is a fairly "settled" neighbourhood where houses rarely come up for sale, many of the residents have lived here for quite a long time. I think that helps create a feeling of belonging.

We live in a long road and obviously don't know many of the people living further up the road, though some we will chat to. I often think it would be nice to start a residents association so that we would be more aware of those - like the elderly - who might need a bit of help. But, like everyone else, we are pretty busy with child care and other family responsibilities and I don't think I have the time or energy to organise such a venture.

Londoners have a reputation for being unfriendly but I have not found that to be true.

When we lived in West Sussex many years ago, we had lots of friends and people popping in and out of the house every day. It was very nice at the time but I'm not sure I'd be so keen now. My son and his partner moved to the same area a couple of years ago but couldn't settle at all. In fact, they sold up and moved back here. I don't know if the town has changed or if they just couldn't adapt to the slightly parochial small-town atmosphere.

The most unfriendly area I have lived in was the north west. Our neighbours on one side were pleasant and friendly but those on the other kept themselves to themselves. We only knew two or three other families in our road and didn't socialise with them. I always remember a woman and her family who lived two doors away from us. She had lived there for several years and her neighbours were an elderly couple who they'd known for quite some time. One day, my neighbour told me that she'd heard that the elderly man had died suddenly several days previously. I asked how his wife was coping and she said she didn't know, she hadn't been round to see her. That seemed typical of the neighbourhood and I found it quite depressing.

We live on a long road and so don't know all the residents but

etheltbags1 Thu 07-Aug-14 09:41:24

its not just a case of reaping what you sow. I have had people infer that I should mind my own business if I asked them how they were. Many older people want privacy and resent someone pushing their nose in even though they may be well meant. I don't mind helping neighbours, I looked after one for 20 years, keeping his key, feeding his pets when he was in hospital, giving him a xmas dinner and sharing my baking for which he was always very polite and appreciative. I find that most people just like to mind their own business. Also as ive said before its ok to have neighbours in for coffee as long as they don't stay all day, as someone did with me and I couldn't get my housework done, so there are plusses and minuses for this argument. One of my recent neighbours summed it up,' I keep myself to myself but Im happy to help anyone but they must ask.'

Mishap Thu 07-Aug-14 10:25:49

My Dad used to make us laugh - he was in a sheltered bungalow and when Mum died some of the neighbours used to call in - just to see he was OK and to pass the time of day with him. He was very puzzled indeed by this and used to say:"What do they want? Why does he/she ask me how you children are? Why would they need to know that?" - oh Dad!! he sort of missed then point a bit!

Penstemmon Thu 07-Aug-14 10:33:36

I was not suggesting intrusion! That is a different thing..insensitive overstay of welcome or barging into someone's life when not wanted!

I lived in London most of my life and at different times /places have felt very much part of a community but in our last house, on a busy road, other than very immediate neighbours, really knew very few people..certainly not anyone to socialise with.