Millennials get a bad rap. We killed chain restaurants, doorbells and, if you take this recent study at face value, we're killing neighborly love.
But not according to me.
The team at Safe Home surveyed 1,000 Americans to discover how close we are to the people that live near us. They asked participants to answer if they had ever completed each of 10 "neighborly actions" (from things like smiling at neighbors to hanging out away from home), and then sliced and diced the data to discover what demographics of people make the best neighbors.
Guess what? According to the study, Millennials are the worst neighbors. They had the lowest "neighborly score" of any generation, 44 percent (calculated by percent of the 10 different "neighborly actions" completed), behind Gen X'ers 50 percent and Baby Boomers' 59 percent.
The Safe Home study didn't go into detail on each generation, but based on Millennials' 44 percent score, and how common Safe Home reported each neighborly action was across the entire study, we can guess that millennials are doing things like smiling and talking to their neighbors and learning their names, but not doing things like having their neighbors over or hanging out with them outside of their neighborhood.
The study makes a dubious connection, for me, between their "neighborly actions" and being a good neighbor. Could it be maybe that millennials aren't tarnishing neighborly love, we're just changing what it means to be a neighbor?
Take this for example: My generation has famously been killing the diamond industry. But it's not that we're not out here getting engaged and wearing jewelry—millennials are just making their own rules about what gem (if any) should be on their finger when they say "I do" (something conflict-and-exploitation-free). The same goes here. Millennials aren't bad neighbors — we're just participating in a sea change of what being "neighborly" means.
A good neighbor, to me, isn't somebody that I have over all the time, or someone I go to dinner with. It's somebody who picks up after their dog, keeps their music down and holds the door open for me when they see me stumble up our steps with arms full of groceries. That's all I need.