Why do Romanians who live in the city refuse to meet their neighbors. Psychologist: “Young people can't stand the invasion of personal space”

Romanians no longer know their neighbors, they can no longer go around the block to borrow a cup of sugar. Young people are the ones who most often avoid relationships with the people who live next door, and the reasons range from lack of time or interest in social interaction to the desire not to have their personal space invaded.

6 out of 10 Romanians do not know their neighbors at all – Photo ONG IntreVecini

The Romanians who live in the block do not know their neighbors. Specifically, 65% of Romanians who live in blocks of flats declare that they do not know their neighbors at all or that they know them to a small extent, according to a recent study. The reasons why people no longer know each other are multiple, from lack of time or interest in social interaction, to the desire not to have their personal space invaded. Only 8% of those who live in the block know their neighbors very well, and 27% of them know each other very well, according to the research carried out by the NGO IntreVecini.

The fact that the Romanians who live in blocks of flats don't really know their neighbors doesn't surprise us, it's a reality that we want to change. The good part is that, through the lens of the survey we conducted, we found out that 80% of Romanians who live in blocks of flats would like to get along better with their neighbors and be able to call on them in case of need“said Sabina Mihăilescu, general manager of NGO IntreVecini. According to her, the survey was conducted among those who live in blocks of flats in the urban and peri-urban environment.

Gone is the community spirit

The generation we belong to also leaves its mark on the way we relate to the people around us. More precisely, those who are part of Generation Z, born between 1995 and 2010, are those who have formal relations with neighbors, 34%, or even distant ones, 20%. Moreover, they are also the ones who prefer to keep their distance, 41%, and would not like to meet their neighbors. And Gen Yers, ages 28 to 43, are hesitant to meet their neighbors, while Gen Xers, ages 44 to 59, and Baby Babies Boomers, between 60 and 78 (39%) say they are quite close to their neighbors and even open and encourage interaction (48%).

Sociologist Gelu Duminică, executive director of the Agency “Together“, explained for “truth” why young people are more reluctant in relations with neighbors.

Because the behavioral model is different and because access to information and access to activities is different than that of people from older generations. More simply, we played in front of the block, on the street, we didn't have internet, Playstation, we didn't have these extremely individualized spaces as they are at the moment, this meant that the neighbors also interacted more often. Or maybe they interacted more often because it was needed more, lending each other a cup of milk, sugar, money, watching over each other's house, there was a stronger spirit of communitarianism than at the moment. Now, the internet, the society, the values ​​have changed quite a lot and we have reached an individualism“, he says.

For her part, Keren Rosner, a psychologist, adds that young people are more cautious in having relationships, in talking to neighbors, because they are very cautious with personal information.

Young people respect their boundaries more than the 50 plus generations, and then they do not tolerate the invasion of the neighbors' personal space as it used to be when neighbors visited each other, they knew a lot about each other. There is another aspect, young people are very flexible, in the past people lived in the same house or block all their lives, from young to old age, now young people move and change neighbors much more often than previous generations did”, says the specialist, who adds that this generation prefers to seek help from companies, institutions or specialists who are neutral. In these relationships, they are not required to invest time or emotions.

However, it is these same young people who put their lives on social media.

It may be seen as a paradox, but let's not forget that what is posted on the social networks it's something thought, something intentional, just what you want to expose in the form you want others to perceive, beautified, arranged, partially presented. Whereas, in a relationship with a neighbor, he will see you in real poses and in total circumstances, not just as it happens in the online environment when you can extract something that is funny, interesting, special. This very familiarity with others is not desired so that others do not know more about their lives. There is a tendency towards individualization, man works from home, he no longer goes shopping, everything comes home, he chooses only the activities he likes, the people he wants in proximity, you no longer want to deal with neighbors . It's about selection, emotional privacy, respecting your personal space. You share only with those with whom you feel compatible, with whom you sympathize, with whom you have something in common, you exclude any relationship with people who are not interesting to you. It's a protection against exposure, yes the world is connected in the digital zone, we say a lot about ourselves, but we need the privacy of where we live our lives“, stated Keren Rosner for “Adevărul”.

Protection against exposure

The study shows that the busy schedule (48%), the desire not to have their personal space invaded (33%), but also the lack of interest in social interaction (25%) and the lack of opportunities in the community they belong to (21%) they are the reasons why people no longer know those who live next door.

Parking spaces (51%), development of green spaces and parks (42%), waste management and environmental protection (41%), lack of measures to counter crime (38%) and infrastructure improvement (31%) are at the top five places in the top of the problems or needs that the Romanians who live in the block consider the most important in the communities they belong to.

To bring people in cities closer to each other, we should, first of all, “we provide arguments and models”, says the sociologist Gelu Duminića. For her part, Keren Rosner says that we should be presented with the advantages that relations between neighbors bring.

Between Neighbors

IntreVecini is an NGO that aims to regenerate the community spirit on the block and transform urban communities in Romania into sustainable hubs. The NGO is dedicated to the formation of resilient communities, friendly to the environment and based on the solidarity of neighbors, offering those enrolled in the program and declared winners the opportunity to equip their blocks in which they live with photovoltaic panels, free of charge, thus becoming prosumers.