Is Brookside Really More Welcoming than Johnson County?

OK, I know I could get in trouble with the title of this post. But it happened again today…someone I know moved into a Leawood South home a few weeks ago and no one has come over to say ‘welcome’.

A networking friend recently referred me to someone who was moving to the KC area from Oregon for a job.  This couple, in their 60s, are very nice and friendly.  Although they don’t want to buy a home right now, I did help them with a rental in Leawood (paying it forward and hoping it pays off!).  The newly relocated wife and I had lunch today. I asked her if she had met any of the neighbors.  She replied that a neighbor on one side ‘waved’ when going to his car one evening.  She has encountered the neighbor on the other side a few times but the neighbor has rebuffed any conversation.

A couple of years ago I sold a very nice, $300K home in Overland Park.  When I went to visit my customers several weeks later to see how they were doing, I also asked about neighborhood greetings.  She said the same thing:  no one has come over to introduce themselves, and in the driveway, it’s just a wave.  No conversation. Recently I was at a networking event in Brookside, chatting with a lady who moved from Brookside to a nicer subdivision near 119th and Nall.  She says, “I can’t wait to get back to Brookside when my kids are out of school..there just isn’t the friendliness and get togethers that are so common in Brookside.”

All of these couples are older, empty nesters, and perhaps it’s just easier to get to know the neighbors when you have kids running around–always a topic of conversation.  But without fail, every Brookside home I’ve sold has had the neighbors coming by to welcome the new residents with cookies, brownies, contact phone numbers and friendly conversation. They want to know about who’s moved in. Still, these consistant  remarks reinforce the stereotype of the more elite JoCo residents and the always smiling, always walking around Brooksiders.  Although I’m sure there are some not-so-friendly types here as well.

Not everyone wants to know the neighbors.  It’s easy  not to visit with someone when the garage is attached to the house and you never have to step outside to see who’s out there that may want to talk.  And I know all JoCo communities aren’t like my descriptions here.  One exception is a house I sold in Indian Fields–that block had a party for my buyers!  Buyers can always make the first move to knock on the neighbor’s door and introduce themselves.

Yet it’s disheartening to hear stories like this.  A big part of buying a  home is buying into a lifestyle–the pride of ownership, the relationships with the folks nearby, the school system if you have kids.  It’s easier than ever now  to hide behind devices and the door, wrapped up in your own world.  Thankfully that is rarely the case in Brookside.

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2 thoughts on “Is Brookside Really More Welcoming than Johnson County?

    • Yes! Although I think you should differentiate between south and north JoCo. When we lived in Roeland Park, everyone was very friendly, it was like a small town. We moved to Brookside 3 years ago and couldn’t believe how friendly everyone was. The first week our neighbor across the street brought a package of cupcakes from Cafe Europa for our kids – awesome!

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