Good fences make good neighbours

Good fences make good neighbours


A fence is a boundary in order to maintain privacy. The meaning of “good fences make good neighbours” came from a famous poem by author Robert Frost who presents idea of barriers between people, friendship, communication as well as a sense of security gained as a result of that. This means neighbours can maintain harmony by maintaining a fence and that lack of one can make one complacent about wishes of others resulting in ill-feelings.

Why fence is a must!!

The poem demonstrates the reality of life and scenario both at home and at the country level. A fence eliminates any chance of someone trespassing into a zone which belongs to you. This is also true for relationships, neighbouring countries, colleagues or everything else in life.

One should not build a stone wall making it impossible to communicate but rather build a low fence in order to maintain a distance.

Some of the famous walls in the world include the Great wall of China, Berlin Wall, walls separating Americans from Mexicans or Israelis from Palestinians. Countries across the world are trying to make sure that there are robust boundaries so that others do not cross the borders. Classic example is that of India which has tried to make good boundaries with its land-locked neighbours in order to avoid any kind of possible dispute. The Wagah Border, Siachen glacier, Arunachal Pradesh are some of the major border areas when we talk about India and its immediate neighbours China and Pakistan. In the past, weak fences resulted in infiltration from either side ultimately disturbing harmony between the countries and leading to skirmishes as well as discords. But, the countries have managed to create fences which have reduced instances of border disputes.

There is also a school of thought that some kind of boundary results in greater longing as well as maintaining harmony amongst people. This is evident by how people meet after a few days of staying apart.

Even though neighbours may be friendly towards each other, a fence ensures some kind of separation. There is likelihood of too much friendliness which can lead to interference of people in someone’s privacy.

In the recent times, people have keeping a certain distance from others in order to ensure that they do not get hurt by any sentiments or words. Fences or boundaries are vital for not just maintaining privacy but also maintaining harmony and peace both at home as well as outside.

Disadvantages of creating a fence

On the other hand, creation of a boundary can also lead to isolation. In yesteryears, porous fences made it easier for neighbours to come home and casually talk about mundane things. However, times have changed and people are very often are not aware of who resides even in their immediate neighbourhood, thanks to the boundaries. Creation of a wall can also result in dispute over its need in the long term as people have difference of opinions. For citizens of one country who share a relationship with their neighbours, it can become difficult to cross borders as the amount of permissions required for the same can be immense.

Even on the front of personal relationships, those who build walls before even talking to the person, they lose out a chance to know someone as there are already some pre-conceived notions. In the long term, words such as close friendship or true intimacy would be alien words for such people as they would have created a barrier in their relationships much before.
Creation of a wall also results in less movement of people. Man is known to be a social animal and by creating such boundaries, there is elimination of any social interaction. This can be terrible as the world is already fast witnessing unwarranted changes leading people to move away from each other at a faster pace despite having all means of communication. Civilisations have progressed because of various social, cultural and technological reasons. If there is no social interaction, cultural intermingling would take a backseat leading to death of free exchange of ideas and growth of human beings. This can have a deeper impact on human beings’ growth over long term.


This age old belief of Good fences making good neighbours holds true even in the modern age. But, like everything, these boundaries should not become restrictions for people to communicate with each other. Robert Frost, the author of the poem, may have had felt that removing barriers for ensuring hassle free communication and interaction between was ideal but he could not see the multi faceted parts of creation of fences- positive and negative. Barriers must be put in place sufficiently in order to ensure that privacy is not affected, borders are not trespassed and there is a sanctity in various relationships at all times.
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  • RE: Good fences make good neighbours -Hemant Sharma (08/11/14)
  • Robert Frost’s notion in the poem “Mending Walls” gave birth to the famous quote “good fences make good neighbors”. Fence is nothing but a way of keeping your privacy and not letting any intruders to trespass onto the land. The famous saying simply stresses upon the need of privacy between neighbors so that no ill things can occur against your wishes.

    Have you ever wondered the number of neighbors you have lived with over the years? How many became like your families? In a life where travelling is everything, being a good neighbor is quite essential. It doesn't come with the tag of being best friends. It just means living peacefully in a neighborhood, rented home or with someone.

    What is a good neighbor? Do you have to treat them differently? To be honest, all it requires is a simple gesture such as a “Hello” or “Good Morning”. Being a good neighbor is not difficult at all. It’s true that not everyone gets along well with each other. But just by being friendly and greeting your neighbors happily you can build a good rapport with them. A good neighbor has to be kind, considerate and cooperative. Those 3 things are some of the many things that one should develop to be a good neighbor.

    No matter how good a neighbor is there is always a danger of complacency about their privacy. This in no way means that they will bother you purposely but there is always a chance. A fence made in good faith between the properties doesn't hamper the relationship that you have with your neighbors. It just safeguards your family’s interest and privacy. There should always be a boundary in a relationship that would not be crossed over at given time. It shouldn't be a huge fence, blocking all the interaction with the neighbors but a fence big enough to keep the neighbors at bay.

    Not everyone has the knowledge of living in a typical neighborhood. Some stay very close to their neighbors that they even know what’s cooking in their house and some stay so far that they cannot event come whenever they feel like. If we think in this way then we will realize that we are creating various different walls with our neighbors that will keep us attached with them for a lifetime. But always remember too much of friendliness is also not good.

    Nobody likes an interference of a third person in their private lives. If neighbors are given too much freedom then it may well lead to unpleasant incidents. Therefore, division between neighbors is a way to create a safe and secure feeling but at the same time may well create isolation amongst each other. Thus, always be friendly with others but at the same time keep a notable distance from them. And this is what the saying implies – “be a good neighbor but at the same time maintain the distance by creating a small wall or fence”.