Why are neighbors so important?
Basically, neighbors will give you objects for your quest and to complete items. All the game you will need objects and the easiest way to get them are neighbors. Also, neighbors are essential to get energy and experience.
My neighbors are useless.
Well, maybe you can make some neighbors with your facebook friends, but the most of them are actually inactives, play for one week and then stop to play, or others will play occasionally. You won't be able to complete quest or get the items without actives neighbors.
Where can I get neighbors?
Since most of your facebook friends won't play as much as you want, you need to get some actives neighbors, and the place to search for it is the playfish forum.
You need registration to see that forum.
Try to post your play time and activity so people can know you are a useful neighbor.
How many actives neighbors do I need?
This is relative. As much as you want. With 20 actives neighbors is great, 10 is fine. Try to send request or objets everyday. If you don't need anything from your neighbors one day, send them energy and make a list of your active neighbors, but always use the daily request. Send gifts, help them with their quests and items. Look for their facebook profiles and click on the bonuses and gifts.
Instead of searching everyone's profiles to click bonuses and help them, you can go to the News Feed and click here:
Notice that I actually changed the language of my Facebook, because I had the new home page. I chose some random language so I could see the previous home page. Then, I clicked in recent news and chose "Games". That will show the games news of your friends, and will give you all their requests and bonuses.
Neighbors can make you easily level up in game, progress the quests and complete items, so if you want to play and level up faster, this is the way.