Moving into your new home isn’t just about finding the right way to display your cookie jar collection, it’s also about joining a new community. Getting to know your neighbors can provide many benefits such as receiving warm greetings at the beginning of the days, receiving assistance during hurricane season or even having someone to watch over your home when you go out of town.
To do this, though, you have to get to meet those who live near you.
Here are some tips to get you started.
- Start with a smile. Sometimes that is enough to make you approachable and a neighbor may feel comfortable to pop over and say “hi.”
- Take a walk. Weekends and early evenings are great times to get some exercise and come upon people coming home from work or walking the dog. Take the initiative and wave or nod with a smile. If it is reciprocated, walk over and introduce yourself.
- Bake. It may seem old fashioned, but making a batch of browning and taking some over to your neighbor can be a great ice-breaker. If you don’t bake, think of something you might want to share like flowers or fruit from your yard.
- Attend a meeting. If your home is part of a homeowner’s association, find out when the next meeting is and make sure to attend. It’s a great way to meet people and learn about what is going on in the neighborhood.
- Join in. Find local neighborhood groups, especially the parents’ groups at your kids’ school. You are bound to meet other parents that live nearby.
- Be positive. Don’t complain or criticize. Compliment your neighbor’s lawn, or house color, for example.
- Connect. Give a brief explanation about where you are from or how you came to join the neighborhood, then ask questions and LISTEN.
- Stay away from TMI. Don’t offer your entire life’s story upon your first meeting. Keep it light and upbeat.
- Ask questions. Ask for recommendations for restaurants or shopping. You can ask about your neighbor’s story but be careful not to seem nosy or ask questions that are too personal.
- Common interests. Look for signs of common interests, such as golf clubs, bumper stickers with sports affiliations, children of the same age, pets, work, etc. and start a conversation about it.
- Make an invitation. Ask neighbors that you think you may connect with over for coffee or dinner.