Get to Know the New Neighbors
Moving can be emotionally draining. After saying goodbye to your friends and family, packing up and moving to a new neighborhood, you may not feel like being outgoing and social. But, after getting settled, it’s smart to take the time to meet your new neighbors.
Even if you’re not looking to make connections in the area, it’s nice to have someone you know nearby. You may also find that it’s helpful to meet people who can check mail or water the plants while you’re out of town — or at least someone who can recommend local service providers. Most would agree that it’s better to befriend neighbors than endure complicated relationships simply because you don’t know them well. So jump in and get to know those living next door.
Find out who the neighbors are
For many people, it’s easier to work up the nerve to meet new people after learning a little about them. With a little bit of effort, you can at least get a starting point with new neighbors.
Without feeling like you’re being too creepy, keep an eye out for clues and easy talking points:
- Toys in the yard may mean they have younger children. Ask about local parks or play places.
- Are their cars gone during the day? Talk about what they do for work.
- Seeing them coming home in workout clothing may mean they are active. Discuss local gyms or fitness centers.
- Are there kayaks or bikes in the garage? Ask them where they like to go float or ride.
- See them walking their dogs? Exchange info and offer to watch their pets if they are out of town.
Doing this type of research may feel a little more involved, but it’s actually easy to find information online. Check white page sites and do a reverse address lookup to learn more about people in your neighborhood. Or check apps like Nextdoor or Front Porch Forum, community Facebook groups or search a local hashtag to see who is discussing the area online.
Non-awkward ways to meet the neighbors
Once you feel comfortable enough to introduce yourself, these are some easy ways to meet people.
Dropping by unannounced is perfectly acceptable in this situation. Even etiquette guru Emily Post says you can just pop over and say hi when meeting new neighbors. Of course, it’s easier to show up with a welcome gift, like cookies or take-out menus, but it’s ok to ring the bell and introduce yourself without an invitation.
If you’re not extroverted enough to go say hello, make yourself available for others to approach. Spend time outside in the yard or on the porch, or take walks with your pet. Wave to people — it’s a great way to seem approachable.
Ask about neighborhood things
If you need an opening line or a “reason” to talk to someone, ask them about community details. What time does the mail run? Are there events that happen in the neighborhood? What’s the best pizza delivery place? Most people love giving advice and will be willing to tell you more about the area.
Visit neighborhood spots
Does the apartment complex have a gym or a pool? Is there a community center or park for the neighborhood? Or is there a library branch or small grocery store in the area? While the people here may not be your direct neighbors, you can meet people who live nearby at these spots. Don’t be afraid to say, “Hi, I’m new here and would love to ask you a few questions.”
Host a housewarming party
Residents may be curious about the “new people,” and many will be interested about your home, especially if you’ve done any upgrades or renovations. Take advantage of this curiosity and invite them over for a housewarming party. It can just be a casual event with some snacks, but it gives people an opportunity to come and say hi without being intrusive.
How to be friendly with your neighbors (but not be friends)
Living near your neighbors doesn’t guarantee you’ll have much in common with them. So it’s possible that after meeting them, you won’t want to pursue a friendship. Even if you aren’t looking for close relationships with those next door, you can still be a great neighbor with these tips.
Blend in with the neighborhood
There are unspoken rules of the community like when trash bins get set out and picked up, or the “acceptable” level for grass before mowing. Pay attention to these things in the new area, and try and comply as best as possible. You don’t want to be the one annoying everyone else.
Think of your new neighbors. Ask guests to park in your driveway or in front of your house (or talk to neighbors if lots of people are coming over before the visitors park in front of their houses). Keep your lawn and home neat and tidy. And probably most importantly, limit noise. Don’t mow the lawn late at night or early in the mornings, bring in noisy pets at night and don’t play music super loud late into the evenings.
If you hear of someone going through a difficult time or going out of town, offer to help. There are so many simple things you can do for your neighbors — mowing the lawn when someone’s sick, watering plants when they’re gone, or even just helping unload groceries when someone comes home with a trunk full and you happen to notice. All those gestures go a long way toward keeping the peace with fellow residents.
What are you waiting for?
Putting yourself out there can be hard, but it’s rewarding to get to know new neighbors. Whether you’re the new one moving in, or you notice a family unloading a moving truck, establishing a friendly relationship is important. Go introduce yourself to your neighbors — you won’t regret it!
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