Sunday, July 08, 2012

20 Ways to Get to Know Your Neighbors

Being the new family on the block can be hard, especially if you’re even remotely shy. It can be hard to make friends, made even harder by the fact that almost everyone in the community already has their own group of friends.

Still, there are lots of ways you can connect with them and it’s worth the effort required as there are several advantages to getting to know your neighbors. Whether it’s having someone to watch your home while you are on vacation or a helping hand when you desperately need one. 

Here are some tips to help you break the ice with your new neighbors:

  1. Organize a party. You can start with a natural housewarming party. Generally you’ll invite existing friends and family but there’s no reason why you can’t invite your neighbors as well. This will give them a chance to get to know you as well and at least some of them will most likely be interested in knowing more about you.
  2. Invite them to grab a drink (perhaps this will become a regular event for you). You can start out by asking your neighbors where some good local hangouts are (sports bars, clubs, etc.). Many times just asking about that will wind up in an invite or an opportunity for you to invite them along to help show you the ropes, etc.
  3. Start a cookout/barbeque. Who doesn’t love a good BBQ? You can invite your neighbors to a block party or BBQ either in your backyard or in a community park (whatever is available to you). This is a fun and relaxed way to get to know each other without any awkwardness with being in someone else’s home.
  4. Jog in the morning. You’ll probably find some other neighbors jogging as well. If not you can always use the excuse of needing a break to stop for a chat.
  5. Walk in the afternoon. This is a great way to get familiar with the area and to connect with people as they are getting home from work, school, and other daily activities (you can then talk about those subjects as well).
  6. Watch your neighbor’s pet. If appropriate, you can volunteer to walk your neighbor’s dog especially if you are home during the day while the neighbor works. If that is not the case then you can volunteer to watch their pet while they are on vacation, etc.
  7. Lend a helping hand. This is a really easy way to get to know them and is usually welcome. Offer to help unload the groceries, take out their garbage, help with yardwork, or anything else that may come up (raking leaves, etc.).
  8. Keep your house and yard clean and approachable. It’s important to make a good impression on the neighbors to let them know that you will be doing your part to make and keep the community appealing to visitors and everyone living there.
  9. Be active. It could be by joining a community organization or a local church. These organizations really help to break the ice and to show a common interest with your neighbors.
  10. Organize a garage sale. You could easily have over estimated what would fit into your new home and it may be a natural time to have a garage sale and you can ask your neighbors if they have anything to add to the sale.
  11. Bring some cookies or any goodies to your neighbors. If you have a special family recipe for a dessert this could be a great way to meet your neighbors in a pretty traditional fashion. They won’t be surprised by you introducing yourself this way and will likely respond in kind.
  12. Say “Hello” to everyone. Whether it be in passing or at parties, greet the others or keep introducing yourself to them until it’s clear they remember you. Make an effort to greet them by name as well to show them that you are interested enough to remember them.
  13. Sit outside. The front porch, yard, or drive is a great way for your neighbors to see you. This usually leads to a casual introduction, a time to chat, and even joke around some.
  14. Work in your yard. Simple chores like mowing and gardening is a great way to get outside and meet your neighbors (you can’t meet them sitting inside your house very easily). Plus, again it shows them that you care about the appearance of your house and the neighborhood.
  15. Become the customer of a neighbor. If your neighbor owns a local restaurant, beauty salon, or even works in a local store. You can make it a point to go to their business and greet your neighbor.
  16. A game of poker or cards. This is a fun way to spend time together. If you’ve been in the neigborhood for a long time, you could make it into a weekly get-together.
  17. Ask for help. You can ask your neighbor for help with your home or yard or even just a referral for any contractors that you may need to hire to get work done around your house.
  18. Socialize in public places. Parks, bars, and sports centers are the best places to meet your neighbors. If you have the same interests, chances are, you’ll be able to makes some friends.
  19. Arrange special activities. Do you have children? Organize a kids’ play date. This can be a great way to make sure your children have new friends as well.
  20. Control the highly annoying things your family might be doing. You should just try to always be a good neighbor by keeping the noise down and overall showing a high level of respect for the neighborhood and neighbors.

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