Community is one of the most important parts of life. While buying a new home and moving is often a life event filled with excitement and new possibilities, it can also be challenging, too. One of those challenges is a change in the community you’re part of. Whether it’s across the country or across town, you’re relocating and surrounding yourself with different people. Being the “new kid on the block” again isn’t always easy, but as the saying goes, if you want friends be friendly! Your new neighbors are the ones you’ll ask to borrow a cup of sugar from, the people you’ll rely on to make sure everything looks alright while you’re gone on vacation, the friends who will be there to bring you meals when you’re sick. So how do you meet your neighbors? Here are a few ideas:
Idea #1: Bake some cookies
It’s a classic gesture we associate with a bygone era, and one you might generally think of as your new neighbors’ way of welcoming you. But again, you make friends by being friendly! A friendly smile, a plate of cookies, and a quick introduction will have you well on your way to making a great impression.
Idea #2: Throw a party
There’s no recipe for a “right” way to do it: themed or casual, elaborate or laid-back, just be true to who you are. You could host a traditional housewarming party, a backyard barbecue, or a simple front porch drop-by. Opening your home and creating a space for people to mingle always helps those connections happen. Hint: whatever your neighborhood seems to love, cater to it! If there are lots of kids on your block, have a movie going or an activity center to accommodate them. Does everyone have a dog? Put a water dish and a bowl of dog treats out.
Idea #3: Become a local
Be visible! Hang out where people are, whether it’s a coffee shop or the library. Spend time in your front yard so you’re simply available for spur-of-the-moment conversations. Look into local clubs and classes, too; the community center or local gym are great places to start.
Idea #4: Have a play date
If you have kids, invite another neighborhood mom over for a play date. It’s an easy way to break the ice! The same rules go for pets, too. If you don’t have kids or pets? Use what you do have! If you’re an expert on the grill, have a few neighbors over for a burger one night. If you have a boat, invite the neighbor next door to go with you next time you go out. You get the idea – shared activities are great neutral ground for getting to know people.
Idea #5: Have a conversation
Maybe cookies or parties or play dates really aren’t your style. That’s ok! Never underestimate the effectiveness of a friendly smile and a pleasant, upbeat conversation. Don’t be afraid of making the first move to walk up and introduce yourself! It doesn’t have to be a long conversation, but taking the initiative to say hello and have a brief conversation is all it takes to open the door to friendship.
Moving into a neighborhood full of new people might seem intimidating, but don’t overthink it! Be friendly, be yourself, and pick one or two of these ideas to act on in the first few weeks after your move and you’ll meet your neighbors and build a new community in no time.