Once trucks are unloaded and boxes are unpacked, the reality sinks in: it doesn’t feel like home just yet. Whether you’re homesick for your old neighborhood or looking for ways to help the kids assimilate, meeting new neighbors will make you part of a community again.
Your neighbors are the people who will keep an eye on your home when you’re on vacation, take the trash cans to the curb when you’re sick, and may even become lifelong friends. The following tips will help you reach out to the residents in your new neighborhood.
Accept requests for help. Nothing brings people out of their homes and onto the curbs like the sight of a moving truck pulling into a neighboring driveway. Your neighbors are as curious about you as you are about them. Often, neighbors offer to help unload the truck in order to get to know you. No matter how tired or antisocial you may feel, accept their help. At the very least, the backbreaking work will be done that much faster. Best case scenario, you already have a friend or three in the neighborhood before you’ve spent the first night.
Spend time on the porch. Before the days of TV and air conditioning, people sat out on their porches to be comfortable and entertained. This meant neighbors actually saw each other and socialized on a regular basis. Make an effort to spend a little time on the porch as you and your family discuss the day’s events. You’ll be surprised how many people you’ll get to know with this one simple action.
Have a housewarming party. Once you’re feeling more settled in, have a housewarming party. Specify “No gifts” or “bring a house plant” on the invitations. It can be a potluck, or you can provide a few basic drinks and appetizers. It’s a good way to meet the neighbors in a group setting so you don’t feel as uncomfortable meeting them one-on-one.
Bring baked goods. This tried-and-true tradition has bonded neighbors since the beginning of time. Even a few cupcakes on a plate or a handful of cookies will suffice. If you aren’t a baker, purchase them from a local bakery. In this example, the food is the medium, but it truly is the “thought that counts”. It shows that you are thoughtful and interested in meeting the people on your block. The social ones will appreciate it and reciprocate in kind.
Use your kids or pets. When it comes to meeting new people, children and pets can be the ultimate ambassadors. Walk your dog around neighboring blocks on a regular basis and you’ll slowly get to know the people who live there. The pet lovers will automatically strike up a conversation about your pet and the rest will follow. Similarly, kids give you the excuse to talk about schools, things to do in the local area, sports, play dates, etc. You’ll soon determine who is most likely to become friends down the road.
Local gyms and parks. Utilize the local gyms and parks. You’ll get to know the people who frequent them, many of whom may even live right in your own neighborhood. Use social media to search for local walking, jogging or cycling groups that might already be established in your area. In addition to meeting new people, you’ll save yourself the gym membership fees.
Meeting your neighbors is the best way to shed the “new kid on the block” feeling and begin to feel at home. Are you getting ready to move? Contact Jay’s Small Moves.