How to Get To Know Your Neighbors After Moving Into A New Home
I am embarrassed to admit this, but after our most recent move, it took us a long time to get to know our neighbors. There was a family that moved in around the same time we did, and we got to know them pretty quickly. But it took me months to gain the courage to even say hi to the people who lived on each side of us. And there are a few houses across the street where I’ve never met the neighbors.
There hasn’t been an opportunity when we’ve both been outside at the same time to cross paths. I feel like I missed the window of opportunity to introduce myself. Having a new baby shortly after moving in and then getting hit with a pandemic didn’t help this situation.
If I could do this all over again, I would do things differently. First, I would introduce myself right away on moving day or shortly afterward. I’d even drop off a little note to the neighboring homes, introducing our family. I would also spend more time in our front yard to casually run into the people on our street.
Living in a neighborhood with a strong sense of community can create a safe environment and a sense of belonging in the neighborhood. Here are other great ways to get to know your neighbors.
Take the initiative to introduce yourself to your neighbors when you first move in or if you haven’t met them yet. This can help establish a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. Because I didn’t introduce myself to one of our neighbors, she thought I was the nanny for the first year we lived at the house. When I finally introduced myself, she was shocked I was my husband’s wife. It was an awkward moment, to say the least.
We’ve had neighbors drop off baked goods, which can be a natural way to make an introduction. I’ve also seen others drop off a note introducing their family with their contact information. This is a great idea if you’re comfortable giving out your contact information to people you haven’t formally met.
Attend neighborhood events
Attend neighborhood events such as block parties, community clean-ups, or holiday celebrations. This can be a great way to meet your neighbors and get involved in the community. Some of the streets in our neighborhood have summer block parties. After the street is blocked off, families provide food for a potluck, participate in a parade, entertain kiddos with outdoor games and bounce houses, and chit chat amongst each other.
Join local groups or organizations
Join local groups or organizations such as neighborhood associations, volunteer organizations, or community centers. This can help you meet new people and get involved in community activities.
I joined our local buy-nothing group, and I’ve been obsessed! It’s a great way to give away things that will be put to use. But the special thing about our local group is that the area in which members live is small. I’ve gotten to know some good friends through this group because our kids are similar ages and we often trade clothes, toys, and books.
Offer to help
If you see your neighbors struggling with something, offer to help. Whether carrying groceries, mowing the lawn, or watching their pets, a small gesture can go a long way. If we accidentally receive mail belonging to one of our neighbors, we will go to their home to deliver it. I found this an excellent way to introduce myself naturally after moving in.
Organize a get-together
Organize a get-together such as a potluck or BBQ in your backyard or a shared space. This can be a fun way to get to know your neighbors and create a sense of community. Each December, Santa drives down our street on a sled, accompanied by the local police. It’s a bit of a production, but it’s festive, and the kids love it. The police sirens and lights are going off to announce Santa’s arrival.
We’ve started hosting a hot chocolate bar on the evening Santa stops on our street. We set up a table in our driveway and enjoy each other’s company. It’s been a great way to get families together. I can’t wait for this year.
Take a walk
Take a walk around the neighborhood and say hello to people you see along the way. This can be a great way to meet new people and get some exercise at the same time. I’ve noticed that some people walk around our neighborhood at the same time each day. Because of this habitual walk, I’ve crossed paths with them numerous times. After seeing each other a few times, we’ve gotten more friendly and started chit-chatting.
We regularly walk to the parks in our neighborhood and have found other moms with young kids do the same. It’s been a great way to find other kids in our neighborhood that are similar ages as Chulengo + Bambino.
Join online groups
Join online groups or forums for your neighborhood or community. This can be a great way to connect with people and stay informed about local events and news. I’ve been connecting with others through the Nextdoor App, as well as the local Buy-Nothing group I mentioned earlier. It’s a great way to connect with others who you may not pass in person but can connect through similar circumstances, hobbies, and needs.
In a world that often prioritizes virtual connections over physical ones, taking the time to get to know your neighbors can foster a sense of community and belonging that is truly invaluable. Don’t make the mistakes I made after our last move and get to know your neighbors as soon as possible.
Remember, the benefits of knowing your neighbors extend far beyond borrowing a cup of sugar; they encompass a support system, a source of local knowledge, and the potential for lifelong friendships. So go ahead, take that first step with a friendly smile or a welcoming wave, and watch as your neighborhood transforms into a friendlier, warmer, and more connected place to call home.