You may be wondering why you should be concerned about meeting your neighbours. For starters, knowing your neighbours can provide many benefits to you and the community. It can provide a sense of belonging for all community members, and put you at ease knowing who they are. Secondly, people look out for one another and are aware of who is coming and going, making unwanted individuals less likely to feel comfortable coming around. This ultimately makes for a safer neighbourhood.
Most importantly, meeting your neighbours can actually produce strong (not to mention convenient) and long-lasting friendships. Below are some tips to help you break the ice.
Moving into a new area can feel a little awkward at first when you don’t know anyone. To combat this, get yourself involved as soon as you can! Check out as many community events as possible, whether that’s local garage sales, bottle drives or any other event that seems to bring the neighbourhood together.
Does your new neighbourhood have its own newspaper? This is a great place to check out what’s going on in terms of upcoming events, or even just the local hangouts and restaurants typically frequented by community members. If they host block parties, be sure to attend!
There are many ways to connect with people with similar interests or geographical location via social media. Facebook often has local “buy and sell” or trading zones. Do a quick search to see if your specific community has its own page. For example, Tamarack Common has a community group on Facebook for you to connect with others living in the area. Other sites like “Meetups” can provide local opportunities to, well, meet up with like-minded people to enjoy similar interests or activities.
Explore Your Surroundings
One of the most exciting parts of moving to a new neighbourhood is exploring the place you’ll now be calling home. Check out a different walking trail each time you go out, or take your dog to the dog parks nearby. You could meet someone there with similar interests!
If you have kids and wish to meet other parents, a trip to the nearest park should be high on your list of to-do’s in your new community. Find the nearest local library for another opportunity to meet friends, and browse their bulletin boards for more local ideas.
Check the Rec
Hit up the nearest recreation centre, community hall, and/or sports fields. There is bound to be numerous classes available for drop in or registration that interest you and appeal to your strengths. Look for volunteer opportunities if you have the time, and really start meeting your community members!
Strike Up A Conversation
It seems that in some communities it’s become a lost form of camaraderie to just start a casual conversation with someone who crosses our path. Don’t be afraid to be friendly, but also remember to look for cues. You can have a conversation with your neighbour and allow it to naturally flow and come to an organic ending.
Everyone still wants to maintain personal boundaries so allow friendships to naturally progress and develop. Keep it short at first, but see where it goes! Remember to pick the right moment, too. If someone seems rushed, on their way to work or just getting home, it may not be the best time to introduce yourself. A friendly wave will work in these situations.
Want to start a conversation but not sure what to talk about? Great conversation starters could include any common interests you’ve already gathered, brief compliments about what you like about their home or garden, or questions related to any community programming.
This gives your neighbours the opportunity to approach you. Whether that’s working on your car out front or taking your time when checking the mail, you can make your face a friendly and familiar one that your neighbours hope to get to know.
Throw a Party
Hosting a housewarming party is a great opportunity to invite the neighbours to meet you in one big efficient day or evening. And who doesn’t love an excuse to have a party? Keep it simple and informal but make sure to have some drinks and goodies on hand that appeal to both adults and kids!
Moving can be an intense process and getting settled can be a lengthy process. Speed it up by taking the time to integrate into your community, starting as early as when the first moving truck arrives!
Above all else, do your best to be a courteous neighbour. If all else fails, your consideration for others around you will be warmly received.