A new home can be a a huge change – or a big way to “unlock new doors” in your life as I like to put it. A new neighborhood, new surroundings, or maybe even an entirely new community. And don’t forget – new neighbors.
Unfortunately, in our world today – “neighborhood community” is becoming a thing of the past. Only around one third of people actually even know their neighbors. However, we as Americans underestimate the benefits of knowing those we live close to – it can make the community more safe and secure, it makes the neighborhood more welcoming, and can even result in fast friendships. Below, I have highlighted some ideas that work well with getting to know those you live beside.
- Start with hello. When you see them out and about, introduce yourself! This helps you not be so invasive, and makes introductions a lot less awkward.
- Don’t push them too far. You may live beside people who simply want to be left alone. That’s fine – don’t push them. Be kind, courteous, and welcoming always. Who knows? They may just come around.
- The easiest way to create community quickly – it a block gathering. Invite your neighbors to a gathering in your back yard – with a bonfire, cookout, or BBQ. Have them each bring a dish to share, and play some music to fill in the awkward pauses in conversation. You can even have backyard games. Then, get to know them individually! And when one of them mentions their upcoming vacation, offer to grab their mail, or water their porch plants.
- Holidays are great for getting to know your neighbors – and sometimes without even speaking to them! Leave a little gift on their porch – Easter candy, Christmas cookies, Thanksgiving pumpkin pie. This thoughtful act will mean a lot to them, and 9 times out of 10, the favor will be returned.
- When you feel comfortable enough with your neighborhood, a great next step is a community project. Not only will this increase the bond between you and your neighbors, but it also increases and helps the community! A win-win! A couple ideas is planting trees, planting a neighborhood garden, helping with landscaping, putting up a Little Free Library – a little bird house full of books, that anyone in the library can contribute and read at anytime.
There are many other ways that also create a sense of community – and I’m curious, what has worked for you?