Purchasing a home is a huge financial investment, but let us not forget that you’re also joining a new community — albeit a neighborhood community. Though you may be fortunate enough to live in a neighborhood where new neighbors are lined up to greet you with a basket of cookies, many people’s busy lives have made reaching out to new neighbors an afterthought. Still, you’re laying roots here, so wouldn’t you like to know the people living among you? After all, there are few things more awkward than sharing an awkward nod with your neighbor of many years because you never took the time to learn each other’s names. In this piece, we’re going to look at some ideas on how to become better acquainted with your new neighbors.
1. Scope out your neighborhood with leisurely walks.
If you have a dog to walk or you’re an avid jogger, you may have already surveyed your neighborhood on foot. Even if that’s the case, concentrating on your dog or noise-canceling headphones may keep you in your comfortable bubble. In order to get to know your neighborhood better, make an effort to take the occasional walk without the headphones or the dog. Acclimate yourself with the sights and sounds of the neighborhood. Some of the best times may be in the morning when you may appear less threatening. The morning is also a good time as you may catch some neighbors while they’re getting their paper, moving trash bins, or going to work. The evening around dusk may also be a good time to take a walk. If your neighborhoods don’t seem too rushed, feel free to introduce yourself, making sure to say that you’re new to the neighborhood.
2. Strike up a conversation with commonalities.
Meeting new people can be nerve-racking. Fortunately, when it comes to meeting new neighbors, you already have the advantage of having something in common — you both live in the same neighborhood. Feel free to ask them what brought them to the neighborhood, what they think of the area, and what they do for leisure nearby. You can extend the commonalities by asking them about any concerns they may have, how they handle their trash and recycling, asking about family and pets, and if there are any parks nearby. There’s a good chance that you have quite a bit in common just by way of living in the same neighborhood. You may even already have several mutual friends!
3. Continue the conversation by looking for uncommon commonalities.
While meeting new neighbors can be fun, you will eventually need to find more to talk about than just the neighborhood itself. While talking about what you have in common, keep an ear out for what some refer to as “uncommon commonalities.” Uncommon commonalities are unique things you may have in common on which you can build a relationship. If they have they attended a college out of state and you know someone who attended that college or you did so yourself, you’ll have that unique thing in common. Being in marching band in school, being a diehard Seinfeld fan, or any other nugget you can expand will help you forge a unique relationship with a new neighbor.
4. Maintain the relationship with regular communication.
By this point, asking your new neighbor for their contact information shouldn’t be too awkward if for no other reason than that you’re neighbors. However, don’t just stow their contact information in your mobile device and never use it. Use it to invite them and their family over occasionally for backyard cookouts, touch base on a new neighbor you’ve seen move into the neighborhood or any other relevant occurrence. Also, actually speak to them when you see them out and about — more than just the awkward nod acknowledging their existence. Make sure to gauge their comfort level with your communication and respect their privacy while remaining a warm and friendly neighbor.