One of the best things about a new home is the new start that comes along with it. A new home in many cases means a new way-of-life: new household routines, new commute to work, new school district, new outlook… It’s a great thing to have a fresh point-of-view on nearly everything in your life.
While there are lots of new things to address in your life, one of the most important is your integration into your new neighborhood. Chances are that you’re going to be staying in your new home for some time, so getting to know your neighbors and building a good foundation for a relationship is important. Here are 10 tips for getting your entrance to your new neighborhood off on the right foot:
(1) Make the first move. Don’t wait for your neighbors to come see you. Even though you’re busy setting up, if you see them outside make the effort to start a conversation with them.
(2) Use your pets. Walking your dog through the neighborhood is a surefire way to make contacts and strike up a conversation – particularly with other pet owners.
(3) Host a Meet-and-Greet. Yes, with a houseful of unopened boxes, having people over might be the last thing on your mind. But inviting your new neighbors over for a casual get-together can be a great way to build bridges. Nothing fancy – coffee and pastries or an evening glass of wine will do the trick. In the summer, a movie night with an outdoor screen can be nice, because it gets the kids involved, too.
(4) Hang out on the porch. You can grab your neighbors that might be passing by your home or in their own front yard simply by being available. Hang out with your kids outside, work on your landscaping or find some other excuse to be out front.
(5) Take advantage of what’s already going on. Block clubs, homeowners associations and other neighborhood groups are very popular across America, and social media has made it even easier for people to connect. Research your new neighborhood and see where your neighbors are gathering – and then gather with them.
(6) Find commonalities. You’ve chosen to move into a specific neighborhood, so chances are you have some things in common with others who have done the same. Kids going to the same school? A neighbor’s garden already has the plants you were thinking about using? Lots to talk about.
(7) Kids. If you have children, meeting and engaging with the new neighbors may even be more important for them than you. A new start for kids can be exciting, but it can also be pretty scary. If you see that nearby families have kids of similar ages, make casual introductions a priority – but be sure not to try to force a relationship. Let them find their own things in common.
(8) Be inclusive. Every neighborhood has politics, and you can’t be certain that the first neighbors you end up talking to aren’t your street’s gossips or rabble-rousers. Keep your conversations high-level as you interact, and don’t alienate people. Learn enough about your neighbors to make your own observations.
(9) Be conscientious. What’s the old saying, “You never get a first chance to make a good impression”? If you interact with your neighbors, you’ll get a feel for the flow of your neighborhood quickly – so pay attention to people’s thoughts on things like noise, street parking, pets, basketballs going into their yards, etc.
(10) Go Old School. The cliché is new neighbors greeting each other with a warm apple pie. Nothing wrong with using good old-fashioned food to make an introduction.