Meeting People When You Are New to the Neighborhood

Neighbors enjoying a barbecue

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When we move into a new neighborhood, building or city block, we always wonder who our new neighbors are. Finding the time to introduce yourself is usually left to chance. After a move, there's just so much to do that we often leave getting to know the neighbors until last, and more often than not, it's something we never do. Knowing your neighbors helps you get settled into the new neighborhood. Besides, you might just make some really strong, long-lasting friendships.

Use Your Front Yard, Porch, Balcony

We'll all busy and getting to know people in your neighborhood takes time. So, an easy method is to mix our everyday activities into ones which may promote introductions.

Instead of hanging out in the backyard, why not spend more time in the front yard? Whether it's reading a book or magazine, enjoying a glass of wine or trimming the hedge, being out in the open naturally leads to conversations with those passing by, coming home from work or leaving for the evening. This used to be the way houses were designed; a large porch in front for those warm summer nights where parents could sit and watch the neighborhood children (and their own), play.

If you don't have a front yard or a place to be outside, spend time on your balcony or a common space such as a neighborhood park or city bench.

Shake One Hand a Week

If you've recently moved into a new neighborhood, you're likely like most people in that you're swamped with unpacking, settling in and getting started in new jobs and schools. A doable goal is to set yourselves the task of shaking at least one new hand per week. You can do something such as one day a week taking a little something to a new neighbor's house (such as homemade jam, tea, or plant cuttings to the gardener), introduce yourselves and have a small chat. A task this small should only take about 15 minutes a week but could reap a lifetime of benefits.

Host a Neighborhood Cocktail Party

Most people think of the infamous block parties when they think of getting to know their neighbors, but this huge planning nightmare isn't the only way. Instead, offer to host an easy housewarming, "bring your own wineglass/beer glass" party. Hold it late in the afternoon or early evening and serve wine, beer, fruit juice, and sodas, along with some crackers and cheese. Simple. Easy. 

Or, you can host a picnic in the park, where everyone brings enough food for themselves, then they switch and share baskets. This is another great idea that requires little coordination and effort.

What to Do If You Don't Have the Time or Energy

For many of us, time is so valuable that just thinking about doing any of the above suggestions makes us feel overwhelmed, while others are more shy and introverted and couldn't possibly partake in any of the previous ideas. For you, simply try to get to know two neighbors. It doesn't need to be a formal get-together or a formal introduction, but just a gesture so that you have some kind of connection.

You don't need to do much or to expend too much energy. Just a wave and a smile can make a huge difference.