The familiar, famous words sung over and over again by Mr. Rogers. They make all of us want to be part of a friendly and inviting neighborhood. Pulling up your roots and moving to a new community can be an adjustment, but more than 43 million Americans do it every year and meeting your new neighbors does not have to be difficult.
It’s really not as tough as you may think to meet people in your area. Here are some great ideas for breaking the ice and fostering the beginning of many great, new friendships.
First Impressions – Remember the saying “First impressions count”? This still holds true. Be a good neighbor from the very first day and people will remember you! Be considerate of where you park your car and moving truck, so you don’t block another’s driveway or mailbox. Check on the local trash pick-up date before you line your curb with the remnants of your move. Though you may be busy unpacking and exhausted…expect the unexpected. Some neighbors will drop by to introduce themselves, bring a casserole or other welcoming gift. Always be courteous, thank them and even invite them in, if possible. And don’t forget to send thank you notes as soon as you are unpacked and settled.
Use your kids – This is one instance where it is acceptable. Keep an eye out for neighboring children who appear to be close to the same age as your own kids. Introduce yourself, suggest a play date to get them acquainted (adults too!). During the school year, make a point to go to the bus stop or join parent organizations to meet others.
Hot Spots – One of the best ways to meet people is to find out where they like to gather. It may be the local pool, community center, coffee shop, or farmer’s market. Make a point to get out to those places and mingle. Pay attention to the patterns in your own neighborhood…do people like to sit on their front porches in the evening or take morning walks? If so, get outside during these times and use the opportunity for introductions.
Be Bold – Take the initiative and knock on their doors to introduce yourself. If you need an excuse to make this situation less awkward, you can always ask to borrow a tool, inquire about lawn service, or request a local restaurant recommendation.
Volunteer – Check with your local Chamber of Commerce for opportunities in the area. What better way to meet people than to support a cause that obviously means something to them as well as to you?
Throw your own party – This could be a simple drop-in at your home (be careful to include all neighbors)…or it could be on a much larger scale such as a neighborhood block party. If you are ambitious and love to organize this type of function, then go for it! If it is well planned, this can be loads of fun for all ages and will be remembered for a long time.
With a little perseverance, maybe even a little courage, you’ll be able to meet many of your neighbors and make a smooth transition into a new homes community.