We have all been there, the new kid on the block, whether it was switching schools as a child or teenager or moving to a new home in an unfamiliar area as an adult. Although, juvenile angst is not so easily alleviated or reduced, there are many tried and true ways to get acclimated to a new neighborhood and ingratiate yourself to your new neighbors. The following are good guidelines and suggestions to break the ice and perhaps make some lifelong friends in the process.
- Throw a Party- If you feel comfortable opening your home to strangers, this is probably the best way to meet many of your neighbors in one fell swoop. Consider something casual such as a backyard BBQ or limit the menu to premade appetizers and drinks. If you are busy prepping and cooking food the entire duration, it will limit the amount of time you have to socialize and could completely defeat the purpose. In terms of date and time, weekends are preferable because most people won’t have to work, and do make sure to leave the party time open-ended, so people feel comfortable coming and going as they please. If you have moved to a condo or apartment complex, it is easiest to put a notice on the community bulletin board providing the details. If you are in an actual neighborhood, you can see if there is an online group or e-mail chain that includes your neighbors through which to send evites. If neither of those options are possible, then you can physically deliver invitations to those you would like to include. If you go with the latter option, dropping off invites in person give you a chance to make small talk and break the ice before the party actually occurs.
- Drop Off a Small Gift/Baked Good- If you are crafty, consider making something fun and creative that tells a little something about you and your family, then deliver it in person to each of your neighbors. If you are better in the kitchen, go with an old standby, such as cookies or a similar treat, and again, remember to hand deliver. If you don’t have those type of domestic skills, you can bring an item that is representative of your former city/home, such as salt water taffy if you are from Atlantic City or Nathan’s hot dogs from New York City. Something as simple as a bag of microwave popcorn with a note that says you wanted to “pop by” and introduce yourself can be the perfect ice breaker. Whatever you decide to gift, the contact you make during the drop-off is the main goal, because it allows you a few minutes to get to know your neighbors and let them get to know you.
- Attend a Community Event- This is a great idea if you are not quite as ambitious and would prefer to let relationships develop more organically. Find out what happens in your neighborhood by checking online or through the local newspaper, and then attend an event of your choosing. This is a great way to find people that live by you and also share similar interests. Even those who have lived somewhere for a long time are often surprised to find out how many local (and often free) opportunities there are in your immediate community to meet your neighbors. Farmer’s markets, outdoor concerts, and car shows are all great examples of community events during which you can meet your neighbors.
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