You’ve moved in, unpacked and got things looking just how you like. But in all the settling in, it can be easy to overlook getting to know your new neighbors. Building relationships with those who live closest to you is invaluable not only for the friendships, but also for the help they can give when you’re in a pinch. Who else is going to keep an eye out for your place when you’re away, help you bring in that new coffee table and even loan you a cup of sugar? Read on for some ideas for how to get to know your neighbors this month!
1. Simply say hello! Being friendly goes a long way to open the door to developing a relationship. While this may come naturally to an extrovert, if you’re more on the shy side, try not to think of it as an hour-long conversation you have to have. Just say hello to your neighbor when you’re heading off to class or work, and then gradually work your way up to an “official” introduction.
If you’re more of the outgoing type, there’s nothing wrong with knocking on your neighbor’s door and introducing yourself; in fact, that act alone is often enough to make a good first impression, since many people in new situations can tend to keep to themselves, even though they really would like to meet new people. Just remember to gauge the situation and not be imposing. If someone’s trying to get out the door for a meeting or class, tell them you hope you can talk again soon and leave the ball in their court.
2. Help out! If you see your neighbor needs help moving a couch or TV, or even just a ton of groceries, offer to jump in and share the load. If you’ve already decided to introduce yourself to your neighbor, let them know they can contact you if they need anything. Chances are they’ll reciprocate the offer!
4. Ask for help. Believe it or not, most people are quite willing to help whenever they can, even if their personality is a little on the reserved side. If you need a phone charger, some paper for your printer or even the famous “cup of sugar,” seeking these items out from your neighbor is a great way to break the ice and/or further develop your connection with them. Just make sure to return whatever you borrow promptly, and in good condition.
5. Don’t shy away from common areas. If your new housing community has any type of general areas where people can hang out outdoors, don’t avoid them like the plague. Spend some time studying, reading or eating lunch in the common areas and more than likely you’ll end up meeting and striking up a conversation with other people who live close by.
6. Attend community events. If your housing community puts on any kind of social events or activities, this is one of the easiest ways to get to know your new neighbors. You already have something in common – where you live – so don’t be afraid of attending alone if you can’t bring a roommate.
No matter which route you choose, just remember to relax, smile and be yourself. Taking simple steps such as the ones listed above can go a long way towards making your new community friendlier, safer and more welcoming overall.