10 Ways to Say "Hello" to Your New Neighbors
Saying “Hi!” to Your New Neighbors
Moving to a new city, or a new home can be pretty disorienting. Sometimes you’re left not knowing where your favorite coffee mug – or even coffee maker is – and you may not even know where the nearest coffee shop is. Your neighbors are an excellent resource to turn to for everything from borrowing a cup of sugar to finding out when trash night is. But how do you get to know your neighbors? If you’re fortunate enough to have them welcome you to the neighborhood on their own, you’re golden. But usually, you’ll move in with very little fanfare from the folks you’ll be living next to – and you’ll need to make some effort to get to know them. Here are a few ways to say “Hello!” and establish a friendly rapport with your new neighbors.
Pretty basic. But often overlooked. Just making eye contact, smiling, and waving will let your neighbors know, “Hi! I’m here – I’m friendly – and I see you.”
2. Keep it brief...
A quick smile, wave, and remark on occasion also lets your neighbors know that you’re not going to bombard them with endless chatter and be the dreaded “too friendly” neighbor – but that you’re ok with establishing open lines of communication.
3. Be observant
Without snooping, take note of some things about your neighbors that may lead you to some common ground or a conversation. Do they have gardening supplies? Maybe you can share plant starts or garden tools. Sports equipment? Ask if they can recommend a local gym, or hiking/biking trail. Or, the most obvious common ground...
4. ...Kids & Pets!
Having kids and pets can be perfect common ground for starting a conversation – provided that it starts on a high note, and not after your dog has snuck out and relieved himself in their yard. If your kids are of similar age, there’s a chance they’ll get to know each other before you meet their parents. From there you can discuss schools, pediatricians, nearby activities and events for kids, and babysitters. Even if you don’t have kids yourself, kids are a great conversation starter. Compliment a neighbor’s new baby or let the kids expand their frisbee game into your yard. Having a dog will get you outside and exploring the neighborhood where you can chat with the people you see along the way. See if they can recommend nearby dog parks, vets, or other pet friendly spots.
5. Get outside
If you move in the colder months, your neighbors may be hibernating and you may not see them until the following spring. But once the temperature starts to warm up, get outside. Sit out on your front porch, or take walks around the neighborhood and stop to briefly chat with your neighbors along the way.
If your move date is close to a holiday, this can be a great way to get acquainted with your neighbors. Christmas brings many opportunities to greet each other and spread cheer – bring over a batch of holiday cookies or fruitcake, corral a musical crew and sing your “hello” with a few caroling tunes, or wave “hello” as you’re stringing up your outdoor lights or inflating your giant snowman/penguin/Santa and sleigh blow-up feature. And if you move in the fall, Halloween is the perfect chance to meet your neighbors – in fact, they’ll come to you! If it’s mild enough to sit on your front porch for trick or treating, you’ll have an even better opportunity to meet the parents of all the little ghosts & goblins.
7. Let food lead the way...
Next time you’re grilling out, extend a casual invitation for your neighbors to stop by. Or if you’re gardening, bring over a few of your homegrown vegetables or a bunch of basil. Do you make your own brew? See if they’d like a six-pack of your latest creation. And the next time you whip up a batch of cookies or brownies, double the recipe and bring some over.
8. Block Party
Neighborhood block parties are a fantastic way to get everyone together in the spirit of strengthening communities. Host a small planning party to agree on a location, date, and time for the event. If you plan to close off a portion of your street, you’ll need to contact your local police department. Organize the food through an online sign-up sheet and then bring invitations around to everyone. Having some games and activities for the kids will keep them occupied while the adults get a chance to chat.
Do you know about National Night Out? It’s an evening in August when communities get together to greet each other within their neighborhoods. This year’s NNO is on August 6. The mission of NNO is to send a message about fighting crime, but it also sounds like a great opportunity to have a neighborhood grill out.
9. Yard Sale
If you notice a sign out for a neighbor’s yard sale, swing by to say hello. You may find that some of their items for sale will naturally start a conversation – and you could walk away with some great finds, too. Or, ask if you could join in and set up a table or two with your own items to sell. There’s nothing like the process of moving to make us come face-to-face with how much STUFF we have.
10. Local Resources
A local library or police department will often have information on ways to get involved with your neighborhood through book clubs, neighborhood associations, or local clubs based on your interests. Even a local farmers market is a great way to get to know the people in your community.
Now get out there and get acquainted!