It’s always nice to know you have neighbours who you get on with, to call on when you have a power-cut or need to borrow something. It’s simply nice to make friends, and if you can do something so walking outside your door doesn’t require looking straight to the ground pr pretending to be on your phone, even better. When you move to a new home, it can be a little awkward to approach new people and introduce yourself. It’s difficult to know how friendly people are and if the neighbourhood is particularly close. Here, we provide a few tips to getting to know those who live around you:
1: It Starts With One
If you can make friends easily with just one neighbour, you’ll find it a lot easier to get to know people through them. They can invite you to events or socials, which they think you’ll enjoy; and it will always be easier to go to something knowing you already know someone who’ll be there. This person may not be someone you’ll stay friends with forever, but you sometimes have to be ruthless. These first friendships are the hardest to make but it gets easier. You might be surprised to find you quickly connect with one neighbour over similarities in lifestyle or circumstances.
2: Social or Party
A housewarming party is a great way to meet the neighbours. Keep it relaxed and light so people don’t feel like they have to go to great lengths for someone they don’t know at all. Pick a Saturday or Sunday when people won’t have to worry about work the next day. A BBQ, if the weather is nice, or drinks/afternoon tea will do. Don’t make too big a fuss or you might come off as overly pushy. You can determine from this first party who you get on well with and will pursue further relationships with. Also, inviting people into your home makes for good conversation topics regarding interior design and what you’ve done with the house; you may move onto more personal topics like music taste if you have your collection on display. You may even throw a Painting Party, to kill two birds with one stone; get to know your neighbours and decorate your new home at the same time!
3: Show Some Weakness
Sometimes the best relationships come about accidentally or out of things going wrong which are both memorable and provide something to look back and laugh on. When someone has seen you at your worst (figuratively speaking) or in a kerfuffle, the best thing to do is laugh about it which breaks the tension. They’ve probably been through the same thing and understand what it’s like. This might be being locked out or running out of some food ingredient. By sacrificing some face yourself, you’ll make the other person feel more in-control, and they’ll be more receptive. This is why borrowing milk or sugar is such a popular sentiment when people first move into a new home.
4: Be Present and Viewable
Some people go months or even years without getting to know their neighbours. Some work different hours or simply don’t spend enough time in public view to be seen for long and start a conversation. If you have a front garden, make the most of it and be seen in it. Kids can invite the local kids to play, and you can meet their parents through them. Gardening also provides lots to talk about through exchanging tips. These activities can give your neighbours hints about what you like and how they can initiate conversation. This can be harder for those who own or rent in London or other city and urban areas, where front gardens are either smaller or hard to come by.
5: Local Groups
Groups or initiatives like neighbourhood watches are not just about combating local crime, but more so about uniting the community against problems that they all experience; these can include litter, noise, animals and pests, zoning laws etc. It gives a sense of harmless “them vs us” mentality and group spirit. Charity is also a positive that can benefit the local community and which people feel passionate about. It shows one in a good light and gives a chance for people to open up about their own experiences.
Paul recently moved house and as a quiet person, found it difficult to get to know his neighbours at first. With the help of his friend, a party planner, he came up with a few ways to initiate conversation and grow relationships to varying levels of success. This experience has helped him with his latest project, working with an Estate Agents in London.