FEATURED_8-Things-to-Do-When-You-Move-to-a-New-Neighborhood

You’re new to the neighborhood, and now you’re not quite sure how to fit in. It’s high school all over again. You’re now asking yourself things you hadn’t concerned yourself with when you were house hunting. Stuff like:

  • What’s the vibe of the neighborhood?
  • Does everyone keep to themselves?
  • Are there summertime block parties?
  • Is participation in Halloween mandatory around these parts?
  • How many young families live here?
  • What about vicious dogs?
  • Are there any nosey neighbors to be on the lookout for?

You don’t know the answer to any of these questions yet because you’re new. But, we’re going to rub some of that newness away in today’s post.

Let’s discuss how to blend into a neighborhood and make it your own. You’ll learn how to meet your neighbors and get them to like you. Hey, you never know when you’ll need to borrow a cup of sugar. Let’s get started.

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Start Off on the Right Foot

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Odds are, your entrance into your new neighborhood will be sort of obnoxious to your neighbors. You’ve got a huge moving truck and a bunch of foot traffic going in and out of your new home. While it’s got to be done—there’s no way around it—it can be uncomfortable for your neighbors.

Be mindful of how you handle moving day. Don’t block the entrance to their driveway with your moving van. Make sure your well-meaning, but sometimes oblivious, friends don’t erratically park their cars in a way that obstructs neighbors’ driveways either.

Try not to clutter the curb with your moving boxes after you’ve emptied them. Sell or give away your used moving boxes on your local Craigslist or Freecycle—trust me, there’s always someone to snap up your boxes before the end of the day (moving boxes are expensive!).

Clear trash and try to blend in with the rest of the neighborhood. Be on the lookout for patterns. It’s Tuesday evening and everyone’s trash bins are put away but yours is still on the street. Yikes. It’s the little things can alienate you from your neighbors before you even meet them. Make it a point to pick up on the unspoken rules in your new community.

Graciously Greet New Neighbors

During the chaos of your moving, there’s bound to be a curious neighbor or two that comes by, welcoming you to the neighborhood. You’re busy, you’re sweating, and now’s not the time—but make time. This is their first impression of you, so make it one that aligns with who you really are. You’re not dismissive, so don’t give off that impression. Take a few moments out of your schedule to greet your new neighbors with a welcoming smile and brief small talk.

[Tweet “You’re busy, you’re sweating, and now’s not the time—but make time.”]

Always Say Thank You

In the first few weeks that you move into your new home, you’ll probably get a “welcome to the neighborhood” gift from at least one neighbor. This often takes the form of freshly baked cookies or other confections.

How do you respond?

In the form of a handwritten thank you note, of course! Deliver this note and place it on the door or hand it to them, if you choose. You can also reply in like kind by baking them something in return.

Whatever you do, make sure you’ve acknowledged their kindness with a “thank you” after you’ve enjoyed their hospitality. It’s not enough to just say thank you before you’ve actually tasted the cookies. It’ll be more heartfelt after the fact.

Be Friendly

Every time you leave your home, make it a point to be friendly and approachable. You’ll do this by body language: smile honestly, wave to nearby neighbors, and look for any opportunity to engage—in a non-stalkery way, of course.

Some ideas may be to take walks around the neighborhood in the early evenings or on the weekends. Keep yourself open to opportunities to mingle with whomever is out.

If you want to take it to the next level, go door to door and introduce yourself to new neighbors. It can be scary, I know, but it’s easier if you have an excuse, and I have the perfect one:

Invite them to your housewarming party.

You are having a housewarming party, aren’t you? Well, don’t worry if you’re not ready to have “strangers” inside your home. You can also turn that housewarming party into a backyard barbeque where all of your neighbors are invited.

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If you feel uncomfortable meeting and inviting your new neighbors one on one, enlist your spouse, your friend, or even your kids to join you as you canvas your neighborhood to hand-deliver invitations.

Get Involved in the Local Community

A great way to meet people who live in your new neighborhood is to get involved with super-local activities. This may include joining the neighborhood watch or getting your sweat on with a jogging team. If your neighborhood has a community center, stop by and check out what’s offered in the way of get-togethers. You may also find this same information posted on a bulletin board in a local grocery store or coffee shop.

Find Them on Facebook

Sometimes, neighborhoods create Facebook group pages. These pages are opportunities for community members to keep in contact with each other and share important updates about the neighborhood.

If your neighborhood is represented on a Facebook group, send a request to join (these group pages are generally closed).

Bring Your Kids Into It

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Under the guise of getting your kids to make friends, push them (gently, of course) to introduce themselves with similarly-aged kids in the neighborhood. Double score if these kids are also out and about with their parents. This will give you the opportunity to introduce yourself and, if your kids are young enough, plan for a future play date.

After moving to your new home, make it a point to accompany your kids to and from the school bus stop. You’re likely meet other parents who are doing the same. This is another low-pressure way to introduce yourself.

Don’t Leave Fido Out

Dogs are great icebreakers. Most everyone loves a beautiful animal, whether you have a teacup poodle or a great dane. On your evening stroll (you’ve got to do it anyway), be open to neighbors who strike up a conversation with you.

Also, find the nearest dog park and frequent it often. Dog parks are extremely social—for humans as well. It’s hard not to find someone there who wants to shoot the breeze. If you’ve chosen a dog park close to home, you’ll meet nearby neighbors, no doubt.

A Word to Introverts

Putting yourself out there can be tough. Remember to go at your own pace. It’s okay to take a more measured approach, also. Start off by treating others as you’d like to be treated. A smile can go a long way to establishing a good first impression.

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