As an introvert, I don’t always enjoy meeting new people. It can be awkward and I never know what to say. But, there are some instances where meeting new people is necessary, like when you move into a new house. Tips for how to meet your new neighbors are invaluable for people like me, and really just anyone who wants to connect but isn’t met with a welcome wagon on move-in day.
Whether you got a new job and had to relocate, moved closer to (or away from) family, or just wanted a change of scenery, adjusting to living in a new place can be hard. Honestly, even if you just moved to a new neighborhood within the same general area, meeting your new neighbors can be a challenge — especially during COVID times. Do you knock on doors until someone answers and hope they see your smile from behind a mask? Introduce yourself from a distance over a shared fence and shout that you’re vaccinated and want to be friends?
These tips also work well for people who notice new neighbors moving in and want to introduce themselves. Your new neighbor may wind up being your new BFF, or they may not. But, you’ll never know if you don’t meet them. It may not be an instant connection, but a simple introduction could be the beginning of invitations to block parties and playdates. (As soon as those start happening again.)
1 Smile & Wave
so simple, but it can be hard to do if you’re not a particularly social person. A big smile and a wave are easy to do from a distance, and you don’t even have to say anything at first.
Let yourself warm up to the idea of an introduction by trying the smile and wave first. Chances are, your new neighbor will see your friendly face and eventually introduce themselves. (And they’ll realize you aren’t a total grump who hates social interaction.)
2 Start With One Neighbor
When you first move in, introduce yourself to one neighbor. Just
one — that’s all it takes. You can literally just say, “Hi, my name is [say your name] and I just moved in next door. It’s nice to meet you!”
Once you find one friendly face to connect with and get comfortable with them, you can ask if they’re able to introduce you to more of your neighbors. I’ve personally found this method to work extremely well. Once I’m connected to one neighbor (especially if they’re pretty social themselves), I’ve got a safe person that I know I can talk to at neighborhood gatherings.
3 Connect Online
Especially when you want to stay COVID-safe, connecting with your new neighbors online is the way to go. If you aren’t sure where to start, search for your neighborhood’s page on Facebook or Nextdoor. Generally, this is where community members will share news and keep in touch, and it’s an easy way for you to get your foot in the proverbial door, so to speak.
You don’t have to do a big introduction post, either. Follow along for a bit and see if any threads spark your interest and join in the comments section first if you feel more comfortable with that.
4 Ask The Previous Owner For An Intro Maskot/Maskot/Getty Images
During the moving process, you’ll likely have several interactions with your new home’s previous owner. If you have their phone number, you could send a quick text and see if they can add you to the neighborhood group chat or even suggest the best online platform to connect with neighbors. If they’re comfortable with a face-to-face meet and greet, you could also ask if they can introduce you to the neighbors.
5 Spend Some Time Outside
Especially if you work from home, there may not be many opportunities for your neighbors to catch you out and about and introduce themselves. This goes for both people who have just moved in
and those who see a moving truck next door.
Find a reason to get outside so that your neighbors can introduce themselves — plant some flowers in your yard, wash your car in the driveway, or sit outside while your kids play. Then, when you see someone, smile, wave, and say hello.
6 Offer To Help
Is your neighbor working on their car? Maybe you have some tools that could help them. Are they doing yard work? Perhaps they want to hear about this amazing nursery you just visited and want to recommend.
It’s hard to turn down a genuine helping hand, and even if they do, at least you’ve put yourself out there as someone who is friendly enough to try and help.
7 Ask For Help
By the same token, you can also
ask your neighbors for help. Maybe you need to know where the closest dog park is, or you’re out of sugar and need to borrow a cup, or you don’t have the right tool to put together your new bookshelf and want to see if they do. These quick little neighborly favors can open the door to a formal introduction.
Of course, you don’t want to be a burden, so let your new neighbor know that you’re happy to return the favor should they need something.
8 Share Some Treats Mint Images/Mint Images RF/Getty Images
It used to be customary for neighbors to welcome new families to the neighborhood with a casserole or basket of goodies — and that’s still a great way to connect with new neighbors. Whether you bake a batch of brownies to drop off on their porch, grab a dozen cookies at the bakery to share, or drop off a fresh bouquet of flowers, it’s the thought that counts.
This same tactic works the other way around as well. After you get settled in your new home, you can drop off a few treats on your neighbor’s doorstep with a note that says something like, “Thought you might enjoy these! Would love to chat soon! From, your new neighbor” and include your name and phone number.
9 Connect Through Kids & Pets
Having something like your kids and your pets in common can help you find a topic to chat about and connect with your neighbors. Especially if you’re not great at sparking up a random conversation (hi, this is me), kids and pets can be easy points of introduction.
If you notice your new neighbor's kids playing in the yard, you can send yours outside to play in hopes that it might break the ice a bit. Or, if you have a dog and see that they do too, take them on a walk around the block and try to time it to where you’ll run into your neighbor while you’re out.
If you've met your immediate neighbors (you know, the ones right next door) but want to get to know more people throughout your neighborhood, volunteering can be a great way to connect. You can volunteer at your kid's school (you can even attend a virtual PTA meeting), with local community groups, or at local churches.
When you volunteer, you’re almost guaranteed to meet new people. Plus, many of these groups have figured out how to run COVID-safe operations throughout the pandemic like cleaning up outdoors at local parks or wearing masks and gloves at food banks.
11 Host An Open House (Or Yard)
Clearly, this isn’t the
best option if you have no clue if your neighbors are vaccinated or not, but there are ways to do it safely. You can have an all outdoor meet-and-greet or post signs that politely ask neighbors to wear a mask inside — whatever you feel comfortable with.