You’ve moved into your new home, unpacked the boxes and are ready to start connecting with your new neighbors. A friendly wave on the driveway is a start, but how do you grow that into meaningful connections? Here are some ways to get to know your neighbors and begin building a sense of community in your new surroundings.
Start Small and Grow Your Circle
The neighborhood that Mister Rogers lived in – where everyone knew everyone by first name – is not the norm for many Americans. In fact, only about one-fourth of Americans know most of their neighbors, according to a 2018 Pew Research Center study.
But you can start changing that by taking small steps. Begin by reaching out to your immediate neighbors, those on either side and across the street. They are the ones you most likely have already waved to, and perhaps spoken to, as you were moving into your new home. Try out some of these ideas with them, and then expand your circle as you are comfortable.
Host a Driveway Happy Hour
Enjoy some good conversation over a favorite beverage while savoring fresh air and your beautiful new yard. Invite neighbors to bring-their-own-everything: lawn chairs, blankets for cooler evenings, a cooler, personal snacks. Create some background music with a playlist of your favorite tunes.
Want to bring the fun indoors? Invite your close neighbors to a potluck wine tasting in your new kitchen. Pick a theme – local wines, reds, bubblies, you name it. Have a few bottles on hand, along with snacks. You can even have your guests score the wines. Create a handmade traveling award or plaque (a cork glued inside a silly picture frame?) that keeps the friendly competition going for future gatherings.
Start a Book Club
Love reading a good book and discussing it with others? Then start a neighborhood book club. It’s a great way to share your love of literature, and make new friends in the process.
Choose the first book, and then rotate among the group to choose future selections. Many authors now include book club discussion questions, making it easy to get the discussion going.
And keep the prep easy. No one wants to add more items to their to-do list, so decide with your group how to handle refreshments and locations for future meetings. Want to eliminate prep completely? Opt for virtual meet ups. After all, the best book clubs are those where the focus is on the book, the conversation and the laughs – not a fancy dinner.
Organize a Group Fitness Routine and Get your Cardio On
Get to know your new neighbors, and stay fit at the same time! Virtual workout classes make it easy to get a professional workout in the comfort of your own home, lawn or driveway.
Invite neighbors to bring their yoga mats for some morning vinyasa on the grass, following one of the many free online classes. Or, amp up the calorie burn with a driveway cardio workout, using an app like GymBoss to guide your exercises.
Or, get to know the neighborhood better by forming a walking group. Set a day, time and place to meet and try different routes each week.
With just a little creativity and initiative, you can get to know your neighbors and build a sense of community in your new home.
Freelance writer and marketer Sue Durio has been writing about construction, design and related products for more than 18 years.