Meeting new people can be uncomfortable. The added displacement of moving to a new home in a new town can intensify this discomfort, but it doesn't mean that you can't take the first steps to becoming a part of your community by meeting your new neighbors. Your first few weeks could be the start of some of the most lasting friendships of your life! Here are a few tips.
Take the initiative
The more people see that you are interested in getting to know them, the more likely they are to open up. Though it seems cliché, first impressions mean a lot. Remember to smile and be friendly, even if you're just passing someone who's out on his or her front porch.
The old "cup of sugar" routine isn't a bad idea, as long as you do it at an appropriate time. You should also spend time outside. If you have children, you can play with them in the yard or go for a walk around the neighborhood. Start tending to your new garden, or read a book on the patio. You are more likely to see people like this than you are staying in the house all day.
Bring something over
If you can bake, make some plates of cookies, banana or pumpkin bread, or brownies. Tie them off with a bow, and give them to people in your neighborhood. This can open the door to starting conversations and, at the very least, leave a good impression with the people around you.
Have a party
Organize a move-in or housewarming party and invite the neighbors. You can leave invites in their mailboxes or knock on doors. This can really allow you to get to know your community in a relaxed, social atmosphere.
TIP: To get more ideas for hosting a successful move-in party, check out our "Hosting a Move-In Party" guide.
If you end up talking to someone, try and start an actual conversation, rather than giving empty pleasantries. Everyone says "how are you?" but not everyone sticks around to hear the answer. Keep your ears open for any interests you share with the person. If they mention something, point out that you enjoy it too.
Ask about the area
You can also just ask them about things to do around town. Show them that you want to be a part of the community you've moved to, and give them a chance to help. If your conversation seems like it's going well, maybe invite them to your home for coffee or tea. Don't worry about how it looks; you're moving in, after all. This kind of gesture speaks volumes.
Once you get past the initial awkwardness (and realize that your neighbor is probably just as uncomfortable as you are), you'll be surprised how easy it is to get to know someone. You'll be well on your way to joining a new community.
Photo by: Nenetus (Freedigitalphotos.net)