Getting to know your neighbors goes deeper than just a quick wave as you get the mail. These people are your people. You both spend the majority of your time within feet of each other. You probably sleep 50 feet away. So why do we let getting to know your neighbors slip off our checklist?
5 tips for getting to know your neighbors
How comfortable are you with leaving your keys with your neighbors? What about asking for a quick cup of sugar or teaspoon of vanilla extract? Sadly about 67% of Americans (that’s you and your neighbors) are not at all comfortable with either of those. In fact I read that 75% of adults aren’t friends with any of their neighbors!
Let’s dive into this dismal number and figure out how you can be the 25% of people that love, cherish, laugh and enjoy the people closest to you (physically and emotionally!)
If getting to know your neighbors feels like a chore, an effort, or even outside your comfort zone that’s perfect! I’m letting you in on some great tips that will make this new way of living feel totally natural!
Why You Should Get to Know Your Neighbors?
This answer varies some, but for the most part ‘Why you should get to know your neighbors’ has, in my opinion, one major answer. Community.
I think you already know that social media is a cheap substitute for real life relationships. And your life is crowded and busy enough that the excuse of time is a natural and very real ‘go to’ when it comes to nurturing relationships.
Imagine this. Your girlfriend texts one night, here’s the conversation:
GF: hey, long time, we need to grab coffee and catch up!
You: Ah, I know I know! Been so busy!
GF: Riiight?? Me too, 3 kids, work, dinner life is NUTS!
GF: Do you have any free time 4 months from now so we could fill each other in on life? Haha
You: maybe 7 months from now!! But I have to pencil you in …
GF: Can’t wait!
Yes, there’s some sarcasm in there but … kinda not. Sadly, a lot of our life is planned out and time is taken up. When you take out travel time and planning 4 years down the road it get’s way easier to get to know people and invest time in each other!
I could give you stats on how lonely we all feel, even in a world where we have thousands of followers online. But I think you know how lonely you feel without a number attached.
Genuine community is going to be easier the less barriers you have staring off.
Think about your childhood BFF. You could probably call that girl up today and have stuff to talk about. You had so little keeping you from being friends. No schedules, children pulling on you, obligations, responsibilities. It was just the 2 of you playing outside when mom said “go”.
Today when we try to make new friends we have so many more obstacles to jump through. Hey, stay at home mom, I see you!
By removing some obstacles and making community easier you increase the odds of having it.
Getting to know your neighbors is the easiest way to build community because you’re just so CLOSE!
How to Meet Your Neighbors
We already talked about why you should meet your neighbors. Community. Close and easy community that’s #IRL (in real life!) But let’s get into the how without the anxiety or fear!
Grown ups don’t really love to be out of their comfort zone. So making the first move can seem like a block. But it doesn’t have to be.
Remember that convo up there? The one that had good intentions but lack of follow through? Now try this.
A conversation with you and the lady that shares a fence with you as you’re bringing in the trash cans:
You: Hey! I noticed you guys just moved in a few months ago. I know I’m sorta late but I’d love to hear your story, get to know you better.
LADY: Oh my goodness that’s so sweet of you. Sure! I usually get off work around 5 then dinner and kids and ahhh. When did you have in mind?
You: Oh I totally get it. My kids are in bed about 8 so what about we pull chairs up in the driveway and chat tonight?
LADY: That would be awesome! I’ll bring LaCorix!
Noice who went first in this conversation? You do. Going first is not hard. I repeat, going first is not hard. There’s no travel time, very little planning and the relationship is natural because your life is SO SIMILAR. Believe it or not your patterns look the same when you start to notice them!
Our neighbors, the ones that do life right by us actually have the same house floor plan as we do so….our lives are strangely similar. If our other neighbors and I passed on the street I’m not sure we would have ever given each other a second look.
We have literally sat in our neighbors home while they went to the hospital to give birth (2 AM sleeping on a couch) and they have done the same for us. We have sat in the living room and prayed and cried as they were fighting illness and eventually going to their eternal home.
I never would have met these people had I not gone first.
5 Tips for Getting to Know Your Neighbors
More than a casual “hey” here is a list of some ways to go first and meet the hood!
- Go for a walk without your phone and plan to stop people going about ‘their own business’!
- Move your afternoon soccer game to the front yard
- Take dinner to the driveway
- Be the one that plans a slip and slide party on the lawn
- Put up a sign in the front of the neighborhood that invites people to get watermelon at your house then just sit out in the front and wave!
In my podcast episode this week I give you loads more ideas and even some ways to process transition when you’re the one doing the moving so make sure you tune in.
Benefits of Getting to Know Your Neighbors
When it comes to how this will change your life I can’t tell you how much of an impact it will make. I’ve seen our own families’ lives take huge shifts just because of getting to know our neighbors.
We’ve built a community of support. Someone right next to us that will be there at the drop of a hat. People that support us as we go through hard and tough times. Our life has been shaped by our neighbors.
I’d love for you to tune into The Unhurried Life this week as I go deeper into setting expectations around moving, transitions and community.
To say it’s worth it is an understatement. I ask again, how comfortable are you with leaving your keys with your neighbors? How comfortable would you like to be? Be the 25% of adults that know, enjoy and trust their neighbors and go first!
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- Turning Struggles into Growth Opportunities
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- How to Make and Keep Good Girlfriends