Moving to a new town or new state is difficult for everyone. Parents have to figure out where things are in town, get the new household set up, and start new jobs. Kids have to start a new school and start making new friends. When starting a new life, it can be hard for the new person or family in town to connect with people. This is why it’s essential to reach out to our new neighbors and make them feel welcome. A little bit of kindness will go a long way and possibly build lasting relationships in the long run.
1. Introduce yourself-Many times people are intimidated by just saying “hello.” However, a smile or wave and saying “hello” is all it takes to get started on the right foot.
2. Set up a play date-If your new neighbors have kids, set up a play date at the local park, indoor play area, or pool. This way you can get to know your new neighbor while watching your kids play together.
3. Send a gift basket-Make a basket with restaurant gift cards and the menus for local restaurants in it.
4. Mow the lawn-If your neighbors don’t have a lawn mower, offer to mow their lawn.
5. Invite them to an event-Is there a local event, carnival, or festival coming up? Invite your neighbors to go with you.
6. Send baked goods-Although this is an old fashioned notion, sometimes food is what it takes to start a conversation. Make sure you inquire about food allergies first.
7. Take over a gallon of sweet tea-In the South, this is the perfect ice breaker on hot, steamy days.
8. Invite them to church-If your neighbors are looking for a church home, ask them if they would like to attend a service with you.
9. Invite them to dinner-Ask your new neighbors if they would like to join you for dinner one night. Once again, make sure to inquire about food allergies.
10. Help unload the truck-When you see your new neighbors pull up, go out and introduce yourself and ask if they would like help unloading the moving truck.
11. Buy your neighbors dinner-This could be a fun tradition each time you get a new neighbor. Introduce yourself the first night they are there and offer to buy dinner for them and their family. They will be extremely grateful for your generosity.
12. Neighborhood Watch Info-If you have a neighborhood watch program, share details about meetings and other important info.
13. Make a neighborhood info binder-Get a three ring binder and put the names, phone numbers, and addresses of your neighbors. You also may want to include info for doctors, daycares, home improvement/repair companies, schools, government offices, grocery stores, etc.
14. Help neighbors connect with local groups of interest-Does your new neighbor love to read, garden, or write? Connect them with local groups that pertain to their interest.
15. Invite them to the neighborhood Bar-b-que/potluck-Do you and your neighbors have an annual potluck? Invite your new neighbors to socialize.
16. Become friends on social media first-Not all people are extroverts. It may be easier to get to know a shy neighbor via social media first.
17. Take the dogs for a walk-If your new neighbor has a dog, and your pooches get along, offer to go on a walk together.
18. Give your neighbor a map of your city-Sure, almost everyone has GPS, but sometimes it isn’t the most reliable. Sometimes it’s nice to take a glance at the map to get a better idea of where you are and where you’re going.
19. Shovel or snow blow their driveway-If you have a particularly brutal snowstorm in the winter, shovel or snow blow your neighbor’s driveway.
20. Host a dinner party-Invite all your neighbors over for a dinner party so everyone can get to know each other.
21. Have your kids be “school buddies”-If your neighbor’s kid or kids go to the same school as your kids or are in the same class, ask your kids if they would show them around, give directions, and answer their questions.
There are many ways you can help your new neighbors feel welcome. Reaching out and making a connection is the best way to get started. However, some people are not really friendly, so it’s important to respect their boundaries also. Don’t forget to give your neighbors a kindness card so that they can pass on your generosity.