5 Ways to Get To Know Your Neighbors Better
Being part of a community is great, but making those first few steps to get to know people can be difficult. We all run into the same problems. We worry that we will say something silly, or that the new neighbor won’t like us. It’s human to have these reservations. The key is to find a common interest to break the ice and get the conversations rolling. Your social circle will expand exponentially if you are a little more aware of your surroundings, and make the small effort to be the first one to speak.
- Pets: People love their pets. If you have a pet, then great! Go outside with your dog andspend some time on a walk in a nearby park. Dogs love to meet and greet other dogs, which takes the awkward introduction work off of you. All you have to do is talk to the other dog owner. By starting up simple chats about little things like the weather or different breeds, you can lead down to deeper conversation paths. Or, if your personalities aren’t meshing, you can leave it at that. All in all, you’ve still met one more person who is in your local community.
- Join Social Events: Don’t shy away from the neighborhood block party. This is the perfect time to get out there and start meeting neighbors. The organizers of the event want to get people out of their typical boxes and bring neighbors together so that they can meet each other. Not to mention, who doesn’t love a party?!
- Spend Time Outside: To meet people, you need to get out of the house. Put yourself in situations where others will be around. If you are planning on cooking a steak, opt to grill. If you want to take a coffee break, sit outside. Take a walk around on a walking path. Whatever normal breaks you would take during your day, try to make them outside and around others. As you see more people, you’ll have a higher probability of meeting someone new.
- Kid Play Dates: Kids love to get some energy out with other kids. Children oftentimes walk up to another child and start playing with little to no introduction. All you need to do, is say “Hello” to the parent of the other child. The kids give you a great starting point to talk about. As you talk, ask open-ended questions to get the other parent to talk more about themselves. Things like, did you grow up around this area? Do you enjoy the school that your child attends? You’ll learn more about the person from open-ended questions instead of simple, Yes/No questions. If you hit it off with the parent, and the kids seem to get along, try making a scheduled play date to keep up the relationship.
- Don’t Shy Away from Small Talk: Small talk–some people love it, and some people hate it. Regardless of which camp you fall into, it’s a necessary part of getting to know someone. You have to start off with shallow conversation topics before you can have deep conversations. Simple things like the weather, a recent ballgame, or making a general compliment can spark a conversation. The key is to smile and maintain eye contact, even if you don’t have much to say on that topic.
Adult friends are hard to make because everyone falls into a daily routine with varying schedules. Break out of your shell and make yourself available to meet others. By making simple changes to get of the house a little more, you can get to know your neighbors and you’ll gain a strong local community of friends.