If you don’t know anyone in your new community, you may understandably feel uneasy during your first few days. If you’re moving to a new neighborhood, you’re bound to meet new people in the area. Most importantly, you should know how to introduce yourself to new neighbors, so that you may form friendships and become a part of the community. After all, having a friendly face next door, down the street, or across the hall never hurts.
If the idea of introducing yourself to your new neighbors after a move causes you to break out in a cold sweat, these tips will help you overcome your neighborhood social anxiety and prep you for a successful meet-and-greet with your new neighbors.
It sounds simple and intuitive enough, but making the first move and knocking on your neighbors’ door to introduce yourself will position you positively in the community. You may notice your neighbors peeking through blinds or sticking their head out the door to peer down the hall to sneak a glance of you moving in. Don’t be shy – go over and introduce yourself!
If you’re not sure how to introduce yourself, use the move as an excuse to make conversation with your neighbors. Apologize for any inconvenience the presence of the movers in your building or neighborhood may have caused them.
Your neighbors will appreciate your courtesy and likely have lots of questions for you, which brings us to our next point:
The key to being a good conversationalist is taking a genuine interest (or at least believably feigning one) in your new neighbors. Ask questions about their life and interests, and actively listen to what they have to say. You will learn a lot about the community, who your neighbors are, and establish rapport.
The trick is to take broad topics that you and your new neighbor are likely to have in common and hone in on the interesting tidbits. What restaurants do they like to go to? Listen to their answer and find common ground. If they like Mexican food, for instance, discuss some neighborhood gems that put Chipotle to shame. Ask them if there are any community organizations they are involved in, or what life is like in this part of the city. Your new neighbors will enjoy showing you the ropes of the community and be pleased that you’ve taken an interest in them.
Throw a Party
Throwing a housewarming party will make your neighbors more inclined to invite you into their lives and homes by virtue of you inviting them into yours first. Your housewarming party doesn’t have to be a rager — it can even just be asking a select few over for drinks on a Saturday night or coffee on a Sunday morning.
Find the Way to Their Hearts …
… through their stomachs. You don’t have to whip up an apple pie as an excuse to meet your neighbors (unless you enjoy ironic old-fashioned social tactics). Instead, invite your new neighbors to have a glass of wine – just make sure you provide it! The wine can provide a point of conversation, such as which wineries are the best in the area, but also provides a social lubricant that takes the edge off of meeting your neighbors for the first time. (Now you can stop retrieving your mail under the cover of night and taking the stairs to avoid awkward contact in the elevator.)
Follow Up on Your Questions
You got through the hardest part—making introductions and asking questions about your neighbors; now it’s time to weave those common threads you found in conversation together.
Maybe you and your neighbor both discovered you love bike riding, indie movies, obscure bands, antique books, jewelry making, fly fishing, whatever—express a continued interest in how they partake in these hobbies they are passionate about and suggest opportunities for you to enjoy those activities together, or at least regularly converse about them.