10 Friendly Ways to Meet Your Apartment Neighbors

Meeting new people and making a good first impression is hard. Especially since the start of the pandemic, it's been difficult to make acquaintances. Be respectful of personal space and safety while also opening a door literally and metaphorically to friendly interactions, conversations and potential friendships.

This can feel especially nerve-wracking when getting to know your new neighbors. You'll likely be seeing them almost every day and you want to get along. Plus, being friends with your neighbors is always fun. If you want to hang out, they're right next door. And if you're on good terms with your neighbors, it's easy to ask for favors like pet-sitting while you're on vacation or bringing in their mail while they're away.

But meeting new neighbors can sometimes feel intimidating and awkward. As the new person moving into the complex, you can feel like the odd one out. If you struggle with situations like this, these handy tips for meeting your apartment complex neighbors can help kick start conversation and make you feel welcome and become part of the community. Here's how to meet your neighbors and start things off on the right foot.

1. Introduce yourself

It's simple but effective. Just the basic act of walking up when you see your new neighbor getting their mail or knocking on their door to say hi and introduce yourself will show you are a friendly, engaging person who is open to getting to know people. We all have had neighbors who prefer to keep to themselves and don't really interact with other members of the apartment community. Of course, that's OK. The level of interaction is up to each particular person. But it's that first step of wondering “what kind of neighbor are they?" that can make meeting your neighbor for the first time feel scary.

By taking initiative and introducing yourself, your neighbors will have a better sense of what kind of person you are. Don't let nerves or being shy get the best of you. Tell them your name, welcome them to the building and engage in some friendly chit-chat. If you're unsure what to say, you can also apologize for any noise or clutter that took place during your move-in.

2. Offer a helping hand

If introducing yourself directly feels too intimidating or forward, doing it in conjunction with lending a helping hand takes the pressure off. If you're the new tenant, keep an eye out for when a neighbor needs some help. Maybe they need an extra hand bringing in groceries or carrying something up the stairs. Whatever the scenario, being the helpful go-getter will make the right impression and instantly endear the new neighbors to you.

Neighbors talking

3. Get to know them

Have you just introduced yourself? Ask them some questions to get to know them better. You can start out with some general, broad topics related to the situation. Asking how long they've lived in the building or if they're new to the area or long-term residents will then help steer the conversation. You can ask how they enjoy living in the apartment complex and the area, as well as asking for local advice and recommendations like the best nearby restaurants. Starting with broad topics and then honing in on things in common will create a nice rapport and allow you both to find common ground. You can also ask about their life and interests.

The “getting to know you" phase can definitely extend beyond the initial introduction, as well. Running into each other throughout the week, you can ask how their day was or what they do for work. Even if you don't have a lot in common with your new neighbors, you can still make a connection and be on friendly terms. You'll learn a lot about the community, who your neighbors are and establish rapport.

4. Find things in common and make plans based on them

If your chats revealed that you and your new neighbors have something in common, follow up on that. It's a great excuse to make plans to hang out and get to know each other better. Do you both enjoy cycling? Propose a joint bike ride so they can show you the best cycling routes in the area. Are you both fans of a specific type of cuisine? Ask what's their favorite local spot and suggest going for drinks and a meal sometime.

It's easy enough to find things in common with others. But by taking initiative and suggesting opportunities for you to enjoy those activities together, or at least regularly converse about them, it's an extra step toward getting along better.

5. Say hi with a thoughtful treat

Moving in and getting settled in a new apartment is chaotic. That's why sometimes neighbors may not introduce themselves or say hi right away. No one wants to add more stress to an already stressful time. They're probably giving you space to get settled. A great way to meet new neighbors is a fresh take on an old classic: saying hi with a gift.

If you're ready to start socializing, you can take the initiative and make an excuse to go knocking on their door with a "Hi there! It's great to meet you!" treat. Make it a home-baked goodie, a bottle of wine or a houseplant. Sharing some of your baking is a tad fraught nowadays due to dietary restrictions or preferences. But even if your gift is not quite right, then you've learned more about them and broken the ice.

Invite guests over

6. Throw a party

Everyone loves a good party. Throwing a housewarming party is a great way to get to know your neighbors. Inviting them over and welcoming them into your new home will also make them more inclined to invite you into their lives and homes.

You don't have to get fancy. A casual hang-out like drinks on a weekend night or maybe a chill brunch is the perfect ice-breaker.

7. Introduce your kids

Unsure how to meet your neighbors? Letting your kids be the catalyst is a great way to facilitate introductions and hang-outs for the grown-ups, as well. If you and your new neighbors both have young kids, they'll likely want to meet. You can make arrangements for playdates or group activities to make the new kids feel included. Anything from a playdate at a nearby park to coloring books and games in your apartment. Then, while the kiddos are having fun, you and the parents have time to get to know each other.

8. Bond over your pets

Do you have a furry best friend in tow? Did you notice that your neighbor also has a dog or cat? Cooing at adorable pets, as well as commiserating over the shared joys and difficulties of pet ownership, are great ways to connect with a neighbor. Strike up a conversation asking them about their dog or cat, or asking if they have any pets in general.

If you both have dogs, propose a meet-up to see if they get along. If they do, setting up regular doggy playdates allows both you and your canine best friend to form a new friendship. Even if you or your neighbor has a pet that doesn't go outside or play well with others, pet owners still love to gush about their animals. Asking questions, sharing photos and checking in on how their pet is doing could still open the door to regular chats and getting to know each other better.

Plus, it's always helpful to be friends with a pet-loving neighbor in case you need a close-by pet sitter for when you go on trips.

Get fit in the gym

9. Interact around the building using the amenities

Does your apartment complex come with cool amenities like a pool or gym? Take advantage of them and use them as an excuse to interact with your new neighbors. If you see them at the pool or leaving the gym, either introduce yourself or carry on previous conversations you've had in the past. The amenities could also be an excuse to get to know your neighbors better by making plans for a pool day or becoming gym buddies.

10. Get involved

Does your building have a tenant association or clubs for specific activities? Does the complex hold regular community events? Join up and attend. You'll feel more connected to the overall community and it'll give you a chance to meet other residents in the apartment complex apart from your immediate neighbors. It also gives you an opportunity to meet other people with similar interests or goals. You can also take initiative and start your own organization or club, or plan an event to meet up with other residents.

Create community by getting to know your neighbors

Figuring out how to meet your neighbors is one of the most stressful parts of apartment living, but don't let it get to you. A little kindness, a helping hand and being brave enough to say hello is all it takes to turn that stranger into a good neighbor. These tips on how to meet your neighbors and get to know them better come in handy for all kinds of apartment communities and living situations.

Zoe Baillargeon Zoe Baillargeon is an award-winning writer and journalist based in Portland, Oregon, where she covers a variety of beats including travel, food and drink, lifestyle and culture for outlets like Apartment Guide, Rent., AFAR.com, Fodor's, The Manual, Matador Network and more. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, hiking, reading and spoiling her cat.

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