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November 22, 2014

Won’t You Be My Neighbor? Tips and Hints for Introducing Yourself to the Locals

Moving to a new place is hard – there’s no way to disguise that. Unless you’re relocating to a house across the street or across town, you’re likely giving up a job and easy access to friends or family. You’ll have to start fresh; building a network of people you can depend on to loan you a cup of sugar, watch your kids for an hour or come to your barbeque in the back yard. In many cases, these people will be your neighbors. But how do you break the ice? What strategies can you use to lay the groundwork for new friendships? To help you out, we’ve listed a few ‘can’t fail’ tactics that are sure to win over the folks next door.
  1. Did we mention sugar?
It’s a tried and true tactic…because it works! Knock on a neighbor’s door and ask to borrow some sugar, a bit of baking powder or a pinch of cinnamon. You’re still unpacking, so darn it…you don’t know where that stuff is. And you have a crazy craving for home-baked cookies. Then, after your kindly neighbor provides the goods, return the favor by giving them some of the goodies! Who knows…sharing a cookie or two over a cup of coffee can be the start of a wonderful friendship!
  1. Kids – the Ultimate Icebreaker
If you have children, they’re a great way to get out and meet the neighbors. Walk your child to the bus stop, where you may find other parents doing the same. Take them to the nearest playground, where they can meet other kids their age. Most moms love to set up play dates for their children, which is a potential opportunity to socialize for you. And don’t forget to join a few committees at their school. It’s a fantastic way to meet other involved parents and take an active part in your child’s education at the same time.
  1. Find Some Common Ground
Many communities have meeting places built right in. Take advantage of a warm summer day by the community pool, work out in the on-site gym, or take a book to the coffee shop down the road and see who else is doing the same. Smile, give a compliment or ask a question. “Wow…those are great shoes! Where did you get them?” “I’m new to the neighborhood – would you happen to know where I could find the closest branch of my bank? (or the best grocery store, or a fantastic bakery, etc.)” “Is there a movie theater nearby? I’d like to go to see the latest Meryl Streep picture.” You never know when just the right comment will open a door to a conversation!
  1. Neighborhood Recon 101
Observe the patterns of movement in your community. Do people gather on their front porches in the evenings? Do they chat around the mailboxes or when they’re taking out their trash? Do they use the walking trails in the morning? Are there favorite areas for residents to walk their dogs? If so, put yourself there too! If you’re a gardener, cruise the neighborhood for fabulous flowers, shapely shrubberies or lush lawns. Stop by and ask for hints and tips on growing your own personal oasis.
  1. Join In
Whatever your interests are, find others who share them. Your new town is sure to have something that appeals to you. Look for walking or jogging clubs, book clubs, knitting groups, motorcycle or car clubs or community theatre. Volunteering is also a wonderful way to meet other civic-minded neighbors; if you have a passion for helping others, it can help you find new friends. Whatever it is that moves you, you’re sure to find kindred spirits when you sign up and show up!
  1. Happy Housewarming
Once you’ve had a few weeks to get settled in, consider having an open house! Invite the neighbors over for a casual, low key gathering, like a backyard barbeque, pool party or a simple house tour. Is there a special event coming up that you can use as a tool? Try throwing a holiday re-gifting white elephant swap in January, hosting a Super Bowl party or an Easter egg hunt, or putting together a group to go Christmas caroling. You can even offer your front lawn for a community yard sale! Whatever type of gathering you choose, make up a colorful flyer or invitation with all of the pertinent information that also lets your neighbors know you’re looking forward to meeting them and becoming a part of the community. If moving is in your future, the folks at Ernest Signature Custom Homes have a number of friendly communities ready to welcome you and your family. For more information on some of the best places to live in the greater Savannah, GA area, give us a call at (912) 756-4135 or drop us an email. You’ll feel truly at home in no time!
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