The removalists have left, you’ve unpacked most of your belongings and the kitchen is just about functional. So, how do you go about meeting your new neighbours, and, is it up to you or them to make the first move?
Lots of people are nervous about making the first move and it’s easy to let meeting the neighbours fall to the last job on the list. Be careful though because the longer you leave getting acquainted, the less likely you’ll be to ever do it and the more guilty you’ll feel about not being proactive.
Ideally, it’s best to get on the front foot and knock on your immediate neighbours’ doors within a day or two of moving in. Some people even find that saying a quick hello on the day of moving is best. Your neighbours can see you are busy moving boxes and this takes the pressure off them as much as you. Neither party feels obliged to invite a stranger into their home.
Here are some helpful tips for you to follow.
1. On the day of moving or within a day or two of moving in, go and knock on your neighbour’s door and introduce yourself. Tell your neighbour your name, where you have just moved from, and perhaps comment on something you’ve noticed to help strike up a conversation. Things you could mention might include :
- You’ve noticed their pets – mention you love pets too
- You’ve noticed their garden – compliment them on how nicely it is kept
- You’ve noticed they have children – ask how many they have and explain how many you have
2. Keep your conversation short and to the point. Your aim is just to let your neighbour know who you are and that you’re willing to help if they need a hand. This just establishes your intent to be a good neighbour. If you’ve spotted a shared interest, talk a little about this but allow your new neighbour space – you don’t want to come across as nosy.
3. Keep the connection going. You don’t have to get too close but always smile and say hello when passing in the corridor. Give your neighbour a wave when you see them in their garden but don’t always feel obliged to approach for a chat.
4. Offer to host an afternoon or morning tea to get to know them a little better. If your initial meetings have given you confidence, you might prefer to invite them for a BBQ or dinner. Reassure them that things will be kept casual.
5. Ask your neighbour for information about garbage collection and, if living in an apartment building, any particular preferences your fellow owners have about recycling arrangements and the garbage room.
It’s also worth asking about security arrangements and whether a neighbourhood watch programme is in place.
Above all, avoid being too nice or nosy, and definitely don’t carry on about how good or bad your last neighbours were. Not everybody feels at ease, telling you things about themselves before they’ve gotten to know you better. The elderly can be particularly cautious and this is sometimes interpreted as being unfriendly – just give things time.
Remember as well that if you don’t get a warm and fuzzy feeling straight away, that’s OK; you don’t have to become bosom buddies. Your aim should simply be to have good-willed relations, demonstrate friendliness, and show you’re willing to cooperate and get along.