Typical neighbor encounters occur in this order: smile, say hello or wave, and keep walking.
Although it might feel uncomfortable to break the cycle, getting to know your neighbors on a personal level has many benefits. For instance, it builds community within your apartment building and opens doors to things like dinner parties, playdates, pet sitting, problem solving, and more. Neighbors tend to look out for each other when they have a good relationship. Plus, the closer your apartment community is, the safer it will be.
After all, having the capability to form long-lasting friendships with those who live near you is one of the perks of living in an apartment building.
This goes beyond knowing the neighbor on either side of your apartment; this includes getting to know the other residents in the building – those that you see in the parking lot, the stairwells, halls, and elevators.
There might be a lot of things already on the to-do list, and while meeting your neighbors isn’t necessarily on the top of it, it’s something you should probably do sooner rather than later.
So, whether you’ve been there for years or you’re new to the apartment community, here are a few ideas to get you started.
Day one moving into your apartment will obviously be a busy one, but maybe by the second or third day you should begin to introduce yourself. You don’t need to bake any cookies or throw a party, nothing elaborate is needed, just a simple ‘Hi my name is ________, how are you” will work.
Taking this step will breaking the initial barrier and will prevent any awkwardness in the future. Plus, when you see this person again, the conversation will be a lot easier.
Make it a habit to reach out to your neighbors.
Try out these conversation starters:
• How long have you lived here?
• Where did you grow up?
• What is there to do in the community?
• What do you do for a living?
• Do you have any pets or children? How many?
A simple gesture, as small as a wave, can go a long way in establishing a relationship with your neighbor. Imagine how pleasant it would be to start your day with a wave in the morning to say, ‘have a great day!’
A good opportunity to meet neighbors in a natural setting is utilizing the apartment amenities. This way you are meeting people who share common interests as you. Plus, you’ll be in an environment that you’re most comfortable in.
If you have children or pets, they too might want to meet some people in the building. Maybe your children are hesitant of the move, maybe they aren’t as close to their friends as they used to be. The change of scenery is something new to everyone involved.
During the initial introductions you might have come to know those who too have children or pets. If they are roughly the same age as your children, you could set up a play date for them to interact; same goes for pets. Visiting a local park with your animals would be a bonding experience for not only the pets, but for the owners as well.
Celebrate an Unusual Holiday
If you need an excuse to meet your neighbors, do it by celebrating a weird holiday.
Look on the National Day Calendar to see what holiday is today or what holiday(s) are coming up. Choose one that suits you and share the news with your neighbors.
Maybe you want to even purchase them a gift of this significant holiday. For instance, national red rose day is June 12. Maybe on June 21 you give each of your residents a red rose when introducing yourself. Or on national first day of summer (June 21) you give every resident you meet a flower lei.
If you’re always cooped up inside, you’re never going to meet anyone. Place yourself in areas where you’re more likely to come across new faces, such as the front yard or your building’s common areas.
If your building hosts community events take part in them. Typically, these events will involve free food; food accumulates people. Don’t keep putting off these social events – they’re designed to bring the community together
A Helping Hand
People often remember how you made them feel and what you did than what you said. If you notice that one of your neighbors could use some help, lend a helping hand. In general, being kind is a good way to live your life and can go a long way in establishing yourself as a friendly neighbor.
On the flip side, relationships can be established by not just giving help, but asking for help yourself when you need it. Majority of people like to help others, and if it’s not a nuisance it can help build a nice relationship. Show gratitude when they do help you out, and make it known that you’re more than happy to return the favor.
It doesn’t have to be scary process to meet your neighbors. Think of it less as networking and more as familiarizing yourself in your new neighborhood.
You aren’t going to become good friends with most of the people you meet but having friendly acquaintances nearby will make you feel more at home.
At the end of the day, being approachable to those around you will allow relationships to progress naturally, making the home environment more comfortable for you and everyone else involved.