In today’s busy culture, one hardly has the time to notice shifts in the neighborhood, let alone having the time to say hello to neighbors. However, community has been shown to be an incredible force in people’s lives. Building relationships with your neighborhood promotes the stability of the community; people want to stay where they feel accepted and supported. In case of an emergency, your car won’t start, a babysitter backed out last minute, or maybe you do need to borrow that cup of sugar, community can make all the difference. Having a sense of belonging and importance resonates for every age, with the potential to lead healthier and happier lives.
This three part series will offer ways to engage your neighbors whether you have never spoken or you’ve already exchanged house keys.
Part I: New Neighbors
- Knock, Knock- For most of us, the first time you approach your neighbor’s door is always intimidating. There’s no trick or good advice, except do it! Set a date and break the ice. Make sure you set up a “next time” so that it isn’t two years later, and you can’t quite remember their names. Ask them to have coffee or tea. Introductions are important, but establishing that next step is even more critical for growing relationships.
- Attend Neighborhood Meetings- Many neighborhoods have organized meetings on a regular basis. Look into the active organizations in your neighborhood. Information about this can be found through the Internet or local services such as libraries, businesses or local government institutions. Then, you can stay in contact with the group via newsletters and other social interactions online.
- House Tour- Opening your home is a great way to get to know your neighbors. This gathering can be after you have settled in or maybe after a kitchen renovation. Providing lite refreshments or hosting a potluck is also a great way to win everyone over!
Article written by Michelle Kraines, Healthy Blocks Program Assistant at NeighborWorks® Rochester.