Between packing up your belongings, finding a new house, and driving a van across a city, state, or country to a new destination, moving is one of the most stressful times of your life. But moving also comes with new opportunities, one of the greatest being the new neighbors you’ll meet once you arrive and get settled.
Sometimes you don’t even have to move to enjoy the pleasure of making a new neighborhood acquaintance! If a “Sold” sign goes up over the “For Sale” sign on the house down the street, you can start planning how you’ll meet and greet your new neighbors.
Whatever side of the move in you’re on, take advantage of the opportunity of having new neighbors. Follow the suggestions below to make the transition simple and seamless.
When You’re the New Neighbor
1. Deliver Thank You Notes to People who Help You Move In.
When you drive up to your new home with a moving van packed full to bursting, often neighbors will notice your arrival and wander over to help carry boxes and furniture. Greet them warmly and offer a firm handshake. Also take note of their names and addresses. Then you can extend your own gracious hand of friendship a few days later with a thank you note. In today’s digital world, a paper thank you note may seem antiquated, but most people still appreciate the personalized gesture.
2. Introduce Yourself.
Making the first move as the new neighbor can be uncomfortable, but waiting for your neighbors to say hello first takes control entirely out of your hands. Take charge and make the rounds before you’ve been in the neighborhood for an entire week.
Make an effort to introduce yourself to anyone you see out in their yard when you’re coming or going. Alternatively, try a friendly knock on the front door. You might prefer to divide up the task by visiting one or two new neighbors every night. Another option is to break the ice by bringing a treat or thinking of a pertinent question to ask about the area or neighborhood.
3. Host a Housewarming Party.
If you’d prefer to get to know the new neighbors on your own turf, invite them to a housewarming party a few weeks after you move in. Before hosting, make sure you’ve unpacked the rooms where your company will be mingling. Once you’re all set, deliver invitations to everyone on your street or block. A hand-delivered invitation helps you place faces with residences and takes the pressure off you learning everyone’s names at the party itself.
At the party, there’s no need to be formal or fancy. If you want to involve food, serve something simple-dessert or light hors d’oeuvres are fine. You are also welcome to invite others you know from the area, such as friends, family, or coworkers. That way both you and your new neighbors can spend the party visiting with friends old and new.
When You Have New Neighbors
1. Introduce Yourself.
Etiquette expert Emily Post’s website says meeting new neighbors is one of the few times when it’s acceptable to visit someone without warning. The trick is to find the right time. Go too early and they might be embarrassed are anxious because they haven’t unpacked. Wait too long and it might feel awkward because you’ve both seen each other around but you haven’t acknowledged each other yet.
Sometime within the first two weeks is probably the best time to introduce yourself. Walk over to the new neighbors’ house when they’re out in the yard, or knock on the front door and say hello. Because the visit is unannounced, stay only a short time, but be sure to make note of significant details they share with you (name, work, where they moved from) and something you can ask them about when you see them next.
2. Offer to Help.
For an easy introduction, offer a helping hand when you notice new neighbors moving in. Unless your new neighbors hired a moving service, chances are they’ll be glad to have your help. Often people moving to a new area don’t know many people, leaving them without enough hands to transport their furniture and boxes from the truck to their house. Your offer to help is a neighborly gesture they won’t forget.
The first time you meet your new neighbor, you may also want to extend a generic offer of help. Although most people use smart phones and internet searches to find directions nowadays, some answers are still not Google-able. Opinions about local schools, restaurants, or other insider information usually carry more weight when coming from a trusted local source than an anonymous online one.
3. Make a Gesture of Friendship.
Even after your initial introductions, your new neighbors might be shy about saying hello again. Keep the feelings of goodwill and friendship growing by sharing a simple gift basket. Don’t feel the need to be extravagant-in fact, less expensive gifts are usually best because they make neighbors feel welcome but don’t imply an obligation to reciprocate. A simple plate of cookies, some vegetables from your garden, or coupons to your favorite local restaurants make great welcome gifts.
To truly make a new neighbor feel welcome, let them know about upcoming events in your community. When your neighbors
mention their interests, bring up any groups or activities that might match their hobbies. You can also invite them to events you like to attend. If they accompany you, introduce them to people you know so they can make more connections in the area.
With these simple tips for greeting new neighbors, you can make the transition to a new home-your own or someone else’s-enjoyable and stress-free. Then next time you need to borrow a cup of sugar or a step-ladder, feelings of friendship will already exist.