Whatever happened to the days of neighbours becoming good friends? With so many of us working long hours, ferrying the kids to and from school, studying, commuting, going to appointments or a million other things, it can be difficult to prioritise ‘getting to know the neighbours’. We’ve come up with a few little tips to help you get to know the folks next door.
Neighbours love cake!
If a new family has just moved in nearby, go and introduce yourself! Bring over a pie and you might just get one back at a later stage. Offer to help them unpack or even cook a meal and take it over at the end of the day. Moving to a new neighbourhood can be daunting for many people, and most will truly appreciate a friendly face welcoming them to the street.
Don't forget to say hello
It doesn’t matter whether you’re taking the bins out, getting the mail or taking the dog for a walk — if you see your your neighbours out and about in the street, say hello! Give them a smile or a wave, introduce yourself and initiate a casual chat. Even the most basic small talk can often lay the foundations for a better relationship with your neighbours.
Share babysitting duties and organise a play date
Organising a play date with the family down the road can be a great way to break the ice and get to know some of the other parents in the area. Having network of friendly parents within the neighbourhood to help keep an eye on the kids and can also provide an emergency babysitter in times of need.
Chat with your neighbours about everything from local issues to bin collection.
Nothing attracts neighbours like a garage sale
The next time a big pile of your unwanted stuff builds up, why not organise a garage sale and invite your fellow neighbours to take part? Whether they want to sell some of their belongings as well, or are happy to just sift through your trash for their treasure, by the end of the day you’ll know your neighbours a little better! Not to mention, garage sales can be a fantastic way to start up easy conversations like “Where on earth did you get that statue?”.
Host a barbecue
No one can pass up a good barbie! A backyard gathering allows people to get to know each other in a relaxed and easy-going environment and it’s great for the kids too. Door-knock, distribute flyers in letterboxes or use social media sites to invite the whole neighbourhood. Encourage everyone to bring a plate of food and some drinks — the more the merrier!
Be proud of your suburb. Share photos of your favourite local spots.
Keep your neighbours up with a street party
Street parties are a fantastic way to really establish a sense of community. Gather your neighbours, get some music going, fire up the barbecues, roll out the eskies and get everyone to bring some platters of food. The kids will have the chance to play with other neighbourhood children and you can meet that friendly couple across the way. It may even become an annual tradition!
Start or join a local fitness group
A walk or jog around the block can be a great way to meet those around you. Say hello to those you pass and if you already know them, why not stop for a chat? Dogs can be fantastic conversation starters, so next time you go for your afternoon stroll through the neighbourhood, bring your pooch along too! You could even start a local exercise group and invite likeminded neighbours to join in.