When people move into a new neighbourhood, building or apartment block, it’s normal to wonder who the new neighbours are. Finding the time to introduce ourselves is usually left to chance. After a move, there’s just so much to do that we often leave getting to know the neighbours until last, and sometimes, we never really do get to know our neighbours.
Okay, so I recently moved into a new house, new area and all.
I am one for the thrill of redecorating, arranging furniture and planning my new kitchen, but meeting my new neighbours? Ugh! This always feels like a drag! How do I overcome inertia in this regard? How do I simply introduce myself? How do I just get this over with? Well, thanks to the internet and Google, I found some insights.
You may have had ample opportunities to meet your new neighbours when you moved into your neighbourhood, but that doesn’t necessarily make it easier for a lot of people to do. Some are shy, while others of us are more concerned about privacy—both ours and our neighbours’.
So here’s what I gleaned and applied!
Make Your Move
We all have busy lives, so make sure you only approach your neighbour when it seems like it might be a good time. Avoid dinner, breakfast and early mornings (unless they’re already up and outside) and when they’re getting in their car. Usually, if someone is leaving or coming home, they have an agenda and plan and don’t necessarily appreciate the interruption.
What to Say
If you have observed your neighbour for a while—whether or not they are married, have kids, live early for work, go to church or mosque—you can start with what you know about them. Find a common ground or something that could be of interest to them. Better yet, approach your neighbour with a genuine question. It could be the light situation: “How has PHCN been in this place?”
Just make sure that it’s pretty casual sounding.
What if We Have Nothing in Common?
No problem. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with just walking up to the front door and introducing yourself. Let them know that you just moved in and where you moved from. If that still feels uncomfortable, then ask about a common feature you share in the premise, compound or area.
Remember, while you think you might not have anything in common, you do: you live on the same street, in the same neighbourhood. That’s enough to start any conversation.
Be Friendly, But Not Invasive
A good rule is always to keep the talk short, unless it’s naturally progressing, and to allow the neighbour to make the move for an extended visit.
For me, it’s been fourteen days more or less, and applying these straightforward tips were rewarding. I met one neighbour on my way out of the compound who had two little daughters dancing round her, and on a closer look I saw their uncanny resemblance to each other. So I began my conversation with, “Are they twins?” The long and short of it is, we’re still talking!
Other meetings happened in their own unique ways, and I was mentally ready to connect; believe me, I can walk out of my street totally consumed and oblivious to my surroundings!
Can you remember how you connected with your neighbours when you moved into your present location for the first time? I hope it was a walk in the park for you. If not, when you get the chance, do it again with style.
Knowing your neighbours can provide a safer community where people look out for each other. Besides, you might just make some really strong, long-lasting connections!
Sandra Oma Etubiebi