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Creating Bonds: Being Friendly with Neighbors
Sometimes Benjamin will ask, “So if we won the lottery, what neighborhood would you want to move to?” And we wonder if we would move at all or just stay put and go on trips and order Postmates food delivery for every meal for the rest of our lives.
But we talk about our neighbors, the ones that might stay forever (like us) and how the kids in the neighborhood are growing up so soon and how sad we are about it! All this to say that we love our neighbors, our house – and let’s be real, even if we bought a new house I’d be remodeling it to the way I like! It’s been 7 years of living in our neighborhood, we’re on the corner so I think we’re extra lucky with our location to be exposed to more neighbors.
One day we had so much help from the neighborhood teens (who were little boys when I first moved in wahhh). Steven has helped us with the backyard watching our house while we had servicemen one morning because we had to head to an event, and later that night I couldn’t help lift furniture so we asked Ethan to come over and help move the dresser and couch in. I was so thankful for them and that we have this friendship with our neighbors.
If you’re new to the neighborhood, why not introduce yourself first?
When I first moved into my house as the new kid on the block, instead of waiting for neighbors to come to me, I decided to send a card to my neighbors. Why not?
I didn’t know their names so I just wrote, “To my new neighbor, (address)” on the envelope and inside and I designed a card that had my photo (I was single at the time), a Q&A about me like where I moved from (down the street), what my favorite local places to eat, what I did for a living, and my phone number. I welcomed them to stop by anytime since I worked from home.
Neighbors stopped by! They waved, they invited me to backyard parties and came over with gift baskets, flowers, it was so wonderful to get to know my neighbors. A few months later, I got married and we invited our neighbors to our backyard reception.
Actions to take to build a bond with your neighbors
I remember reading somewhere that if you let your neighbors use your tools (or ask to borrow theirs) it is a great start to becoming friendly. I think I read that in Real Simple magazine and I remember when Benjamin was outside trying to cut part of our tree one of our neighbors we had yet to get to know came over with her electric saw and helped and it was SO KIND. I was so excited because I was like, just watch, this will create a nice relationship with her! And it did!
Have snacks for the neighborhood kids
Summer time we usually have root beer float popsicles or other cooler snacks and ask the kids if they want any when we see them playing outside. Lately though, we get a doorbell ring with balls kicked over our fence (an excuse to ring our bell) then followed by a question asking if we have any popsicles. It’s very cute!
So here are some tips on how to extend a friendship to your neighbors –
- Text them when you are planning to go away and ask them to look for mail or packages.
- If you hear someone is very sick or someone has passed, show up with flowers or drop off food, find a way to help!
- Have a backyard get together
- Ask a neighbor for help (like watching your home or asking to help move furniture)
- Leave your garage door up so they know you are home – if this is safe.
- Join the Next Door app which is a friendly and safe neighborhood site so you can see what is going on with your neighborhood.
- Have popsicles at your house – we have kids come over and ask for them now that we’ve handed them out all the time over the summer. Benjamin also takes time to ask the kids to show them their soccer kicks and how they are doing in school. As with anything, take interest in what people are doing!
- If a kid is selling lemonade or cookies, we stop to support them. We can’t do ALL of them but every time there’s a lemonade stand we do it!
- Sit outside in the front yard longer, have tea, this makes you more accessible to neighbors walking by and anyone coming home so they can wave and say hello.
- Wave to your neighbors, even if you don’t know them – even if they are walking their dog. Don’t be in such a rush to run into your home!
- Be outside more if you have a patio, chat with everyone who walks by
- Go to neighborhood garage sales – it’s a great way to chat up your neighbors.
Right now since we are done with the expansion we hope to invite our neighbors over and show them what we’ve done to increase the neighborhood value! They’ve after all been hearing the banging, seeing the trucks and are probably curious – we just need to make some time and do it!
Also at the moment we don’t have a garage either (1952 home) and it sounds weird but it isn’t as bad as it sounds, I promise, but I know that it makes us more exposed to neighbors so they know when we’re home. You feel like you know if your neighbors are home or not. And when we work in the yard, we are just going in and out and being active with our neighbors. We are planning to add a garage for curb appeal and it worries me that this will change our neighbor dynamics so I hope not which is why I’m glad we’re already close with our neighbors.
Related Creating Bonds posts:
- Children and Aunties: Friends that are like Family
- Making New Friends as an Adult
- Creating a Group of Friends