Building Community Around Your New Home
Researchers have understood for a long time that having a developed community is very important to our sense of personal well-being and to our health. But sometimes, finding or building that community is challenging. Finding and building community is especially difficult, perhaps most difficult, when we relocate to a new area.
In the good old days, getting to know your new neighbors was an important part of the ritual of relocating to a new neighborhood or community. Likewise, members of most communities felt it was their responsibility to reach out to new neighbors as they moved in and to welcome them to the community.
Unfortunately, the days when you could expect a welcome gift of baked goods or a fruit basket from the neighborhood welcome wagon are pretty much over in many neighborhoods around the country. So, how do you go about meeting your new neighbors in our increasingly insular and compartmentalized times? These tips should help you break the ice and start to build that all-important sense of community around your new home.
Tip 1 – Seize the Moment!
When you’ve just moved in, after the truck has departed but before you get into the heavy work of unpacking and decorating, take a break from the stress of completing your move and approach your neighbors. The longer you leave things, the more awkward they can become.
Why not use the move as a great excuse for banging on their doors and introducing yourself. It sure beats waiting by your recycling bin on pick-up day so you can “accidentally” bump into them at the curb!
Tip 2 – Make Use of Their Expertise!
You are new to the neighborhood, the town, or even the state or region. You don’t know where the nearest post office, DMV, movie theater, or whatever you may be looking for, actually is. You don’t know what your pizza and other delivery options may be. You don’t know much of anything, presumably, about your new environs.
Sure – you could try to Google all of the information you need, but one way to begin to develop relationships with anyone is to solicit their advice in person.
Tip 3 – Play the Host!
If you’re new to the neighborhood but have established relationships in the greater area, throwing a little housewarming party is a no-brainer. Just remember to invite your neighbors! Even if you have relocated to the other side of the country, a housewarming party is still a great idea. Invite your new coworkers and your neighbors – after all, parties are built for getting to know people.
Tip 4 – Get Involved!
Your new neighborhood or community, like nearly every community the world over, has organizations that its members belong to. Maybe they are charitable or fraternal organizations, or maybe they are more simple organizations like workout clubs or gardening groups.
Regardless, getting involved in local organizations — while it may not introduce you to your physical next-door neighbors, it can be a great way to begin to build your new local community.
Finding Home in the Neighborhood You’ve Just Relocated To
If you were paying attention at the end of The Wizard of Oz, then you already know that home is where the heart is. Building community is a part of finding your way to that new home. Take the initiative as best you can and break the ice – more often than not, you’ll find that people, no matter where you’ve moved, are similar all over the world.