Hector Zapata PA's Blog
One of the most significant adjustments of your move to a new home will be getting to know your new community. You may have lived in your previous house for some time and have had a good relationship with your neighbors. From acquaintances to friends getting to know new people is not only a part of being a new kid at school. When you move into that new neighborhood, you and your family are the new kids on the block. So how do you get to know your neighbors and start getting comfortable in your community?
There’s No School Like the Old School.
You’ve probably seen movies where folks always pop by to visit a new addition to their neighborhood, welcoming them and possibly dropping off a plate of cookies or fudge. Believe it or not, people in a community honestly did do this at one point in time. Now there might be a tendency not to want to bother your neighbor or to feel standoff-ish from engaging a new person. When you settle into a new home, you might not get the welcome wagon you were secretly hoping for from your new neighbors. So, turn the tables and in a way, welcome yourself to the new neighborhood by welcoming them as part of your community. Is there a dish you make well? Brownies, pasta salad, casserole? Consider making a few mini dishes, take them around to your neighbors and introduce yourself. It is less likely that your neighbors are unfriendly than it is that they simply don’t know the best way to engage with you, so you’ll have to take the first step. Just saying hi and opening your door to them can help pave the way for greater engagement with your community, and even making long-term friends.
Find ways to engage.
Pay attention to opportunities to join the activity in your community. Have you noticed a dog walking group? Ask them whether you and your pup can join up. Visit the local community center to see if there are any leagues or clubs you can join. Find a softball team or book club or neighborhood watch group hosted by someone in your community. Start volunteering in the community garden or school fund drive. It will always take time to become comfortable in a new group, but your new city has just as many ways for you to engage as your last one did, all you have to do is look.
TIP: Do not use your children as a way to force friendships. A big move can be tough on your kids. Forcing playdates with kids whose parents you think you like may not be the best strategy for helping your kids fit into the new neighborhood. Instead, engage with those neighbors on your own time and find other opportunities for your kids to get involved in activities to help them discover their own friends. Sports leagues, community swimming pools, and parks are great ways for kids to play and casually explore new friendships. If they ask you for a playdate be wholly supportive, and who knows, maybe that kid’s parents are a perfect match for you too!
Throw a Party.
Are you used to playing the primary host for neighborhood events? Were you the go-to house for holidays, fundraisers and Sunday afternoon football? If you want to establish your home as a welcoming environment for your neighbors, you have to start hosting! After you've met your neighbors and have engaged with a few of them to learn some common interests, pick a hosting opportunity that includes the most people and start there. Maybe your new community is really into their dogs. Find a neighbor whose dog is having a birthday soon and offer to host it. Use it as an excuse to invite everyone over for doggy themed cocktails, picnic foods, and cute baked goods. Host a game night with a few of the new couples you’ve met and get the word out that your house is open every Tuesday night for tacos and games. Host a Sunday football viewing party that incorporates a BBQ and outdoor activities for kids. People from every walk of life and varied interests make up the fabric of our beloved communities, take a chance—put yourself out there to embrace your community and make new friends.
Whether you’re moving to a new suburb, condominium community or retirement living there are always social opportunities. Speak with your real estate agent about your lifestyle preferences to find the community that best allows you to engage.