Long-distance moving to a totally different place is tough enough as it is – you have to worry about the long-distance movers, your belongings, and planning and executing everything in time. The last thing you want to worry about is how and when you will meet new neighbors.
Even if you get overwhelmed with organizing your move, there are some things you need to do afterward, and meeting people from your neighborhood is an essential step to any relocation. It’s not a top priority, meaning you don’t have to go knocking on doors the second you step foot onto your street, but it is something you have to get around to once you start settling into your new home.
No matter how introverted you are, or simply stubborn to the point of thinking you can live on your own, completely separate from others, you will learn with time that being a part of a community feels nice. So, not introducing yourself to your next-door neighbor could be one of the biggest relocation mistakes you could make, especially if you’re relocating to a small town. You would want someone to call 911 in case your home started to go up in flames, wouldn’t you?
Knowing you have someone friendly close by is also very comforting, especially if you’re relocating to another state alone. Relocations take the third spot on the list of the worst stressors in life, so you can imagine that you will be facing a certain amount of relocation stress. Having a friendly face across the street is something that could really help you out with the relocation depression after moving across country.
There is a reason why so many people like being a part of a community. We are all living in the same place, and we couldn’t co-exist without crossing each other’s paths from time to time and helping each other out. Once you make friends and become part of a community, you can always count on someone to help you out when you need it, especially if you’re living in the suburbs.
If you’ve settled in and you’re still receiving mail from previous residents, your neighbor will tell you who to contact. If you’re relocating without a job, perhaps your neighbor is in your line of work and knows about an open spot. Referrals are one of the easiest ways to get a new job. They might even offer to help you unpack after the cross-country movers have left. And it doesn’t matter which cross-country moving services you hired or how great the packing services were – it’s still a big job, so any assistance you can get is greatly appreciated. Especially if it comes from experienced professionals from Cross Country Movers.
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Keeping in touch with old friends after moving cross-country is not enough, you need to face the fact that your surroundings have changed and that you need new friends in your life. Meeting your neighbors is one of the easiest ways of making friends. If you’ve moved to the suburbs, there is a very big chance you will have a family that’s around your age as a neighbor. So, if you’re relocating with kids, this could be an excellent opportunity for your children to make new friends.
Meeting people from your neighborhood can often be on the list of things you forget to do when you move, especially if you’re moving to a big city where it’s not very common to be close to people living next to you. Nevertheless, it’s considered to be common courtesy. It could be as simple as smiling and waving to the other person on the street or even saying hi as you walk past them in the hallway or share an elevator ride. You don’t have to become best friends as they do in sitcoms. Being friendly and polite is more than enough, and there are many foolproof ways to go over and introduce yourself.
A lot of people want to meet everyone from the neighborhood, but they simply don’t know how to approach them, and once you add the relocation anxiety into the mix, they don’t feel confident enough to pull it off. There is no need to be shy in these situations, other people want to find out who will be moving in across the street as well, so they look forward to meeting you too. And the more you plan everything out in your head and think about it, the harder it will be. Luckily for you, there are some great ideas on how to break the ice when meeting everyone.
This is probably one of the most popular tips for getting your neighborhood to like you – feed them and get them drunk. Just as you would throw a moving away party, throw a get-to-know-each-other party. It really doesn’t have to be anything special, buy some beer and lay out some decorations. There are many ways you can invite everyone – you can go door to door and tell everyone, leave invitations in their mailboxes, or hang posters around the street, somewhere noticeable. Since it will probably be late notice, don’t expect everyone on the street to show up.
The most important thing about this party is that it needs to be lowkey and laid back. Think of it more as a gathering than a party. Don’t hire a DJ. Create a playlist, and be sure the music is playing very softly in the background. The point of this party isn’t to have the craziest party everyone will talk about for the next week, it’s to create an opportunity to get to know as many people as possible. A barbecue would be perfect for this occasion.
Gifts are always a great icebreaker. If you’re nervous and you really want your neighbors to like you, you can bring them some kind of a hi-I’m-moving-in-next-door gift. It doesn’t have to be anything big or expensive, in fact, anything similar to that would be considered rude. You only need a small gesture everyone likes.
Everyone knows that food is the best gift there is. You cannot not love someone who brings you freshly baked cookies. Again, there is no need to go over the top here. It’s just supposed to be a conversation starter and a nice gesture, there is no need to bake a three-layer cake. Here are some great, simple ideas on what you can bring:
If you need a reason to go over and a simple and effective way to strike up a conversation, you can always ask your neighbors for some help (even if you don’t really need it). Everyone likes to feel needed and useful, just don’t overdo it, or you will be known as that one that moved in and asked for a big favor right away. Ask them for something simple, such as when is the garbage pickup or where you can go to drink a good cup of coffee or have lunch. If you need more tips on how to approach and talk to your neighbors, watch this video.
If you constantly stay home buried in a pile of boxes in your home, you will miss out on meeting some great friends on the street. So, get out, go for a walk, and leave your headphones at home. If you have a dog, take it out for a walk. Dogs, and pets in general, are great conversation starters, and they are an excellent conversation “buffer.” Of course, if you’re relocating in winter, this might not be the best way to meet everyone since there will be fewer people on the street.
Friendships are something you have to constantly work on, and you can’t expect to just say hello and instantly become friends with everyone and be part of a community. It takes some time to warm up to each other, and you need to put some effort into it, but don’t worry, all you have to do is be polite and friendly, and you will fit in pretty quickly.
The easiest way to get someone to warm up to you is to be considerate and ask them if they need any help. If you see they’re struggling with grocery bags, go over and lend a helping hand. If the car shipping service has just dropped off your car and you’re washing it, offer to wash your neighbor’s car as well. Small gestures and acts of kindness can go a long way.
If you want to become a part of the community quickly, the easiest way to do so is to volunteer. There are countless things you can do – you can volunteer at the animal shelter, at the library, the senior center, and so on. Probably one of the best tips is to volunteer for neighborhood watch. And you don’t have to walk around the streets at night with a flashlight, there are apps you can use, such as the Ring Neighbors App.
Until you become best friends, there is no need to burden your new friends with serious topics from your life. Keep the conversations light and bubbly, and stick to casual small talk. Ask them some basic questions like where they’re from in order to get to know them better, and you can also talk about the town, how long they’ve been living there, any advice they might have and so on.
Nobody likes or accepts a bad neighbor. You need to be respectful and considerate of your surroundings. Don’t play your music too loudly, yell or cause excessive noise. Don’t leave your trash bags sitting on the sidewalk, don’t park in driveways that are not yours, keep your front yard neat and clean, and avoid being intrusive or rude.
The last thing you need after cross-country moving is more planning and more stress, you already have a lot on your plate, and if you don’t feel like organizing a party or baking and buying flowers and gift baskets, you can always simply go over, knock on the door and introduce yourself without any tricks, gifts, or fuss. Everyone always appreciates a simple, confident introduction. Take other members of your family with you, chat for a bit, go in for a cup of coffee if they invite you, and then go back to unpacking. Easy and quick, like ripping off a bandaid.