Being new to the neighbourhood can be quite stressful, especially since it happens simultaneously with the act of relocation itself. This means that instead of one, the person moving is faced with two life-altering events in such a short period of time. So, as a native of the area, you have a duty to make sure that your new neighbour feels welcome. Getting acquainted and leaving a good first impression is in your own best interest, as well. Still, how do you pull all of this off? Here are six tips that should help you out in this regard immensely.
1. Start with an introduction
The first introduction that you make should be short and concise. Go over, tell them your name and where you live. Then, tell them that they’re welcome to the neighbourhood and offer your assistance. You could also offer some guidance on local businesses, services and conveniences but you really shouldn’t push it. Try roleplaying but imagine a move where you’re on a tight schedule and a thing or two has already gone wrong. Then, imagine someone approaching you and asking a couple of questions. This will give you a better idea of when to withdraw.
2. Respect their privacy
Going over to say hallo is generally a good idea, however, it can be misinterpreted as being too meddling. Remember that they’ve just moved. They might not have even unpacked as of yet. So, you barging in and inviting them over or inviting yourself in can be quite inconvenient. So, try to avoid approaching them during the first couple of days. Then, make sure that you are as non-imposing as possible. Convey one message and back out. It’s that simple.
3. Don’t go empty-handed
One of the best ways to make a good first impression would be to go there with a gift. What you want is something simple, symbolic and customary. Looking for nice gift baskets and ordering one might be what you’re looking for. This is great because it’s full of interesting things and the value of the gift isn’t, “problematic” either. What we mean by this is that getting them something too expensive might make them uncomfortable and make them reluctant to accept. It may also make them feel like they need to pay you back (which is not what you’re aiming for). Overall, a gift basket is a great idea.
4. Go in group
You’re not the only one in the neighbourhood who will want to go over and say hi. So, if you go in a group, you will take a lot less time from your new neighbour. This is far more convenient. Also, this will show them that you are a community with organization, solidarity and a sense of belonging. In order to make sure this is done right, it might be for the best if you were the one who organized the neighbours, to begin with. This way, you will make the most difference.
5. Host a dinner party
While going over to greet them, you have no idea whether they’re busy or how busy they are at the moment. In order to be considerate, you will have to keep it short and to the point, however, this won’t give you much room to get to know each other. So, try hosting a dinner party. This way, they can plan for it and put it in their schedule. Other than this, the atmosphere will be more intimate and relaxed, which should facilitate the flow of the conversation. Just make sure to ask them about their dietary preferences and allergies. Also, ask them if they’re vegan. It’s a nice gesture and it doesn’t take much effort to prepare a vegan meal in 2021.
6. Organize a play date
If both you and your neighbours have kids of the same or similar age, you could set a play date. This would be quite invaluable to both them and their kids. Just think about it, they probably left all their friends behind and are now looking for new ones. By setting up a play date you would do them a gargantuan favour. In fact, you might even set them up with friends for life. It’s healthy for kids to socialize and if doing so helps you set great inter-neighbourly relations, even better.
In the end, you need to understand one simple principle. It’s important for your new neighbours to get in touch with you but it’s by no means a priority during their move. Take your time and be tactical about it when you do approach them. Offer them your assistance but don’t be too pushy. Take some time to get to know them and make it abundantly clear that their life and lifestyle are not your affairs. Other than this, it’s good to give any hangouts with them some sort of a formal structure (dinner, play date, etc.). This way, you just can’t fail.
Jasmine Anderson is a Sydney based lifestyle blogger and a toddler mom. She loves to spend quality time with her family, go thrifting, and spend just a little bit too much time on the internet.