How to Get to Know Your Neighbors When You Move

By   

View as:

yellow paper people on gray wooden background
Photo credit: 5 second Studio/shutterstock

COMMUNITY IMMERSION 101

Each year, millions of people move to a new community. While immersing yourself in new surroundings may not trump unpacking and setting up a home, there are reasons to make it a priority. Community ties help ease the transition, and getting to know the neighbors (even if not every single neighbor is nice) brings ongoing benefits — in fact, academia has affirmed the power of good neighbors for young and old. Not only can the people around you boost educational achievement as a kid; a Rutgers study says positive relations with neighbors can help people in middle and old age with “purpose in life, personal growth, autonomy, environmental mastery, self-acceptance, and positive relations." Here are ways to become acclimated.

two women drinking coffee outside while sitting and looking at a tablet
Photo credit: milanvirijevic/istockphoto

USE A NEIGHBORHOOD APP

Nextdoor is a free website that helps people stay connected with neighbors and stay informed about their neighborhood. Posts through Nextdoor can seek kids to shovel snow, ask for gardener recommendations, seek tools to borrow, note community fundraisers or events, or warn of crime or other incidents. Some police departments communicate through Nextdoor, too.

volunteers
Photo credit: wavebreakmedia/shutterstock

VOLUNTEER

Volunteering is often a no-cost and satisfying way to meet like-minded individuals. For some communities, VolunteerMatch pinpoints local opportunities. Alternatively, ask social media groups about volunteer openings. There is bound to be someone who can point you in the right direction.

facebook
Photo credit: nevodka/shutterstock

JOIN THE LOCAL FACEBOOK GROUP

Like Nextdoor, social media can facilitate community ties. See if the neighborhood maintains a Facebook group — or a few. Local buy/sell/trade groups are excellent venues for making friends and shedding stuff you packed and moved but probably won't use again. Homeowners associations often host Facebook groups; the school district may run a group for parents.

woman walking a dog
Photo credit: Dora Zett/shutterstock

OFFER A SERVICE

Perhaps you have a hobby that can be used to help others or a side job neighbors might like to know about. Put it out there. If you love animals, for example, offer to walk dogs or pet sit. Again, Nextdoor or other online groups are an easy way to market your expertise.

adult woman helping senior woman gardening
Photo credit: Monkey Business Images/shutterstock

HELP THE NEIGHBORS

What goes around comes around. In this instance, what you get out of your new community depends on what you put in — and that starts with the people who are closest. Ways to help include mowing an elderly neighbor's lawn, baking a treat for the new parents down the street, shoveling snow for the busy family next door, or bringing the trash bin out to the street for neighbors who are out of town. These are little things, but they won't go unnoticed.

diverse group of people at conference
Photo credit: Rawpixel.com/shutterstock

ATTEND A LOCAL MEETING

If you moved into a neighborhood with a homeowners association or something similar, be sure to attend a meeting and get some face time with the leaders. If you have school-age children, attend PTA or PTO meetings and sign up for a committee.

group of mature college students taking class in library
Photo credit: monkeybusinessimages/istockphoto

TAKE A CLASS

Like volunteering, taking a class that aligns with your interests facilitates introductions to like-minded people. Check out fitness classes such as yoga or Zumba, or try something creative, such as pottery. Start with the local recreation center, where classes typically are cheaper and sometimes discounted for residents.

young woman exploring city
Photo credit: Jose AS Reyes/shutterstock

EXPLORE

One fun part about moving is finding new things to enjoy. Set aside the unpacking for a day and head out on foot. Walk the neighborhood, hit up a casual restaurant or an interesting coffee shop, browse the stores, and chat with local business owners. Become a regular at that coffee shop and you'll meet the other regulars, too. Friendly nods will turn into conversations, which can turn into friendships.

business man walking dog while talking with neighbor woman walking dog in the street
Photo credit: Spiderplay/istockphoto

BE FRIENDLY

This is so basic that it's easy to forget: Smile and wave to people passing on the street, or strike up a conversation while in line at the grocery store. Before long you'll be seeing familiar faces wherever you go and become a familiar face to those around you.

people at community event
Photo credit: Rawpixel.com/shutterstock

ATTEND COMMUNITY EVENTS

Attending free events hosted by the community — the annual chili cook-off, a movie or concert in the park, a church festival, a local fair, a craft show, or whatever — is an easy and inexpensive way to get out and meet people. Check postings at the local recreation center and online. City and town government websites often post notices about community happenings too.

Cheapism.com participates in affiliate marketing programs, which means we may earn a commission if you choose to purchase a product through a link on our site. This helps support our work and does not influence editorial content.