Tips for Making Friends with Neighbors
Sometimes breaking the ice in a new neighborhood or building can be challenging, but having at least one friend or acquaintance in your building can bring you peace of mind and make your living experience that much better. Creating a sense of community among your neighbors will make you happier and will make any potential conflict resolution down the line smoother, too.
Taking that first step and saying hi can be daunting, but here are some easy ins:
Smile and Greet People
Seems like common knowledge, but most times when I am coming and going from my apartment I am either in a rush or it’s early in the morning. During those times I am much less likely to be friendly, but opening up to others with something as simple as a smile could eventually lead to a conversation or at least a positive perception from your neighbors. This small and respectful gesture can go a long way.
Good Old-Fashioned Cookies
Are you new to your building, but not sure how to introduce yourself? Everyone likes baked goods. Bake some brownies or cookies or even pick them up from the store and take the leap – knock on the door and introduce yourself to your next-door neighbor. It can’t hurt.
Pay Attention to Community Events
Many apartment communities hold small events from time to time to foster friendship and community among residents. You may be wondering if anyone really goes to these and the truth is – some people really do. It can’t hurt to go and if they are serving any food or beverages chances are your rent pays for it, so at least check events out to get the most bang for your buck in your apartment complex.
Offer to Dog-Sit
This only works if you like animals, but one simple way to interact with your neighbors is to be friendly with their pets. Asking to pet someone’s dog is somehow easier for me than straight up saying hi to the owner and often times an owner will like that you asked before petting and that you showed interest in their furry friends. Keep in mind that not all pets are friendly so don’t take it personally if you get a no here and there. Take it a step further and let them know that you are willing to pet-sit if they ever need help (but only if you really mean it).
Use Apartment Amenities
If you live in an apartment with a lounge or with a gym, use these amenities. You do pay for them. If you go at similar times each day, chances are you might start running into the same people and if you use the smile and greet method, you might just ease into acquaintanceship or friendship with other gym/lounge/pool/coffeemaker users. In my case, my building offered a shuttle service – I made most of my friends on the daily commute just by being open to conversation.
Although many of these might sound like common sense, they are easier said than done. Be brave though, ultimately being nice never hurt any body. If your neighbors don’t immediately reciprocate, don’t take it too personally, just continue to be a considerate neighbor, sometimes these things take time and being considerate never hurt anyone either.
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