We've all been there... You see that “For Sale” sign coming down and the U-Haul pulling in. You casually peek out your window at these new arrivals, hoping they don't notice your creepy ways. For the more curious of us out there, you might have noticed that the grass needs to be cut or that the dog needs a walk at this exact moment, timing can be funny like that. So you nonchalantly do your best to get as close as possible. Better yet a brave few of you might offer a polite nod and smile, then retreat back into the comfort of your own home.
There is a chance that over the course of the next few years your life will align with these newbies and you will create a dare I say...a relationship. Your children might become friends, you might start taking joint family vacations to Mount Rushmore and so on and so forth. There is a chance that you will begin creating memories with these once strangers. Unfortunately, this is the exception not the norm.
All too often these strangers simply stay strangers. We claim that our lives are too busy and too full to allow one more person in. However, I would challenge you that it is in these moments that we either gain immensely or lose gravely. Humans are built for connection. We are wired to dream, and love, and laugh, and cry together. But the thing about connection is that it is intentional, it does not just simply happen. You have something beautiful waiting for you behind the doors of the house next door here are some ways to embrace this gift...
- Create an occasion around a holiday. Our condo does a holiday round-robin every year. This is where a few people volunteered to host everyone for 45 minutes to an hour. It's a wonderful way to get everyone together. We often find ourselves making plans to get together again in the coming weeks.
- Invite your neighbors on nightly walks. Chances are there a few dog-lovers in your neighborhood who would love your company. Growing up this practice was so popular in my neighborhood. You would often see twenty or more people walking and laughing together. Those walks are some of my best memories growing up.
- Invite your neighbors over. It doesn't have to be long or fancy. Pick up a pie from the local farmer's market and some lemonade. It is a small gesture of welcome that will make a huge impact.
- Organize a neighborhood community service project. Maybe there is a common space that could use some TLC or your maybe your street has started collecting lots of candy wrappers. Working together for a common cause brings unity beyond belief.
- Simply smile and stop. Cheesy I know but hear me out. Make time for these people. You don't know what they are going through and you can't really get to know them if you don't spend time with them. So stop on your way to work, roll down your window, and have a conversation. You just might be the highlight of their day.
Do all of these things take effort? Yes. Will they take your time? Absolutely. Well they brighten your life? Without a doubt.
How do you welcome new neighbors?