For many homeowners, becoming friendly with your neighbors really starts with your children. They play together and go to school together. Before long, they’ll be playing soccer or little league together, too, and you will find yourself meeting the other parents. Don’t be surprised if you end up with some great friendships that continue long after your kids have moved on to other activities.
Of course, not every family on your block will have kids that are the same age, so you may need to find another common bond to break the ice. Another way to get your neighbors out and visiting with each other is to organize a community yard sale. It’s a great way to make a few bucks, clean out the garage, and to reconnect. Plus, you might find some great stuff!
How about a ‘kick it to the curb’ day? In that scenario, for one day, everyone in the neighborhood is invited to clear out all their junk…and toss it into a rented dumpster. The cost of the dumpster would be split up among those who participate and you’ll probably find most people would be willing to share the cost and jump at the chance to throw out stuff that the regular garbage pickup wouldn’t take.
Or, perhaps a call to action would do the trick. Do you have a playground or a park in your neighborhood that could use some tender loving care? Getting your neighbors to chip in to pull some weeds, pick up some trash and plant some flowers will not only encourage you to socialize with each other, it’ll also beautify your community and help maintain everyone’s home value.
While we’re keeping the cul-de-sac looking good, work with your younger neighbors to help out the older residents. Do you have an elderly homeowner on your street who could use a hand with some spring clean up? By donating a couple of hours of time and working together, you and your neighbors can spruce up the neighborhood and earn the gratitude of an elderly friend.
And, surely, the best route to your neighbor’s heart is through his stomach. Now that spring is here, people are taking the covers off of their grills, and sending all sorts of delicious smells wafting down the street…what better way to create that friendly neighborhood atmosphere than by doing it together? Plan a community potluck or barbecue, and have everyone bring a dish. While you’re at it, throw together a neighborhood softball game or even just toss a football or Frisbee. Before you know it, you’ll find yourselves arranging regular get-togethers and finding you have more in common with your neighbors than just a zip code.
And that really is the case, if you think about it. You and your neighbors all chose to live where you live for a reason. You share common values though your children’s’ schools; you shop in the same stores, use the same communities facilities, and depend on each other to keep your neighborhood safe and attractive.
Cynics may say that good fences make good neighbors, but if you get out there and get to know your neighbors this spring, you just may find yourself knocking those fences down.