Like it or not, your relationships with your neighbors can make or break your living experience. As adults, though, making new friends can be hard—so how do you overcome that challenge and become friend with your neighbors? According to a 2018 survey, only 31% of Americans know their neighbors, let alone consider them friends. Of those Americans who know their neighbors, though, about half of them talk to them once a week, according to Pew Research. Because of the proximity and frequency with which you see your neighbors, they have the potential to become great friends.
Whether you end up clicking well with your neighbors (hello new besties!) or just open up the door to a courteous relationship, these tips will help make your living experience even better and will have your neighbors loving you in no time.
Introduce Yourself. In a world where everyone is always on their phone, this may be easier said than done. Try to make a point of saying hello in that critical time when you or your neighbors are moving in or out, because this gives you an automatic talking point (“Welcome to our neighborhood! Where did you move from?”). The old adage of bringing a baked good to a new neighbor may seem dated, but they’ll more than likely find the sentiment thoughtful and it gives you a great opportunity to get to know a little more about the new face in your community. Try this easy chocolate chip cookie recipe for a classic treat.
Be Mindful. If you feel uncomfortable approaching your neighbors for being too loud or for other indiscretions, reach out to your leasing team to moderate. That way you don’t have to be the bad guy but you also don’t let a persistent problem fester. In that same mindset, let your neighbors know if you’re planning a get-together so they can be prepared for any additional sound. Being a good neighbor will pay off in the long run, whether you become friends with your neighbors or not, because it will provide for a more pleasant living experience.
Do Small Favors. Take note of what little and easy favors would make your day easier, and do your best to do those for others in your community. You’ll both be able to pay it forward and increase the social awareness of your neighborhood. For example, if you have a shared hallway, bring in your neighbors’ packages for safety and protection from the elements. Shovel shared walkways in the wintery months, or offer to gather mail while your neighbors are out of town. These little favors make a big impression on other people; it shows you’re willing to take time out of your day to make their day a bit easier.
Attend Community Events. Oakwood communitiesput on a variety of events throughout the year, depending on the size and interests of the community. From pool parties to “yappy hours” for pet owners and movie nights, the events are typically free to residents and geared toward people of all walks of life. These events operate as awesome mixers for neighbors to get to meet and know each other. The best part is you’ll get to meet members of your community who may not live right next door, so you’re more likely to meet someone you click with. Don’t be scared to go to these alone—our team members would love to introduce you to your neighbors!
Meet Their Pets. Did you know almost three-quarters of renters have pets?, odds are that you or your neighbors have a four-legged friend residing in your home. More than ever Americans consider their pets to be members of the family, so getting to know your neighbors’ pets is key to showing them you care about their place in the community. It won’t hurt to offer to walk Fido when they need or to surprise their pets with a special treat!
Be Friendly! Most of all, people want others to be invested in their successes and failures. Celebrate your neighbors for their new jobs and other milestones that they share with you. Researchers have found that friendly interactions with your neighbors leads to greater social cohesion, which is the willingness of a group to support and help each other out.
Mr. Rogers had it right when he said, “Imagine what our real neighborhoods would be like if each of us offered, as a matter of course, just one kind word to another person.” What will you do to be a good neighbor today?