“Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself”
It’s one of the oldest sayings in the ‘Good Book’ and whether you’re religious or not, getting to know your neighbours is something that everyone can benefit from. While there’s nothing wrong with a quick nod or wave, going beyond simple pleasantries and learning things like names, occupations and personal interests is a great way to build a stronger community. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Create a community Facebook group
Taking advantage of digital platforms is a fantastic way to bring together your neighbours and make it easy for people to get involved in their local community. Start by creating a public Facebook group and encouraging your neighbours to use it to share, collaborate and socialise. This could mean anything from asking someone to water your plants while you’re on holiday to inviting people over for a Sunday BBQ.
If retirement has left you with plenty of spare time, why not win serious brownie points with your neighbours and offer free childminding services? Let your neighbours know in person or create mini flyers with a quick intro on who you are and why you want to give back to the community.
Host a garden party
Parties are a sure-fire way to break the neighbourhood ice and spark friendships. Start by selecting an easy date like a Saturday afternoon and print out some mini invitations. Let people know a few weeks in advance so they have time to save the date. Keep things simple and ask people to BYO food and drinks or embrace your inner host and provide snacks and refreshments. Even better, have the party in the front garden so passersby have an opportunity to get involved with their local community.
Join a local group
Finding it hard to engage in meaningful conversations with your neighbours? Branch out and try joining a local group or organisation like a choir, book club or weekend rambling group. This is a great way to meet likeminded people and immerse yourself in the local community.
Spend time outdoors
One of the best ways to get to know your neighbours is to simply spend time outdoors. This could mean anything from setting up a veggie patch in your front garden to enjoying a daily stroll around the block. Make an effort to say hello, smile and introduce yourself.
Host a ladies or gents night
Nothing gets people bonding like a classic evening of girly gossip or gentleman’s banter. Stock up on beer if you’re having the blokes over or ask the girls to bring a bottle of their favourite wine. If you want to get fancy why not invest in cocktail ingredients and shake up a storm? Age shouldn’t be a barrier so be sure to invite everyone from young mums to silver-haired grandmas.
Spontaneous dinner and drink sessions can often be the easiest and most enjoyable way to get to know your neighbours. You don’t have to get formal about it, just say something like “we’re throwing a few burgers on the BBQ, would you like to join?”
Do you have any tried and tested tips on getting to know your neighbours? We’d love to hear from you so go ahead and share with the GrownUps community in the comments below.