A Guide to Getting to Know Your Neighbours

Most people have neighbours, be it the house next door or the flat across the hall. But how many of us actually spend time with them? With the average tenancy length lasting for around four years, renters now tend to live in a property long enough to put down roots of some sort.

So maybe you want to immerse yourself in the local community? The first step of doing that is becoming more chummy with your neighbours. And here’s how to go about turning a neighbour into a friend. Maybe even the best of friends?

Ok, let’s just start with a cordially “hello” and take it from there.

Here’s what you need to do.

two women talking in a garden holding vegetables

What are the benefits of becoming friends with your neighbours?

When you’re busy with studies, work or just settling into a new area, it can be an effort to go and visit friends, especially if they live far away. If your friend is a neighbour, this makes everything more convenient – you’ve got great company, without having to travel. Moving home can also be quite lonely, and befriending your neighbours is a good place to start if you don’t know many people in the area.

Beyond the benefits of a new friendship, getting on with your neighbours can also help on a practical level. If you go away, you can ask them to keep an eye on your home or feed and walk your pet if you have one. You can also give your neighbour a spare key to your home, in case you happen to lose your keys or get locked out. It’s also helpful to have a friendly face who can receive parcels for you if they arrive when you’re out.

From a party perspective, it’s much easier if you’re on good terms with your neighbours; you’re less likely to get a noise complaint, and you can even invite them along too.

How do I make friends with my neighbours?

If you’ve just moved in, it’s easy to start off on a friendly note with your neighbours – just pop over and introduce yourself and give them some way to contact you in case anything comes up.

However, if you’ve been living in the property for a while, it might be a bit more daunting. Start with simple things like smiling, waving or saying hello when you walk by. That way, if they’ve been wanting to chat for a while, you’ll suddenly seem much more approachable.

Beyond your immediate neighbours, you can meet other people from the local area by frequenting nearby pubs and cafes and getting to know staff or chatting to regulars. This is great if you’re new to the area; asking for suggestions and tips is a good conversation starter.

three women talking while holding white mugs

What local community programs can I join?

If you really want to become part of the local landscape, you might consider joining a neighbourhood sports teams – these will often have a buzzing social side, so are great if you don’t know many people in the area and want to keep busy.

Even if sport’s not your thing, you can check out the local community centre or any notices up in pubs and cafés – things like book clubs are also great for meeting people. There’s also likely to be a Facebook group for your local community, or support groups you can join to offer help to elderly neighbours.

It’s all too easy to live in an area for years and never truly engage with your neighbours or the local community, but if you really want to feel you belong somewhere you should start by getting to know the people around you.

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