The Dos and Don’ts of Meeting New Neighbors

Moving into a new area is both stressful and exciting. Suddenly, you are swamped with unpacking, changing your address, and other chores that pop up when the moving van’s doors close. So meeting the neighbors is probably not a priority.

However, introducing yourself to the people around you and fostering a good relationship with the neighbors is an essential part of moving to a new place—and having good neighbors starts with you.

Read on for 21 dos and don’ts for meeting the new neighbors to help you make a great impression and avoid any awkward pitfalls.

Dos of Meeting New Neighbors

1. Act on Introductions

The sooner you introduce yourself and your family, the better! The easiest way to get the introductions over with is to approach your neighbors (if they aren’t too busy) and say hello. It might seem daunting, but it’s the first step!

You can find out about your neighbors and their families, the community, and other important local information while hopefully making a new friend! Make sure to remember your neighbors’ names so that you can say hello the next time you see them.

2. Ask Questions

Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the neighborhood or community—most neighbors like feeling appreciated and will be more than happy to share their local knowledge. You can learn all about the area straight from the local experts.

Ask about places to hike, walk your dog, or go for a Sunday afternoon cup of coffee. If you are interested in particular sports, inquire about where you can watch matches or get involved with a local team. Your neighbor will likely be happy to share their opinions!

3. Be Open

If you feel a bit uneasy about your new area or nostalgic for your old home, try not to dwell on it too much. Look at your move as a fresh start full of exciting new opportunities, and be open to the experiences you can cultivate here.

When you are joyful and open to change and the possibilities for adventure that come with it, it shows! Meeting the neighbors will feel like less of a drain, and you will see them as part of the new path you have embarked on. 

4. Communicate

Keep honest lines of communication open with your neighbors. Be friendly, especially to any neighbors who will likely interact with you on a near-daily basis. Make sure to smile and wave whenever you see them and stop for a chat if you have the time.

You are all settling into having a new resident in the area, so patience and good communication will go a long way to ensuring healthy community bonds.

5. Extend Kind Gestures

When you meet the neighbors, why not take along some baked goods or freshly cut flowers? An initial kind gesture will be appreciated, and neighbors are not likely to forget it, or you!

Also, if you notice something that looks nice on your neighbor’s property, such as a new hedge or flashy holiday decoration, make sure to mention it! People love genuine compliments that highlight the effort they have put into something.

6. Get Involved

If your neighborhood has events or get-togethers, make sure to attend! Not only is this a great way to meet other people from further reaches of the community, but you can show your new neighbors that you truly care about the area and the residents in it.

Show that you are a responsible part of the community willing to take on an active role by joining the neighborhood association. Not only is this a great way to be informed about your area, but you can also keep up with your neighbors.

Whether it is a housing association board meeting, food co-op, or new resident mixer, you should immerse yourself in the public life of your new community and show that you are interested in taking an active role there.

7. Have Good Pet-iquette

If you have brought along a furry friend, make sure to pick up after them and keep the noise down. Not all neighbors are pet-lovers, but by cleaning any messes they make and respecting boundaries, you can happily coexist with your dog or cat.

8. Host a Housewarming Party

A great way to get to know the neighbors is to host a housewarming party! Bring out some wine or punch and set up a cheese board or charcuterie spread, and invite your neighbors into your home. 

9. Keep Your Property Tidy

Keep up the community’s curb appeal by keeping a neat yard and tidy house exterior. Mow the lawn, trim trees and hedges, and keep the driveway and sidewalks clear of debris or toys.

You should also make sure your outdoor fixtures are all in good working order. Check the porch and garage lights, replace burnt-out bulbs, and keep any solar-powered lawn lights charged and functional.

10. Learn About Them

Without being intrusive, try to learn any noteworthy things about your neighbors. Are there any dietary needs that you should know for get-togethers or giving cookies at the holidays?

Learning about their backgrounds and interests can help you grow closer as a community.

11. Offer Your Help

Is your neighbor struggling to move an oversized box or trying to steady their ladder on an uneven tree branch? Why not offer your help! Your neighbor can always turn down your offer, but they will likely appreciate the assistance and your willingness to help.

12. Practice Good Parking

It’s a good idea always to be aware of where you are parking. Whether you have an allocated parking space or a driveway, make sure your cars are on your property. And if you need to park on the street, don’t block your neighbors’ properties or driveways.

13. Settle Disputes in Person

In communal living situations, whether within an apartment building or on a cul-de-sac, disputes are virtually inevitable. However, it’s how you handle them that matters in the long run.

Make sure to settle any disputes in person, and not over the phone, by texting, or even via social networking sites that you might have your neighbor added on. It’s best to speak face to face and determine a workable compromise to the issue at hand.

Don’ts of Meeting New Neighbors

1. Don’t Ask for Too Many Favors

While it’s fine to ask to borrow the occasional tool or stepladder, make sure you do not ask the neighbors for too many favors. Being the person who repeatedly asks for favors or last-minute assistance wears thin very quickly, so try to avoid that!

2. Don’t Be Intrusive

Learning about your neighbors is essential, but don’t intrude into their private matters in the process. Don’t pry into neighbors’ financial situations, personal family details, or other issues that are none of your business.

Set boundaries early on.

3. Avoid Being Passive Aggressive or Defensive

If an issue does arise between you and your neighbor, make sure that you approach it with decorum and gravity. Avoid passive aggression or defensive behaviors—it will only make the entire situation worse.

4. Don’t Cause Excessive Noise

While some noise is unavoidable, from children yelling to your car backfiring, you should keep all excess noise to a minimum. Don’t mow the lawn before 9 a.m. or take the trash and recycling out past 8 p.m., and keep your dog from barking incessantly at all hours.

5. Avoid Dropping-In Unexpectedly

Visiting your neighbors is a great way to get closer and feel more a part of the community, but make sure you don’t become an unexpected guest. Call them first to see if it’s a good time, and respect your neighbors’ privacy and boundaries.

6. Don’t Expect Gifts

Even if you host a housewarming party, don’t expect your guests to bring gifts. Parties are for getting to know your neighbors, and any contributions they bring are just icing on the cake. If you do get gifts for your new house, make sure to open them after people leave.

7. Don’t Gossip

Hop off the grapevine as soon as you move into a new neighborhood. Some people love to gossip and spread rumors, but you should keep well away from it all. Don’t get involved in neighborhood gossip—important information will come from proper sources.

8. Don’t Host Frequent Parties

The occasional get-together is great, but don’t be that neighbor who hosts a party every weekend. Keep the noise down and if you have guests over, turn the music down, pick up any trash, and ensure no one has parked in your neighbor’s spot or driveway.

Now that you have reviewed some simple dos and don’t on being a great neighbor, it is time to introduce yourself to your neighborhood. Get involved, and be proactive! Who knows maybe your neighbors will turn into lifelong friends.