With spring coming, it’s a terrific time of year to connect with neighbors! As it warms up, we’re all outside more. It’s a good time for meeting new neighbors and reconnecting with those we haven’t seen in a while. It’s so easy to come and go and never meet our neighbors, as we drive into our garage and close its door. Even if no one else is doing it, we can be the ones who take the first step to build relationships in our neighborhoods!
Here are some ideas for connecting with your neighbors:
- Don’t just wave, walk over to say “hi.” This may take a bit of courage, and a few minutes of our time, but love reaches out! Simply get to know each other.
- Go for walks in your neighborhood. This creates an opportunity to meet neighbors and get to know them.
- Spend time in your front yard. Instead of the back yard, hang out in the front yard. Put lawn chairs there, set up a badminton net, or bring out sidewalk chalk and toys for the kids to play with. I learned this from my brother-in-law and his wife when Ellie was little. They had the kids’ sprinkler set up in the front yard instead of the back. It creates an opportunity to see neighbors and invite them to join in.
- Swap phone numbers. This simple, friendly gesture allows you to get in touch.
- Invite a neighbor to go on a walk with you. This is an easy way to spend time together.
- Send a text when you think of them, or to follow-up on a conversation. “Can we help with your trash while you’re traveling?” “How was your camping trip?”
- Don’t hesitate to ask favors. We actually feel closer to people we do a favor for than those we receive a favor from. Letting our neighbors do favors for us builds relationship. “Do you have ground mustard?” “I’m out of town. Could you get the package that’s arriving at my front door?”
- Host a neighborhood get-together. This could be at your house, in your driveway, or at a neighborhood park if you have one. You can keep it simple. See my next post for more ideas on this!
These are just a few ideas to get you started. For more ideas, take a look at this book: The Art of Neighboring, by Jay Pathak and Dave Runyon. Here’s a quotation from the first chapter:
“I am convinced that living in close community with our neighbors is the best way to live. The command to love our neighbors lies at the core of God’s plan for our lives, and when we follow this mandate, it changes everything. The journey begins when we choose a lifestyle of conversation and community over a lifestyle of busyness and accumulation It’s about making room for life and choosing to befriend those God has placed around us” (page 11).
“Love your neighbor as yourself.” ~Matthew 19:19
Which of these ideas will you try? Who is one neighbor you will reach out to this week?
Please comment below and share your ideas for connecting with neighbors!
Kathryn Featherstone is a certified Christian Life Coach by the Board of Christian Life Coaches. She is trained by Gallup for coaching with CliftonStrengths assessment and resources. She’d like to encourage you in your journey! Write her a note or see her Coaching page.