Whether you’ve just moved into a new apartment, or are feeling a sudden rush of sociability, there are plenty of ways to get to know your neighbors. Some ways take planning and work, and others are as simple as saying “hi” in the elevator. Whatever your level of motivation, there’s a way that can work for you. Here are a few simple ideas to meet your neighbors, and possibly make some friends in the process.
Put on your party shoes
Throwing a party is one of the best ways to get to meet a lot of people at once. A party doesn’t have to be overly elaborate, some wine and a few snacks will do the trick. It’s really just an excuse to get a bunch of people who might otherwise not associate with each other into the same room and get them talking. Alcohol does wonders for loosening people up, but be mindful of guests who imbibe too much. Look HERE for some good party planning tips.
You don’t even need much of an occasion to throw a party. A common occasion might be a housewarming party. Parties hosted by your apartment complex also provides a way for your neighbors to meet friends and form a community in your building.
Fancy meeting you here…
Some buildings have a front door that everyone must enter and exit through. As such, there’s a high probability that you will run into most of your neighbors there at one point or another. Stop and say hi. There are usually a few seconds when someone is opening up the door that provide a nice opportunity for small talk. If you’re not particularly comfortable striking up conversations, start small- a funny quip about the building, or a compliment about something they’re wearing. Don’t worry if it’s not a great conversation. Remember, you’re just looking to break the ice. The mail room is also a great place to strike up some small talk with someone that looks interesting.
An elevator also provides a similar vehicle conversation because you have a few seconds where neither party is going anywhere. Since the amount of time that an average person spends in the elevator is fairly small, you’ll likely only get in a few sentences. That’s OK, it gives you a good reason to talk to them when you see them again, and if the conversation doesn’t go so well, there’s a built in excuse to end it.
Do you swim here too?
There are many other places around the building that are also conducive to striking up conversation. For those fortunate enough to have a pool on those hot summer days, lounging in a chair will provide you with an excellent opportunity to meet some like minded people. Be careful about being overly friendly in the locker room. Many otherwise talkative people may feel uncomfortable having a conversation while they are half dressed. The gym is another great place to practice your small talk. Ask for pointers regarding how to use the equipment, or complain about the erratic behavior of the treadmills. Again, be mindful of when you strike up conversation- those deeply involved in their workouts may not want to be disturbed.
Finding Common Interest
Maybe there’s a running trail or tennis courts around? Take the initiative to organize clubs for activities that would fit with the apartment community. Get the apartment management involved to approve putting up flyers for people to go running together after work. You’ll have ready-made running buddies for safety and motivation. If there are tennis or basketball courts near by, start a tennis team or basketball team where there’s a scheduled time to go out and play.
Play dates are also a great way to meet your neighbors. If your apartment allows dogs, get residents with dogs to meet up to take the dogs to play together in a nearby park. And, if there are people with kids in the complex, getting same-age kids together to play is good for both the kids and the parents. A trusted friendship between the parents can become a good back-up system in case the parents need an extra hand in the future.
In large cities, many people never bother to get to know their neighbors. Just because this is standard practice doesn’t mean you have to follow along. After all, when you’ve run out of sugar or need some help opening a stuck window, isn’t it better to have neighbors you can rely on? Though it may feel uncomfortable at first, making an effort to get to know your neighbors can really pay off in the long run.