Unfortunately, a lot of apartment dwellers rarely — if ever — get to know their neighbors. These people live right above or next to you, and while you probably recognize their faces, you may not have taken the time to learn their names or form friendships with them.
Believe it or not, getting to know your neighbors can be super beneficial to you, even as a renter. You might not have the space to host barbecues or be able to form lifelong relationships with them, but just a little companionship will help prevent break-ins and give you some convenient options for pet sitters. Plus, it’s kind of nice to have someone to wave hello to in the morning on your way to work. Here are some tips on approaching your neighbors and creating some meaningful connections with them.
Start by Saying Hi
The first step to befriending anyone is making your existence known to them. This might seem a little embarrassing if you’ve lived in your current place for a while now, but the next time you see your neighbor heading to their car or leaving to walk their dog, wave to them and introduce yourself. Say something along the lines of: “You know we’ve both lived here for so long, and I don’t even know your name. Isn’t that sad?” If someone new moves into your building, take the time to stop by their unit and welcome them to the neighborhood.
Bring Them Baked Goods
It might sound old fashioned, but baked goods can be a great way to gain a neighbor’s confidence. Whip up some chocolate chip cookies or another one of your favorite desserts to bring to them on a plate. No one can resist the appeal of freshly baked sweets and good conversation. Don’t hang around their door for too long, but definitely try to get a friendly chat going.
Offer to Cat-Sit or Walk Their Dog
If you know your neighbors have pets, make a standing offer to cat-sit, walk their dog, or feed their fish anytime they’re in a pinch. If you have pets, your neighbor might even return the favor, which could be very useful to you later on. Having a trusted friend to watch your pets will save you tons of money on expensive kennels and pet hotels in the long run.
Invite Them Over for a Potluck
You might feel like you wouldn’t be able to host a dinner party in your tiny apartment. The truth is, you should be able to neatly rearrange your furniture to make room for small gatherings in any space, even a studio. Decorate your place to look inviting for the occasion, and remind your neighbors to bring their favorite dishes and drinks!
Organize a Building Block Party
If you really feel like going above and beyond, you might consider organizing a block party for your building or street. Block parties provide great opportunities for getting to know your neighbors and can turn into annual events if they’re successful. Always be sure to obtain a permit and ask your landlord’s permission before printing out any flyers or invitations. Once it’s a go, you can talk to your neighbors about the party and ask them if they’d be willing to bring food or drinks. Additionally, you’ll want to provide some form of entertainment, like a band, outdoor film screening, or bounce house for the kids. Whatever you choose to include in your party, you’re sure to get some quality bonding time with your neighbors out of it.
Not Every Neighbor is Going to be Receptive
Unfortunately, the possibility of rejection always looms when trying to connect with other people. Even after the cookies and the potluck invitation, you may find that your neighbor is still uninterested in getting to know you better, and that’s okay. All you can do is be polite and respectfully back off when you feel like your attempts at friendship aren’t being reciprocated.
Engaging your neighbor in conversation may not always result in a long-lasting friendship, but at least you’ll be able to recognize everyone who’s supposed to be in your building, which helps prevent theft and creates a safer community for all. No matter where you live, it’s important for neighbors to look out for one another.