Whether you are a first-time home buyer or a die-hard renter, moving into a brand-new neighborhood takes you on a roller coaster ride of emotions. From the thrill of starting afresh, to the anxiety and potential loneliness, it can be a period of immense turmoil.
Fortunately, there are tons of great ways to discover the community after a move. Obviously, not everyone is a social butterfly, but the following pointers will enable even the most anxious of us to meet people and learn more about the new neighborhood.
Do Your Homework Beforehand
The Internet provides endless resources that enable you to get to know pretty much any location without ever stepping foot there physically. Use Google maps to get an idea of the lay of the land and find out where the shops and restaurants are. This saves you going in blind and can prevent you from getting lost when you need to grab something at the last minute!
Speak with your friends and family and ask if anyone knows anyone in the neighborhood. It’s easier to reach out in advance to a friend of a friend rather than rely on chance encounters. You never know, you might have found a friend for life, but even if not, they may be able to introduce you to other people and give you some valuable insider info.
If you do decide to move in, it means you already thought about all the must-have characteristics of your future home and your new living space is a dream come true. Now it’s time to get out there and discover the places you’ve read about online. Make an effort to visit local stores and restaurants, rather than sticking with huge retail outlets. Diners and cafes are great places to meet people and hospitality staff are normally more than happy to chat and give you some pointers.
It’s well worth setting a few days aside after moving day to go out and explore the neighborhood. Be a tourist in your new backyard and treat these rest days like a holiday. This puts you in a positive mood and allows you to catch your breath.
See what’s worth visiting, whether it’s the local park, restaurant or museum. Farmers markets are a great place to find fantastically fresh food while chatting to some of the locals. Likewise, local sports events enable you to bond with like-minded people.
If you have kids or a dog, meeting people while you explore your new stomping ground is a piece of cake. Encourage your kids to socialize at the park or playground. For them it’ll be a lot of fun, but it’s also a great opportunity for you to meet with other parents. Likewise, dog owners will inevitably run into other dog owners and conversation will soon flow.
Start Something New
Relocating is the ideal time to take up a new hobby or sport. By taking group classes or joining a local club, you’ll instantly get to know people who share your interests and passions. Volunteering is another excellent way to integrate into the community and discover a network of fantastic people.
Charity event organizers are always on the lookout for people to help with a range of tasks. If you have a skill set such as languages, carpentry, etc. you can become a real asset, but even if not, there’s a whole host of ways you can help out.
Community initiatives are also worth seeking out. Things like neighborhood cleanups, tree planting, gardening projects or bring and buy sales are likely to attract a lot of your neighbors. If you’re willing to get involved with local efforts from the outset, it won’t take long before you’re well-known in your new community.
Finally, be as open and approachable as you can. Often, people are very busy, or don’t want to intrude on your time, especially if you’re constantly rushing around. After moving in, you’ll no doubt have several chores to finish, such as breaking down those cardboard boxes. Do this out front and be sure to introduce yourself to your neighbors as they pass by.
Of course, not everyone finds it easy to approach strangers. However, it’s worth making the first move and avoiding leaving things to chance. It’s the ideal time to make excuses to knock on your neighbor’s door; you can enquire as to where you’ll find a good hardware store nearby or where’s the best place to grab a coffee.
Take your time as you go about your business and keep your head up and your eyes open. Rather than rushing about, with your eyes on your phone, stroll or relax outside with a cold beer after a long day (no matter how tempting it is to spend all your time inside your amazingly decorated home). If you don’t hide away, people will be more inclined to say hello.
Integrating into a new community is often easier when you’re open to the idea. It may involve stepping out of your comfort zone, but the rewards are well worth the effort!