It’s hard to pack up and move to a new place, especially if you have deep roots in the place you’re leaving. Friends and neighbors are one of the most satisfying aspects of living in most parts of the United States, and to start from scratch is challenging. This is especially true if the community you are moving into has a unique culture or is made up of people who have known each other for a great deal of time. Like moving from Memphis to Just West of Weird, for example. Here are a few ways to become integrated in one such community.
1) Be Visible on Your Street. Assuming you live around other people, make sure that you are visible on your street. Work out front on your flower bed. Mow the lawn. Sit on your porch and say hello to the people who pass by. People become integrated into groups when they become familiar to those who are already adjusted to the community life. Give it time and don’t give up. Eventually it will feel to your neighbors like you have already been there.
2) Be Active in Community Life. Don’t just stick around your house. Go to farmer’s markets. Join a community organization. Become a part of the local school board. People become trusted members of a community because they prove themselves to be valuable members through their actions. Even if you don’t have much time to spare, finding a way to give back to the place you live is enough to earn you friends.
3) Introduce Yourself. It’s easy to remain passive when you move to a new place, waiting for people to introduce themselves to you. Don’t limit yourself this way. If you want to know people and enjoy companionship with your neighbors, introduce yourself. Have them over for drinks. Ask about their kids. Do more than exchange casual pleasantries when you see each other.
4) Ask For Help. Some neighbors actually enjoy helping other neighbors. If you are moving into a new house, are renovating your property, or even if you need a little help carrying some stuff in the move, ask for help of the people you see. It’s a good idea not to demand more than a small favor from new neighbors, but if you find a way that they can help you without demanding too much, this can be a great way to meet people. Make sure to offer a beer or a snack, and then offer to do the same when they are in need.
While moving to a new home in a new area is challenging, it’s easy to get to know your neighbors and make friends if you are willing to expend a little effort. Many adults stop making new friends after a certain age, because the social organizations of school are no longer part of their lives. Don’t let that happen to you. Get involved with your new community fast! You’ll certainly be glad you did, and it won’t take nearly as much time as you might think.