Not everyone is an extrovert. While some might find it easy to approach strangers and initiate conversation, many of us don’t have that drive, or prefer meeting new people organically through shared interests, hobbies, activities, or attitudes. Ideally, it’s best to meet people through mutual friends, but that’s not always possible if you’ve just moved to a new location. If you’re at a loss for ways to put yourself out there and make some connections, these tips will come in handy.
1. Presenting Yourself in the Neighborhood
Whether you’ve just bought a new home or are leasing a new apartment, you should make an effort to get to know your immediate neighbors. You don’t have to go door to door handing out cherry pies — in fact, please don’t go around with pies — but make sure you introduce yourself when you see someone new, or just smile and wave if they’re too far for you to introduce yourself without feeling awkward or unnatural. Don’t worry, you’ll see them again.
Do what you can to spruce up your front yard or decorate your entrance. Something as simple as a funny doormat or potted plant will let people know you’re not a misanthropic shut-in. If you make a habit of working on your yard, you’ll notice your neighbors approaching you to say hi and find out a little bit about you or to compliment your gardening skills. If you make yourself known in the neighborhood, you’ll be getting block party invitations in no time.
2. Dog-based Activities
Got a dog? Great. Don’t have a dog? You might want to consider getting one. Dogs aren’t just cute; they’re a prime motivator for getting out of the house and doubly so for single people. Taking your dog for walks around your neighborhood will quickly put you in contact with your neighbors. You’ll find many of them are dog owners too, so already you have something in common. Better yet, they’ll be able to supply you with dog park recommendations.
Dog parks are hit or miss, but the good ones are great. Finding a suitable dog park means finding a park where you and your dog both feel comfortable and can easily socialize. Different parks attract different demographics; you might be happier at a dog park where everyone’s a bit older and relaxed, or maybe you’d prefer somewhere the people are younger and active. If you find the right dog park and continue to visit, conversation will come easily as you start to recognize people and they start to remember you.
3. Attending Local Events
If you want to meet people, it helps to go where the people are. Check out your city or county’s official website for information on upcoming public events, or if you’re on Facebook, see if anyone’s started a group dedicated to local event notifications. There might be a festival, outdoor concert, or farmer’s market happening soon, and you should take any opportunity to go out and see what your new community is all about.
Are you a churchgoer? Do some research on churches in your area and see which one appeals to you most. Churches are always happy to see new faces, share church seats and you’ll find yourself in a socially welcoming environment where people are likely to strike up a conversation. Even if you don’t click with anyone, you may get the scoop on what’s happening around town.
4. Get Involved at School
If you have school-aged children, congratulations: that’s an easy in. Volunteering at your kids’ school or school-organized functions will introduce you to other parents, and even teachers and staff, who will be happy to help you get situated and involve you in their social lives.
There are plenty of volunteering opportunities, but it’s up to you to take the initiative and ask, so start by asking your kids. If they don’t have any leads, get in touch with the school directly. You might find an open coaching position, a shortage of tutors, or an upcoming field trip in need of chaperones. If you’re a business owner, there may be upcoming events with sponsorship opportunities, such as soccer games or band recitals; this is a great way to advertise your business and advertise yourself as a new member of the community and active, involved parent.
5. Your Demeanor Matters
You can attend every church service, every school sporting event, and every outdoor festival in your area, but if you look like you don’t want to be approached, you won’t be. Your outward demeanor and presentation matter, so if you’re naturally shy or closed-off, now’s the time to make some adjustments.
Body language is important. If you’re out at a pub, at church, or at the park with your dog, don’t stand around with your arms crossed; relax your shoulders, unfurrow your eyebrows, smile a little, and make eye contact when you’re speaking to someone. When you’re the recipient of invitations, say yes! If you know you can’t make it, show some enthusiasm anyway. If you say no enough times, the invitations will stop coming, so make sure your new acquaintances know that even if you can’t attend this time, you’re down for the next.
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We hope you found this blog post Meeting People in Your Neighborhood useful. Be sure to check out our post 5 Crucial Things You Should Do When Moving Into a New Home for more great tips!
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