Getting Acquainted

We were pleasantly surprised when moving into a small town neighborhood in the Midwest as neighbors began showing up and introducing themselves once the moving van pulled away. Some brought edibles. But moving to a big city, we may never see the folks on the other side of the fence. It's a different world.

If the neighbors knock on your door, take advantage of the opportunity to take another break. It's worth the time spent to start good neighborly relationships. If the neighbors don't knock on your door, knock on theirs and introduce yourself and your family. Invite them over for coffee. They'll understand about the moving mess. Ask them for advice about the neighborhood and town:

  • What plumber do they recommend?

  • Where is the nearest pharmacy?

  • What grocery store sells the freshest produce?

  • Is there a farmers' market?

  • When is trash picked up?

  • Who has young kids on the block? Or budding rock musicians?

Most people want to be friends with their neighbors—or at least friendly. Unless you prefer to maintain complete privacy from your neighbors, accept and return their friendly overtures. Chat in the driveway. Accept their offer of giving your child a ride to school along with theirs. Wave to those cutting lawns.

Crowded cities can seem decidedly unfriendly. In an apartment building, smile and say hello to your neighbors in the hallways, at the mailboxes, or in the laundry room. When you recognize them in the local grocery or delicatessen, say hello and introduce yourself. Your neighbors will look at you less suspiciously when they know you belong in the building.

Being a friendly neighbor isn't just social, however. If you want to be a good neighbor, be as considerate as you would like your neighbors to be to you:

  • Don't block their driveway or the sidewalk.

  • Keep your pets at home and quiet.

  • Make sure you and your kids keep their music at a reasonable level.

  • Don't make noisy exits and entrances when working people need to sleep.

  • Let them know when you're having a party. Invite them to it.

  • If your tree sheds, try to keep the leaves raked so they don't blow onto the neighbors' lawns.

Being a good neighbor also means being a good member of the community. As time and interests allow, join the PTA, find a church or synagogue, become a Moose or other fraternal animal, visit a civic group meeting, join the Neighborhood Watch, or learn about the Newcomer's Club. Many small and large communities have Newcomer's Clubs that are intended to offer help for people new to the area. They can offer a variety of information and resources.

Lost in your new neighborhood? Don't know where to get groceries, send the kids to school, or catch a bus? Besides the Newcomer's Club mentioned in the previous section, also make friends with the local librarians. In addition to recommending books and periodicals, they can be a wealth of information about the area and its resources. They can also direct you to local groups that share your interests. As quickly as possible, get a new library card: your key to a world of knowledge and escape. Take the kids and get them library cards, too.

 
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