Put Out the Welcome Mat for New Neighbours

By Janelle Breese Biagioni

Moving to a new home is both exciting and stressful! Not only is it a lot of work to transition to a new neighbourhood, but the new people moving in as well as those already residing in the neighbourhood, are curious about who is living next door. Here are some quick tips for both the established neighbour and for the ‘new kid on the block’ to get to know one another:

  • Read the signals – not everyone is open to chatting up a storm with someone they don’t know. Start by waving or saying hello and take the cue from there. If the person gives the vibe they are too busy to chit chat, don’t take it personal or assume they are unfriendly. See your brief encounter as an invitation to connect at another time.
  • Let’s Connect – download the toolkit on this website which has a template for Let’s Connect cards. Take it over to your new neighbour and introduce yourself. The Let’s Connect card provides your name and the names of others living in your home as well as contact info. You can also leave this in their mailbox or on the door as an invitation to connect at another time.
  • Take a gift – giving a small gift to someone is always a pleasant way to say ‘welcome to the neighbourhood’. Given the growing concerns around food allergies and/or food sensitivities, taking a baked item may no longer be a good idea. Instead take some homemade pickles or home canned fruit, a fresh fruit basket, or a package containing information about local resources and include a gift card to a nearby business or restaurant.
  • Make it about the kids – If you or the neighbours have children, it’s a great way to get the conversation going. Knock on the door to introduce your little ones and to invite their child(ren) for a playdate. Share information about the local school: Let them know if the kids walk together or if there is a school bus that picks them up – provide information on where the bus stop is and what time it arrives. If the children walk to school, offer to go with the new neighbour and their child on their first day to make introductions.
  • Bring another friendly face – invite another neighbour to go with you to meet the new family. It’s like being the informal ‘welcome wagon’ but certainly having a couple of neighbours drop by to say hello would make anyone feel welcomed in a neighbourhood. Most important – if your street has an annual gathering be sure to let the new neighbours know when it is and how they can participate.