If the idea of a “welcome wagon” seems a bit dated – or worse, like you’re just looking for an excuse to get a peek inside the newcomer’s house! – relax.

Welcoming new neighbors into the community is a time-honored tradition, and it is one that we can revamp to meet our busy, demanding 21st century lives. Why is it important, and how do you make a good impression on your neighbors?

Welcome to the Neighborhood!

It is easy to dismiss the idea of welcoming new neighbors as quaint, unimportant, or as something we’ll get to later. It is also easy to live our lives in isolation these days, between work, school, obligations, children, sports, technology… the list goes on and on. This can separate us from our own community, and that’s a detriment to us and to our neighbors.

Meeting new neighbors can help us:

  • Achieve greater peace of mind. When you know the people who live around you and establish good relationships, you know you have eyes on your home when you’re not there – and maybe even someone to water your plants or take in your mail when you’re out of town (and vice versa). You know folks will be looking out for you, and they know you are doing the same for them. It benefits everyone to create a safer environment.
  • Share chores/responsibilities. Lend a neighborly hand. Perhaps your children attend the same school or play on the same sports team, for example. You can alternate pickups and drop-offs to save each other time. Sharing the tasks of daily life can be an excellent way to help each other and relieve some stress!
  • Expand our social circles. It’s nice to plan an evening out and only have to travel across the yard! Meeting your neighbors widens your circle and exposes you to new ideas, perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences.
  • Start a community book club, have a rotating monthly wine tasting, plan backyard barbeques, enjoy the community pool, golf course, or fitness center together, or drop by for a coffee now and then. You may even find a new best friend. Even if you don’t, being able to exchange pleasantries or borrow a cup of sugar creates a feeling of community.
  • Enrich our communities. When you have neighbors, you automatically have common ground – literally. You live in the same area, experience the same challenges (weather, commutes, etc.), and you run into many of the same people. You can build on this to establish relationships that improve your overall quality of life.
"The community in which you live plays a central role in your happiness and wellbeing."

7 Tips for Welcoming the New Neighbors

So how do you welcome the neighbors without feeling awkward? Do people even do this anymore? Is it passé? Is it weird? Will your new neighbors think you’re nosy or overbearing? Will they look at you like you have three heads? What will you say?

Again, our advice: relax! Here are some surefire tips to help you make your neighbors feel at home and make a good impression.

1. Don’t pounce on them as soon as the moving truck pulls in. We know it’s tempting! But rather than rushing right over, give your new neighbors time to settle in. Moving – even into a wonderful forever home – is stressful, and most people are not in a frame of mind to meet new people at this point. Wait a few days until the dust settles, so to speak.

That said, if you do happen to bump into them, don’t ignore them! Introduce yourself, ask if they would like a hand, and perhaps give them your phone number so they can contact you if they need anything as they move in.

2. Stop by with a small gift and introduce yourself. When you’ve let a little time pass (a few days, a week, use your best judgment), walk over with a small gift. Avoid bringing alcohol or foods that are commonly associated with allergies (e.g. nuts). Great welcome to the neighborhood gift options include succulent houseplants, a bouquet of flowers (especially if they’re from your garden!), a basket of fresh local produce, a Movie Night basket with popcorn and treats, or a great local coffee and bagels.

3. Go with a buddy. It can be awkward to visit a new neighbor on your own – both for you and for them. Grab a neighbor with whom you’re close and go together. This can help avoid stilted conversation – and, of course, help the newcomers meet other community members.

Whether you go alone or with a friend, make it a short visit. Just introduce yourself and welcome them. A doorstep hello is perfect.

4. Do some gardening or lounging outside. Spending time outside your home allows you to meet neighbors organically; it also just gives you all time to get used to seeing each other out and about.

5. Host a neighborhood get-together. Organize a barbeque or dinner party to gather friends and welcome newcomers. Make sure that they are not left adrift once they arrive; be sure to introduce them to people and include them in conversations. If you live in a growing community like Chatham Hills, for example, there may be more than one new set of neighbors to welcome; a party helps include everyone.

6. Participate in some community events. Again, this allows you to meet people organically and enjoy amenities right in your community, whether it’s a fitness class at the clubhouse or a family-friendly event. Often, when we know people, we’re more apt to participate. The same holds true for new neighbors. Feel free to invite them to events as well.

7. Respect boundaries. Your new neighbors may prize their privacy or have varying levels of interest in socializing. Respect this. The key to great neighbor relations is realizing that this is their home too, and they need to be able to enjoy it on their terms. You may have those with whom you get together with weekly (or daily!), and you may have those to whom you wave and say “hello.” There is plenty of room for all types of neighbors.

Whether your forever home will be located in one of the beautifully planned communities of Chatham Hills, Holliday Farms, and Maple Ridge where G&G builds, or on your own lot, creating strong relationships with neighbors is important for all. And you can be sure we’ll be the first to welcome you home!

Contact G&G today to learn more about our communities - and how they could become your community.