You have unpacked your boxes, put everything away in its new home, found the quickest route to work, and finally figured out which nights you need to put the garbage pails out, so you don’t have to run out of the house in your pajamas to meet the garbage truck in the morning. Now what?
Humans are innately social creatures, and even after years of practice, it can still be hard to learn how to get the ball rolling when it comes to socializing with those around us. Your neighbors are bound to be pretty great people, and wouldn’t it be nice to get to know the people who you’ll likely see day after day?
Not only will you want to learn the names of the people that you’re waving to as you back out of the driveway, but you will probably find out a whole lot of information about your community, including the best restaurants, shopping areas, and activities from those in the know.
Getting to know your new neighbors and your new neighborhood are key elements of settling into your new home. Instead of waiting for the Welcome Wagon to roll around, take the initiative to learn all about your community with these helpful tips.
Make a Play Date
One of the most common reasons to choose one neighborhood over another is the quality of life that neighborhood will provide for your children. Though it may be easy enough to Google the best daycare centers and play areas for your kids, getting the inside track on reliable babysitters, the best pediatricians, and the best schools and programs is not something that you can find with an internet search.
When you find a parent with a child that is of an appropriate age to interact with your own, arrange a play date. Most parents are thrilled to help expand their children’s social circle, and you can be sure that if you ask, they will provide you with the information you need to make parenting in your neighborhood a whole lot easier. Plus, there’s the bonus of making a new friend or two!
Skip the Chains
Every neighborhood has its vibe, and one of the best ways to get your vibe in tune with your communities is to patronize local businesses. Coffee houses, mom-and-pop restaurants, farmers' markets, locally-owned clothing stores, and even local dog groomers offer a wealth of information about the types of people your neighborhood attracts. It can be easy to discover whether your neighborhood is a college hang-out spot, a hipster paradise, or a refined, sophisticated locale.
Volunteer Your Time
There is hands-down no better way to settle into your community and make some new friends than to volunteer to help with something that betters your neighborhood, city, or the world. Programs like
Habitat for Humanity, the Red Cross, and wildlife rescue organizations always need volunteers, but there are a whole lot of ways that you can give back.
Maybe your child’s school can use a volunteer parent, or perhaps you would prefer to volunteer with programs that help children in another capacity, like tutoring or mentorship programs. Go to https://www.volunteermatch.org/ to find your next big volunteer adventure.
Find a Book Club (or Start Your Own)
Everyone loves a good book, and that is why book clubs are more popular than ever. There is a good chance that there is already a book club in your area, but if there isn’t, you can be a community hero by starting one yourself. You can bet that posting a book club flyer at the local coffee shops, libraries, and bookstores, or chatting up your neighbors about starting a book club will get everyone’s attention.
If you are looking for a surefire book to catch lots of people’s eyes, choose a book that is being made into a movie or television show. Most people love to read the story before they see the visual interpretation, so you can count on people expressing a lot of interest in catching up on the story before the big-screen version comes out.