A lot goes into building safe, strong communities. While no single factor can be highlighted as more important than another in regard to building strong communities, a willingness by residents to connect with their neighbors can benefit local neighborhoods and the people who call them home.
According to Mental Health America, a community-based nonprofit dedicated to promoting the mental health of all Americans, research has shown that social connections increase happiness and lead to improved overall health and even longer lives. Adults may find that establishing a connection with their communities, and maintaining that connection while juggling the responsibilities of work and a family, is not always easy. That’s especially so for adults who have recently relocated to new areas. Reaching out to neighbors can help adults to build new, beneficial relationships as individuals and strengthen their communities.
Strong communities are built around people. When moving to a new area, adults can overcome the challenges such relocations present by taking various steps to connect with their new neighbors. Among them:
People often want to know who’s living next door, so adults who have recently moved need not be shy about introducing themselves to their new neighbors. Say ‘hi’ and tell them what inspired you to move there.
Neighbors will ask questions when you introduce yourself, so be ready to answer them. Questions may focus on your career and where you grew up. If you grew up in the area where you recently moved, some of your neighbors likely did as well. Telling stories about your school days and/or local hotspots can be a great way to break the ice. Don’t hesitate to ask your own questions as well. That might reveal some common interests that can serve as strong foundations for budding relationships.
Backyard barbecues are laid-back affairs, and that pressure-free atmosphere is perfect for meeting new neighbors. Once you have settled in, invite a handful of your neighbors over for the barbecue. If you have children, invite neighbors who also are parents, ideally ones whose children are the same age as your own. Kids have sparked many a conversation, and discussions about local schools, parks and programs for youngsters can be great ice breakers.
Volunteering is another great way to meet new neighbors. Giving your time to an organization whose mission you identify with may be even better, as you’re likely to find like-minded neighbors who share your passions when working with such groups.
– Courtesy of Metro Creative
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