“There’s action at LeAnn’s old house.”
My phone buzzed with the text message, alerting me that we had new neighbors moving into our super tight-knit cul de sac. Uh oh.
Would they have kids? Or pets? Hopefully both!
Would they like us or not want to be at least friendly?
Is it weird to run over real quick to say hi?
All of those thoughts raced through my head within about 30 seconds after getting the text. Mostly, I wanted to make sure that our new (hopefully) friends would feel welcome here.
5 Easy Ways To Meet Your New Military Neighbors
It can be easier said than done, especially with the million different directions we’re all being pulled in these days. But meeting your new neighbors, especially on-post, is important for everyone.
Think about the first time you moved as a military spouse. It was scary and overwhelming. Even now, for me, I’m intimidated to move into what seems to be an established neighborhood friend group!
Having a friendly face to greet you and invite you to group their neighborhood crew might have been crucial. So be that happy neighbor for someone else!
There are tons of super easy ways to meet the neighbors. These do tend to work better in on-post housing, but can totally work in off-base neighborhoods, too!
1. Say “Hey” when you see them outside.
If you sense an opening, as if they’re not rushing in or out of the house, walk over and introduce yourself. Tell where you live in the neighborhood and how long you’ve been living here. Ask a little about your neighbor, too. Before you know it, you’ll be fast friends!
2. Set up a neighborhood group text or chat.
This is the best way to get info shared STAT. And it’s a good way to make sure your new friend is included in your community plans. My neighborhood has two groups: one for moms/parents and the other for everyone.
In the parenting chat, we plan playdates and kids’ birthday parties. Our general neighborhood chat is for everything else: cul de sac cookouts, holiday gatherings and gouge about the latest post gossip.
Add new neighbors as they move in their homes, and you’ve met them.
3. Invite them along with you.
It can feel weird for a new neighbor to insert himself into your events or activities. Make it a point to include him from the start! If you already have something planned, be clear that he’s included in the invite, too. Share casual or regular outings that are in the works, like a summer potluck BBQ or a trip to the beach.
4. Host neighborhood things often.
In our cul de sac, we celebrate all the holidays together. We’ve even got a routine about who cooks which foods and we are observant about food allergies.
Beyond the major celebrations, we have impromptu BBQs, potlucks and bonfires often. You could just send out a quick text letting folks know your plans or write up quick invites to pass out at home.
Either way, getting together with the people you live near is a great way to make everyone feel welcome.
5. Offer Support
A few months ago, I had a severe allergic reaction. It’s not a new thing, but this one was really bad and I was alone with the kids.I sent a quick text to my neighbors. Within minutes, I had someone to watch my kids and another person to drive me to the ER.
Because we had taken that time to build our community, I knew that, even in an emergency, stuff was going to be handled.
Whether it’s trips to the ER, listing someone as your kid’s emergency contact or just having after-school play sessions, being there for each other is important.
In this military life, other military families become our support networks. Fostering a positive neighborhood community is a great start to building your own circle of friends that are more like family!
Tell us your tips to help new neighbors feel welcome!
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