How To Make Friends With Your Neighbors

Last Updated on August 23, 2022 by Estrella

How to make friends with your neighbors
How to make friends with your neighbors. Photo by Matthew Henry from Burst.

How to make friends with your neighbors is one of the most frequently asked questions I get from clients who have just moved to Seattle from other countries. For example, “I want to meet more neighbors, but it seems people wave and say hi, then go inside their house. There’s no chance to say more than just hello. It would be nice to visit with them and know them better.” In this article, I’ll share some tips on how to make friends with your neighbors.

How to make friends with neighbors and people you see regularly

First, I would like to suggest the idea that neighbors go beyond the people who live on your street. They include the people who work in places you go to frequently. Like the grocery store, the bank, where you shop. Extend your definition of neighbors to include those you see regularly, and you’ll find more opportunities to make connections. That’s why you want to make friends with your neighbors, right? To feel connected?

Make friends with employees of stores you go to

I go to the same grocery stores every week. Over time, I know the name of everyone who works there. I know who is planning a vacation to Europe, who wants to build his own business, whose father is visiting Seattle, and who is going on a hike that weekend. One of the things I discovered about a cashier was that he helped to build the Franklin Falls hiking trail as a volunteer. He told me how to build a shelter out of snow.

The people who work at the bank knows me by name. I know which university they want to attend, who is planning a party for her daughter, who has created a charity to help people in her hometown. One of the tellers used to be a model in her country, and appreciates that I notice her hairstyle and fashion.

A few women at the department store I go to would tell me about upcoming sales. One of them is Nicole. I was impressed with her superb customer service and wrote the company’s president about it. We became friends over time. She introduced me to her co-workers in other departments, and they treat me like friends.

How I make friends with my neighbors

Perhaps a good way to share how to make friends with your neighbors is by sharing some stories of how my neighbors met me. Some start with a smile and hello, and some because I received their help.

Heidi and Hector–my next door neighbors

Heidi and Hector were my next door neighbors. On the day I moved in, they helped me carry boxes from the truck to my home. That’s how they met me. Afterwards, Heidi made sure I had soap and toothbrush for the evening, in case I couldn’t find the box with the toiletries. And she brought some dessert over in case I got hungry.

The next evening, when I came home from work, Heidi came over with dinner. She thought I would not have unpacked yet, and had nothing to cook with. She didn’t know how organized I am. I never told her. I just want them to know how thankful I am to have them as my neighbors.

One cold winter day, Hector knocked on my door and said, “In case the power goes out tonight, I want you to know we bought a bunch of wood for the fireplace. Just knock on our door anytime if you need some logs for your fireplace.” I feel so cared for by these neighbors who think of me. I am in their thoughts. When they moved, I made them dinner so they can spend time packing and getting ready for the movers.

Lynn–another neighbor

One evening, when I was taking a bottle out of my car, it slipped out of my hand. Broken pieces of glass flew everywhere. Lynn heard the noise. She came out with a broom and swept up the shattered pieces of glass for me. And that was how Lynn met me. That’s how I found out she fosters dogs while they are waiting for adoption, and that she is a master gardener.

A few months later, she told me she was getting a back surgery, and how she had made arrangements for the neighbors to help her with daily chores. Getting the mail, walking her dogs, etc. I offered to prepare some meals for her so she can freeze them for after her surgery. She brought over some chicken, and I made sure she has a variety of flavor in those meals.

Vladimir–a 10-year-old neighbor

One afternoon, a young neighbor saw me getting things out of my trunk after I parked my car. He was riding his bicycle, and smiled at me. I waved and said hello. And then he came over and asked if I would like some help with my grocery. That was how Vladimir met me.

We chat for a bit and learned more about each other. A week later, I saw him hanging out with his friends. He waved and introduced his friends to me. And that’s how I met Crystal, Steve, Joe, Kristen, and Laurie.

These are no big gestures. It’s just asking one more question after saying hello, sharing a snack, lingering to chit chat about nothing and everything, listening, allowing others to help me, offer to help when needed.

Whether these neighbors make it into your home for tea, lunch, or dinner, depends entirely on how much you want to include them in your life. It doesn’t have to be a formal invitation. If they can’t come for tea for whatever reason, you can bake some cookies and take it to them. We all appreciate thoughtful gestures. Over time, these “little” actions can turn into a friendship.

I found an article that has some good ideas on how to meet more people, not only your neighbors.

If you find this article helpful, here is one on Tips for a smooth cultural adjustment.

Estrella Chan coaches immigrants and international professionals in English fluency, interview skills, and public speaking.    To schedule a session with her, please email estrellachan@gmail.com

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