Who Are My Neighbors {How To Make Friends}

One of the best parts of living in our neighborhood is fostering relationships with our neighbors.  I always dreamed of having neighbors that I could borrow a cup of sugar from on a whim or stop by for a cup of coffee.  But what I have found is that is not so common-place in today’s world.   Instead we often wonder, “Who are my neighbors?”   With our multi-activities, busy family life, we tend not to stop to create a relationship with those that live close to us.

who are my neighbors

Who Are My Neighbors?

When we first moved to our street, there was very little social interactions.  Kids didn’t play together, people hardly waved to one another – this was NOT the street I was going to raise my kids on!   We immediately became purposeful in thinking about how to make friends and creating opportunities to ensure we had relationships with our neighbors.

I started with a  Back to School Ice Cream Social the weekend before school started.  We had just moved in and had not met anyone.  So with my kids, we made invitations and knocked on every door of every house on our street inviting them to our driveway for an ice cream social.  I asked them to bring nothing – just their kids.  We had a fantastic turn out with families with kids of all ages and older couples (our adopted-grandparents) all hanging out for hours on our lawn.  Turns out most families wanted to get together, they just never took the time to do it.  We exchanged phone numbers and email information.  We got the scoop on the best restaurants and who to use for babysitting in the area.  And we started some amazing friendships for both our children and ourselves that are still strong 4 years later.

how to make friends

And we continue to get together.  We have impromptu Happy Hours after school on Fridays.  We helped form a Bunco group in the neighborhood.  We Trick or Treat together and have an annual Fall/Halloween weenie roast.  And we all have borrowed from each other – eggs, vanilla, lawn mower, you name it!   Most importantly, we are there for one another – we have celebrated birthdays, helped in sorrowful times, and called each other “friend”.

How to Make Friends

So how can you foster this on your street? If you are a new neighbor or have lived there for 5 years, here are 3 easy steps:

1. Meet your neighbors with an event for your whole street.  It may sound big, but I promise you it’s not.  Plan something easy – Pizza Night, Ice Cream Social, Hot Dog Bar.  Hold it on your driveway or on your front lawn so there is little set up (you don’t have to even clean the inside of your house!).  Invite EVERYONE on the street.  Make it fun with a flyer and knock on doors with your kiddos.  Talk to your neighbors and personally invite them.

At the event, have a sign up sheet to collect emails, phone numbers, and pertinent information.  I even had a column on our sheet asking what they would be interested in doing on the street (Book Club, Bible Study, Bunco, Progressive Dinners, Men’s Poker Night, etc.).  I was overwhelmed at the interest to do things together on our street.

2. Create a Communication Tool for the street.  It’s hard to keep up with everyone’s contact info, so we created a Face Book group for our street.  It’s an easy way to communicate to everyone when we are going to have the kids play in the cul-de-sac, when someone is holding a garage sale, or when a snake has been seen (I live in Texas y’all….this is helpful to know!).  Yahoo Groups is another great online tool to use as well.

3. Do things as a Street Regularly.  What are you interested in doing with your neighbors??  You can’t just sit around and hope to be invited to them.  Start up a Bunco group.  Encourage your hubby to hold a Chili Cookoff in the Fall.  Plan to go Christmas Caroling together.  Create running or workout groups. Put together a Neighborhood Game night.  Plan a Bus Stop Last Day of School Celebration.  Welcome new neighbors with home baked goodies together.  It’s fun events like these that create lasting memories of an amazing neighborhood to live & grow up in.

make friends with neighbors

My neighbors have become some of our closest friends.  We love being surrounded by people that keep a watchful eye on each others’ children, cheer our kids on in sports activities, and are there for one another though both joys and sadness.  So get out there – get to know your neighbors!

Take these easy steps to learn how to make friends and you will no longer wonder, “Who are my neighbors?”.   Here are some kids activities to help your little one make new friends in the neighborhood:

12 Comments

  1. A big yes! Neighbors are the threads that make the tapestry of our lives. My favorite topics to write about are neighbors, kids, and grandparents. What a great combination. I enjoyed your post and the joyful pictures of your neighborhood.

  2. Ee have lived here for a year and don’t know our neighbors at all. I hate it. So, I’ll be taking your advice and inviting the neighbors to our front yard for a BBQ. Thanks for the kick in the butt.

  3. Great advice..We just moved and I’d love to meet some new folks!

  4. That’s it. I’m moving to your neighborhood!!

  5. We have some crazies in our neighborhood so I’m not sure if it’ll be good, but if we invite them maybe we’ll realize they are nicer and normaler than we think!

  6. Renea Pike says:

    Whenever I read your posts when you do things with your neighbors I keep thinking, I want to live on a street like that! lol 🙂 We live in an apartment temporarily, once we move into a house (hopefully next year) I will be making friends with the neighbors, because I love the idea of having close neighbors!

  7. easier said than done when you’re in Navy housing, as lower enlisted surrounded by Chiefs, Senior Chiefs, Master Chiefs and officers, nobody wants to associate with you 🙁

  8. How can we expect our children to play outside and make new friends if we don’t know our neighbors? Something that was taken for granted years ago, now has to be recognized as an important part of our child’s upbringing. Great article and I look forward to reading more.

  9. Sounds like a lot of fun! I know there are lots of people who would like to get to know the neighbors, but no one wants to make the first move. We’re moving into a new house in April and I would love to start off getting to know the neighbors early. Maybe we’ll plan something for early summer!

    Lindsey @ GrowingKidsMinistry.com

  10. Sue Peterson says:

    Our “street” is about 6 miles long and not broken up by blocks. It’s narrow & the speed limit is 35 mph so people don’t walk on it very much & kids certainly don’t play on it. On our side of the street the houses are all set back from the road by an eighth to a quarter of a mile with heavily wooded driveways and are set 75-100 yards apart. It seems to be the perfect recipe for isolation. We’ve been here five years now & don’t know anyone. I reached out to the woman next door who told me she’s shy and doesn’t like getting together with people other than those she works with..

  11. OMG. I have lived in a place almost exactly like you describe and it is true that people choose where they live for different reasons and many in the neighborhood I lived in chose it so they didn’t have to interact with others which I find sad. We moved a few years ago to a neighborhood where the houses are close together and everyone has front porches and we are within walking distance of coffee shops and restaurants and I can tell you it is NIGHT and DAY. I probably know 100 neighbors or more in the new place. Good luck. I know that this year is not a great time for additional isolation. Hang in there. -Holly

  12. Joshua Ewald says:

    You already know this is what I want

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