Characters in TV shows and movies seem to become best friends with their neighbors hours after they move in. Unfortunately, in real life, you may live next door to someone for years and never know their name. Forming relationships with the people who live close to you offers many benefits, but it can be difficult to meet your neighbors you when you live in a rental. If you’re planning to move to a new apartment in Central New Jersey soon, you may want to try a few of these tips.
Host a Gathering
Get-togethers offer the perfect opportunity to socialize with your new neighbors. Invite everyone on your floor or in your building to a housewarming party or open house soon after you move in. Your party will not only give you the chance to meet your neighbors but just may be the first time that some of them are meeting each other.
Parties don’t have to be expensive. Offer a selection of lemonade, water and soft drinks, plus a few easy-to-prepare snacks. Better yet, pick up a cheese or fruit platter at Wegmans in Bridgewater Towne Center.
Introducing yourself sounds like a basic tactic, but it’s one that’s often overlooked these days. Instead of nodding or smiling when you see your neighbors, take a minute or two to talk to them. After you introduce yourself, find out where they live (if they’re not standing in front of their doors) and ask how long they’ve lived in the building.
These spur-of-the-moment introductions give you the opportunity to obtain useful information about the apartment community and the entire area. The people you meet may offer tips about the ideal time to visit the fitness center or the best local pizza place.
You may find it easier to remember names if you repeat the name in a sentence or associate it with something about the person. For example, if you meet 6’5” Tim, you might think of him as “Tall Tim,” while Jen may become “Jen with the chocolate Labrador retriever.” Of course, you can always cheat and write a brief description of the person in the notes section of your phone immediately after you meet them.
Catch Some Rays Outside
If your apartment community offers an outdoor patio, grill or firepit area, you’ll want to make it a point to use these amenities, especially if you don’t know your neighbors. People are often more approachable when they're relaxing outside and enjoying the beautiful weather than when they are when they’re hurrying to work in the morning or carrying a few bags of groceries.
Start a Club or Group
Many apartment complexes allow tenants to hold meetings in the community center for free or for a small charge. Starting a book club, leading a yoga class or holding a social hour for people who work from home not only allows you to pursue your interests but also helps you meet like-minded neighbors.
Let Your Dog or Child Do the Hard Work
Most of us are naturally drawn to kids and pets. In fact, you may find that your children or your dogs provide natural conversation starters whether you’re enjoying the community’s outdoor amenities or waiting for an elevator.
Work Out in the Fitness Center
Even if you belong to a local gym, you’ll probably want to want to lift weights or use the stair climber at your apartment community’s fitness center occasionally. When the weather’s bad, or you don’t feel like driving, on-site fitness centers are particularly convenient. Their relatively small size makes it easier to strike up conversations with other tenants too. You may even find a workout buddy at the fitness center.
Forbes: The Five Best Tips to Remember Names
Moving.com: How to Meet Neighbors: Simple Tips for Getting Off on the Right Foot