5 Super Simple Ways to Get to Know Your Neighbors [LIST]

Make the first step in creating a friendlier neighborhood

May 2, 2014
Special Collections: STRANGERS TO NEIGHBORS

Image from Flickr user Ellie Brown

Whether you live on a farm, a city or suburb, you most likely have neighbors. What some folks don’t realize is that the people who live around you can be a major factor in improving your quality of life. Neighbors can keep a watch on your house while you’re on vacation, lend you a ladder, or in the best case scenarios, become a friend. If you aren’t sure of the name of that guy across the street, please check out some creative and easy avenues to transforming a stranger into a neighbor.

1. DANCE IN THE STREETS

A fun and cool way to get to know your neighbors is by organizing a block or street party.
HOW IT’S USUALLY DONE: Check with local authorities for permission to close off the street, making the celebration exclusive to folks in your hood. Ask everyone to prepare a dish and/or bring a game or activity.
GET STARTED: Browse through the UK-based Street Party site to gain some inspiration or consult this kit for all the steps to making your block party a successful annual event!

Image from Flickr user Bart Everson

2. BORROW A LADDER

If you are looking to temporarily borrow some tools or yes, even a cup of sugar, look close to home. 
HOW IT’S USUALLY DONE: It can oftentimes be a whole lot easier to knock on your neighbor’s door for something that you might be lacking, rather than running out and spending money on an object you’ll use once.
GET STARTED: Discover the site Streetbank which is an online platform for neighbors to share, borrow or lend their special skills to one another. The free service is a great way to help out your fellow neighbor, be social and save on purchasing unnecessary items.

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3. READ ALL ABOUT IT

Books are a great topic of conversation and can be a good way to connect with those who live close by.
HOW IT’S USUALLY DONE: Enthusiastic readers can organize a book club in which each month, a neighbor selects a new book to read and discuss.
GET STARTED: Delve into these book list suggestions ranging from the classics to books that unleash your inner good doer. If a book club seems like too large of a commitment, perhaps your neighborhood could use its own Little Free Library – a DIY library made from recyclable materials and filled with free books. The Little Free Library encourages literacy, sharing and is a creative little punch to insert some personality into your ‘hood.

Image from Little Free Library's Facebook page

4. ARE YOU GOING TO FINISH THAT?

Food is a unifying force and a wonderful avenue to get to know your neighbors.
HOW IT’S USUALLY DONE: Take the initiative and invite some neighbors over to your place for a cup of coffee or a full meal.
GET STARTED: Leftovers are common in most homes and with the site Casserole, folks can use the online platform to share extra portions of home cooked food with others in their area who cannot cook for themselves.

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5. KEEP THE STREETS SAFE

Neighbors can band together to make sure their homes and loved ones are out of harm’s way.
HOW IT’S USUALLY DONE: A group of concerned citizens dedicate their spare time to keeping their eyes and ears open to the happenings of the neighborhood. If there is suspicious behavior, then these individuals can coordinate with local law enforcement.
GET STARTED: The Official Neighborhood Watch App can be a useful tool to report incidents as well as a resource for tips and materials to make your own neighborhood watch the most effective.

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