When you move to a new house it’s a good idea to break the ice with the neighbours straight away, otherwise you might find that you’ll put it off to a point that it becomes a little awkward. So get off on the right foot and start those neighbourly friendships early. A good neighbour can lift the whole living experience on your new street and you won’t know until you knock on their door. So take a look at our ideas to tickle your social bone and get you creating the perfect soap opera neighbourhood in no time.
Throw a Party
Why not get everybody together all at once and kill 20 birds with one stone! Your neighbours will really appreciate the effort and it may be that some of the neighbours don’t know each other very well, so it could be a good way to kick start your neighbourhood community.
You don’t need to spend a lot of money organising the party. Just put out a few simply canapé party foods with vegetarian options and buy a couple of crates of beer and a few different bottles of wine to get everyone started. You could always suggest on the invites that people bring their own booze if you wanted to suggest an all evening party, although people will likely bring a bottle of wine as a good neighbourly gesture. Pick some inoffensive music to play in the background that is likely to suit most tastes and allow for people to talk, or if in doubt just play The Beatles!
When you deliver the invites, don’t just slip them through the letter box (unless they’re not in), knock on the door and introduce yourself. Then if they decide not to come or they can’t make it, you’ve still broken the ice.
If you’re moving in the summer, you can’t get more sociable than a barbeque. Have a few staples like sausages and burgers and then get your salads prepared. You could put most of your effort into the salads and then allow people to bring their own meat or veggie options. The salads are often what turn a BBQ into a delicious meal, so branch out from your green salad, coleslaw and potato salad, and try making some tabbouleh, couscous, lentils, Greek salads, and roasted veg. Take a look at these salads from Jamie Oliver for inspiration.
It’s a good idea to prepare some lawn games for people to play as this tends to lighten the mood and allow people to relax more into the conversation. Croquet is a great team game to play, or maybe try bowls or quoits, which are much cheaper to buy, but are still lots of fun.
A small token gift is a great excuse to knock on someone’s door and allows you to have a focal point for your introductory conversation. You could bake a batch of cookies, which might be a subtle prompt to invite you in for a cup of tea! Or choose something that is personal to you, for instance if you are a keen gardener maybe bring them a seedling for their garden. If you’re a photographer or artist, perhaps you could make them a small image, although this might be better done in the form of a card, so if they don’t like it they don’t feel the pressure to display it in their homes!
Sometimes it’s better to get to know people when you’re not in a group, so dropping round a card asking them to pop round for a cup of tea sometime could be a nice way to initiate this. The problem is, you won’t know exactly when they’re going to come, but this is hopefully the type of relationship you want to build with your neighbours where they can just pop round for a quick chat. As you become more comfortable with them, you will be able to politely tell them if you’re in the middle of something and invite them round another time, so you don’t need to worry about there being a constant demand on your time or privacy.
You can also do this in addition to a party, by suggesting a cuppa on your invites so you can get to know people before the party. The key to forming these relationships is to keep it casual. You can stage bigger occasions like dinner parties once you’re confident that you want to spend a more intense social event together!
If you’re moving house in or out of Wiltshire, get in contact with the Intransit team to make your move as stress free as possible. Then you’ll have lots of energy left over for the important things like planning your house warming party!