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Here’s how to help your new neighbour feel at home

Welcome mat

It’s no secret that moving homes is stressful and traumatic, so why multiply this stress for the “new kid on the block” by showing up unannounced and demanding social interaction? Leave the poor sod alone to suffer in silence, am I right?

Well no, there are some unobtrusive ways that you can lessen your new neighbour’s stress, without having to bake a pie.

Just greet them

Taking a moment to say hello and introduce yourself is the simplest and most effective way to make a stranger feel like they belong in the neighbourhood or complex. You don’t have to stand and chat for hours. A quick in and out and brief introductions are enough to leave your new neighbour feeling refreshed and even human after the stress of moving.

Share your insider’s tips

Psst sharing a secret

Create a list of important numbers and dates like the municipality’s fault reporting line, your local councillor’s name and number and the day on which your rubbish is collected. Add who you use as internet provider, alarm company, garden services and satellite dish installer.

All bits of information that can often feel like state guarded secrets when moving into a new area. For an extra touch you can include information such as your favourite place for a morning coffee, Sunday buffet, family dinner, your preferred vet and pet sitter and any other services you regularly use and can recommend.

Read this first hand account of living with a neighbour from hell

Buy them dinner

No, not suggesting you spent an awkward evening over dinner with a stranger. There are definitely more attractive options if you want to be super nice. Provide a voucher to a shop that carries ready-to-eat meals. If you prefer to keep this act anonymous you could always order something from one of your retailers and have the food delivered to your neighbour’s door. This is risky, however, as you don’t know what dietary requirements they might have.

Help them entertain their young kids

confused babywearing mom with two toddlers

If it is a new family with young kids moving in next door the move has been extra traumatic, guaranteed. Make the load slightly lighter for the parents by taking over an inexpensive bag of entertainment for the kids.

Avoid adding sugary sweets to the bag as you don’t know what the parents are okay with feeding their kids. Rather stick to things like play dough, a puzzle, a board game like snakes and ladders or checkers, colouring books and crayons or sidewalk chalk for some outside play. The parents will be so thankful and your act of kindness will help the kids settle in.

Keep up the good work

Don’t disappear or rush past head down the next time you see your new neighbour. Why not actually make friends, see if you have something in common and maybe even invite them over for lunch at your place next weekend?

While it is difficult to “put yourself out there” the rewards can be massive. Everyone needs a community, you might as well be the one forging one in your street.

Words: Maxine Ridder


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