By Esmeralda Casas, Neighborhood Services Coordinator
As we prepare for the fall semester to start, you may see some new faces – and lots of moving vans – around your neighborhood.
We’ve all been there before — moving in as college freshmen, as young professionals starting a job, or with kids in tow to begin a new life closer to family. You didn’t know what to expect, but you found your way.
Now that you’re on the other side think about what would make you feel welcome if you were moving into a new neighborhood again. If you’re unsure how to get started, here are five thoughtful ways you can welcome newcomers:
1. Say Howdy!
Introducing yourself is the simplest way to greet new people in the Heart of Aggieland and make them feel welcome. Even if you don’t say “howdy,” introducing yourself with a simple hello is a kind thing to do for newcomers. That small gesture makes new neighbors feel safer and gives them an immediate sense of belonging.
Moving in can be a busy and stressful time, so keep in mind that your new neighbors may not have a lot of time to talk. Make your first visit short, so you’re not imposing or creating more stress.
2. Offer to help.
Aggieland is known for selfless service. If your neighbors don’t have professional movers, you can offer a helping hand as they unpack. They may not feel comfortable accepting help, but it’s nice to let them know you’re willing and available.
3. Come bearing gifts.
A small welcome gift is not just a kind gesture – it’s a classy way to break the ice. Once your neighbors are through unpacking and have more time, drop off a welcome note or maybe one of the city’s free welcome bags that include essential information such as garbage and recycling pickup schedules. Likewise, our game day bags serve double duty as an excellent gift and informational welcome package. You can even add your own goodies or information, such as important HOA documents, to help newcomers avoid neighborhood conflicts or fines.
4. Invite them over.
It’s challenging for newcomers to get into the social scene when they don’t yet know the area. So if you feel comfortable, offer to show your neighbors around or invite them to a backyard barbecue. You might even ask them to join you for a walk at one of our amazing parks or to take your dogs to a dog park together.
For a low-key and socially distanced way to get connected, invite them to join NextDoor or a local neighborhood Facebook group. Online groups are a fantastic way to get to know the community.
These steps will help you to get better acquainted while giving your new neighbor the chance to see the superb quality of life your neighborhood and community have to offer.
5. Talk it out.
Getting to know people helps defuse conflicts before they start, but you may still have occasional disagreements with your neighbors no matter how friendly you are. Handling these disagreements with appropriate tact is vital.
If an issue arises with a new neighbor, stay respectful and calm. Most people don’t want to create problems, and your new neighbors may not know about the annoyance, especially if you have contrasting ages, lifestyles, families, etc. Those differences may lead to conflicting expectations or misunderstandings unless we communicate and understand each other.
In most cases, talk with your neighbor directly and face-to-face about issues. Avoid doing it through text messages or emails, where they can easily misinterpret your intended tone and meaning. If you can’t resolve the issue one-on-one, get help from your neighborhood or homeowner’s association or report it to the city.
Neighbors don’t have to be your best friends but building and maintaining cordial relationships benefits everyone. After all, developing exceptional neighborhoods begins with you being a good neighbor.
If you liked this post, share it!