Thursday, February 24, 2011

Reader Request: Etiquette for New Neighbors

I mentioned a few days ago in this Manners Monday post that one of my readers, Amy from California, wrote in asking about etiquette as it pertains to being the new neighbor on the block. They will soon be getting married and moving from the bustling city of San Francisco to the suburbs in Boise, Idaho.

This is what Amy wrote in asking:


My fiance (our day is in the coming August) and I are moving to a suburb in a whole new state. I understand you have done your share of pulling up and settling down thousands of miles away from "home," I wondered if you'd give me your opinion on what is the etiquette for being the newcomers on the block.

How can we (in a classy manner) simply introduce ourselves to the neighbors and what are the ways that we can explore in building a social network in a new place?

Thank you,
This was how I responded...

Dear Amy,

Thanks for writing, I love to hear from my readers! :) First of all, congratulations on your engagement and I think it's great that you're stretching yourselves and moving to a new area, albeit unfamiliar.

It's true, I moved multiple times as a child, then as an adult, most recently I moved from Toronto, Canada to Orlando, FL 4 years ago which has been interesting. While the area was new to me, my husband had lived in our now home for many years and grew up here (it was his grandparent's home) so it was a different process for me-he was familiar with it all and I was learning the ins and outs for the first time. I think there is something special though about experiencing a move to a new town with a significant other.

As far as etiquette goes as the newcomers, if you're moving into a home or town home you'll generally find that more established neighbors on your street will see the moving truck and will become curious and make their way over to introduce themselves and offer to be of help as you get settled. If they don't come over on moving day (they may want to give you space), they'll definitely see you while you get the mail, walk the dog (if you have one) or go for a walk yourselves, or even take out the trash.

However, if for some reason this is not your experience, by all means, grab your honey and introduce yourselves to the neighbors. Perhaps you'll see them playing with their children outside, bringing in the recycle bins, etc. You'll definitely at the very least want to get to know the neighbors on either side of you as well as those across the street from you, however it's not necessary to go door-to-door and introduce yourselves to each neighbor. With street parties, local community events and other scenarios, you're bound to meet those that reside around you soon enough and one neighbor is bound to introduce you to some of the others.

The whole moving experience will feel so much more pleasant once you get to know a few neighbors that you can turn to for questions or help if you need to. They can be a great source of information-the best grocery stores, they may also have valuable contact for contractors/handy man, painters, etc. Don't be disheartened if your neighbors seem to keep to themselves, this is especially common in the cooler months but by introducing yourselves and getting to know your neighbors you'll show yourselves to be friendly.

As far as branching out socially, if it's a city where the two of you won't know anyone else, or many others, the website: is highly recommended and exists in every city. I didn't discover it until I was living in FL for nearly 2 years but once I did, I got to meet a lot of great people who were also in the same place in their life, similar age group with similar interests and even started my own women's group on it which has been a blast! It's a great way to get to know local eateries, shopping areas and learn about local parks, activities, etc. It was the single best thing I did besides buying a GPS. ;)

Other areas for you to branch out socially might happen naturally if you set up a library account, explore churches in your area (if that's of interest) and be sure to ask friends if they know of anyone in your area. You never know, a friend of a friend might be able to introduce you to things and places you might not have thought of and you might make a new friend that way too.

I hope this is helpful. Your questions have actually given me inspiration for a couple future posts on moving and etiquette. I hope your upcoming move is extremely stress-free and that you love your new home and city!


I'd love to hear how you got settled into your neighborhood and how you set up your social network in a new town!

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