Monday, February 21, 2011

Manners Monday: Greeting New Neighbors

 With springtime being one of the busiest seasons for moving, I thought I'd spend some time focusing on the etiquette of moving as it pertains to meeting new neighbors. Today's post was inspired by Amy, a reader who wrote in this weekend asking me about etiquette as it pertains to her upcoming move, more on that later this week.

Today I want to focus on the proper etiquette of welcoming new neighbors and what your role is as the established neighbor.

It's a beautiful Saturday afternoon and you're working in your garden when you see a moving truck pull up to the home that sold just a few months ago. The new neighbors begin unloading their belongings and directing movers where items need to go. You might be wondering who should introduce themselves to whom and when an appropriate time to do so would be.

Moving day is always a busy one, there is a lot to co-ordinate and often the new home owners are exhausted from packing, unpacking and lugging heavy boxes around so they definitely won't want want to linger long on the day they take possession of their new home, as they'll be anxious to get settled in.

Here are some tips and advice on how to greet your new neighbors so they feel welcomed to your neighborhood.

1. Timing & Taking Initiative- As the established neighbor, it's always best to take initiative and introduce yourself first. If the new homeowner(s) have help moving in, it would be safe to pop over and meet with them for a few minutes however if they're the only one co-ordinating the move and running the show, it's best to wait until a later date. If they appear to have a few people helping them, the break to chat and meet someone new might be a welcomed one.

2. Be Refreshing- Whether it's hot outside or not, moving itself works up a sweat, so pop by with a couple bottles of water which is thoughtful and a good way to break the ice. Don't linger too long but do introduce yourself and let them know your name and your significant other's name and let them know you live right across the street, in the house with the red door or whatever easily describes your home, should they need anything at all. Show interest and ask them where they are from.

Also share with them any resources such as handymen in the area or a great painter/contractor, etc., if they ever need one. It's also a good opportunity to let them know when the city services such as garbage and recycling pickup come by and what days their side of the street can water. Keep it brief so they can get back to work and let them know it was a pleasure to meet them.

3. Magical Move-Sometimes when we're busy with life, away for the weekend or don't even see the move occur, we all of a sudden notice that new neighbors have moved into a home on your street, almost magically. Try to find an opening to introduce yourself and welcome them. This might be while you're taking out the garbage, walking the dog, going for an evening jog or outside pulling the weeds. Wave from your side of the street and say hello, once you make eye contact and they respond, pop over and shake their hand and chat with them for a bit, make them feel a part of the new neighborhood. Try to find common ground on anything they share so they'll feel more at ease.

4. The More the Merrier- Look for opportunities to introduce your new neighbors to other neighbors that they may not have met. Maybe an annual street party is just the time or if you are in the habit of hosting backyard parties, why not invite them over? You could have them over for coffee. Once you've gotten past the initial meeting and getting to know them, you might want to go on a double date for dinner at a restaurant or take them somewhere fun in your area to expose them to what's available.

5. Putting Yourself in their Shoes-Sometimes we try our best to greet someone new and it doesn't work out. Maybe they aren't very friendly or their lifestyle is completely different than yours-you're a busy professional woman with a white picket fence and young children and they happen to be a couple of single guys in their fifties who are proud members of a motorcycle club and drive Harleys. You don't have to be friends with every one of your neighbors if they aren't your cup of tea or you don't have much in common, but do look beyond appearances and extend yourself and show kindness, make the effort and always think of the situation from their perspective.

Moving from another town, state or country into a new neighborhood can be uncomfortable and overwhelming but by being greeted with warm smiles and sweet people, it can make their transition so much easier and they will always remember you for that. It's always good to have people in your corner to watch over your home while you're away on vacation or in case of an emergency and it's better to have met them beforehand vs. when you need to run over during a crisis when you might need their help.

Unfortunately, these days everyone is so busy with their own lives that the lovely gestures of days gone by such as a welcome basket or a freshly baked pie seem to have been forgotten. If you're baking a fresh batch of muffins, why not double up the recipe and bring some over to your new neighbors? Popping by with an inexpensive bunch of flowers is another thoughtful idea to brighten their home.

What was the most memorable thing that a neighbor did to welcome you to your new home/neighborhood?What things have you done to greet a new neighbor and make them feel special?

*images: (1) (2),(3)(4),(5)


  1. We were one of the first families on our street to move in because we built in a new development. There were only a couple of other families here before us. As each new home was complete one of the couples would step up and have a cook out or party as a chance to introduce the newest neighbors. When the holidays rolled around one of the neighbors started a tradition of having a holiday home tour and inviting everyone in the area. Each year it's grown bigger. I think that we are so close to our neighbors because of these gestures. I know I can always count on one of them if I have an emergency. That is a comforting feeling.

  2. I think it is sweet to greet a new member of the community. Sad to say that it is not so much practiced these days. I love that Karen said they though a cook out for the new neighbors in her community! How great!

  3. Thank you, Karla.

    Do you know what specific types of roses those white ones are in the last photo?

  4. @Karen-I'm so happy that you live on such a friendly street. What an awesome way to welcome everyone! :)

    @Idelangel-Oh, they're actually white ranunculus. Aren't they pretty! They come in many gorgeous colors, many brides choose them as their flower of choice.


  5. Love this! Although we don't have any new neighbors right now, you've re-inspired me to try and get the neighborhood together for a party or something to connect with each other!

  6. I am so enjoying all of your posts. Both my husband and I are Realtors, and we are always delighted to hear our clients are happy with their new neighbourhood. Something I like to do is to give the new family a plate of homebaked cookies, or a cake, with all of our names (and house #) on a Welcome card - it is a thoughtful gesture because the new neighbours are busy and may feel embarrassed if they have forgotten your name. If they have children the same age as one of ours, we try to include them in the first introduction, and encourage them to invite their new friend out for a bike ride, or event in the next week or so.

  7. Great tips Karla, and timely. Thank you. May I have your permission to reprint this in our HOA Newsletter due for publishing on Oct. 1?

  8. I recently moved into a condo I purchased and had only been there four days when my neighbor left a note asking us not to leave trash on our porch. We are still unpacking and working full time and have no intention of leaving the bags and boxes on our porch. I am not sure how I feel about my new neighbor now.


Thanks for stopping by, your comments make my day! I read every single one and will answer any questions you have. I hope you'll visit again soon! :)


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