In previous generations chatting with our neighbours, enjoying a game of street cricket, sharing a BBQ or a bit of banter over the fence was the norm. Some Australian streets still have this vibe, but many are silent with doors closed and screens on. It’s time to bring back the connection and sense of community.
Here are six easy ways to meet your neighbour which won’t leave you or them squirming (much..).
1. Have a garage sale
Garage sales are a great way to meet new people and get to know your neighbour. There’s bound to be a time when you need to cull your beloved dust-collecting stuff which never sees the light of day. Start a pile for your garage sale and use it as an easy way to have people over to start conversations. you never know what mutual stuff and interests you could have in common.
2. Share something you have spare
Too much pineapple for the household? Share it with your neighbour. An easy explanation is the prevention of waste and enjoying beautiful food together. Check out what’s happening in the Spare Harvest community for inspiration and join in.
3. Host a street gathering
If you are a gatherer of people, why not experiment with a street BBQ and ask everyone to bring a plate. Stick notes in letterboxes and host it at a reasonable time of day (late afternoon). Block the street of or host at your place and enjoy the neighbourhood together. Got a beach cricket set or some other lawn game? Bring that! Some people will love it, others will want to remain reclusive and that’s okay. But you can say hello at the same time as inviting and keep some gentle and respectful connection with them.
4. Offer something or lend a hand
Offering something as simple as a smile, eye contact OR some of your time to help water the garden while your neighbour is on holiday are great ways to connect with your neighbour meaningfully. This can all be done on Spare Harvest. Ask us how. It’s really easy and fun.
5. Get creative with your intro
Okay, so this approach needs to be looked at as an experiment. Why not do up some quirky food bundles either from your garden (if you have one) or you can share packaged food or something you made. One idea could be to share some popping corn in a paper packet with a note ‘just poppin in to introduce myself’ and a bit about you. Invite the neighbour to connect and share your details. What is there to lose? Only your dignity if no-one replies. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
6. Have a housewarming party (or re-warming)
Invite your friends and immediate neighbours to your house warming party so you can get to know one another. You could encourage the bringing of food and drinks and board games and turn the one-off event into the beginning of more regular get-togethers.
7. Connect outside
Being outside there is more chance of bumping into your neighbours. Go for walks with your dog (if you own one) or even just afternoon strolls solo and make the effort to say g’day and a few words. And visa versa. You could be tinkering with your garden, washing the car or getting the mail; if you see a neighbour, say hello even if they seem to be avoiding you. Make an effort to seek out mutual ground and offer support and sharing of your resources. You may just find your new best mate on those outings.
Too independent for our own good
With the steady increase of technology types, we are now so independent we don’t need to engage with others from a survival perspective, but in terms of emotional health, it’s time we reconnected face to face, tong to tong.
Good luck and get stuck into it!