It was only a few weeks since I made the big move to Philadelphia and meeting new people and making friends with the neighbors was very high on my list of things to do. I just moved from a city I loved, where I had a circle of friends who lived within 5 blocks, so to put it bluntly, I was having a difficult time adjusting.
Meeting the neighbors and making new friends now, is becoming quite a pleasure. I have had wonderful successes, and here's what's worked for me so far. If you've also faced a similar situation, I'd love for you to send me an email about what's worked for you.
Talk to People. This might seem simple, but coming from a city where it's odd for a stranger to strike up a conversation unless they are selling something, asking for directions, or hitting on you, I have to really force this one. I'm not suggesting that you randomly chat people up, but if you're in your elevator and you think your neighbor has a cute dog, tell them. Along these lines, if your neighbor is lifting something bulky, offer to help. Maybe you'll even be able to exchange names!
Don't Shy Away From Common Spaces. My new building has a few common areas where residents can relax outdoors. Due to not having anywhere to sit in my apartment thanks to my furniture delivery getting delayed, I started spending more time working on my laptop in the common outdoor space, and lo and behold I got to meet a neighbor. While my natural tendency is to spend time in my apartment, I have to remember that I need to be the "anti-reality show person," being that "I'm here to make friends," and making friends involves being in places where you have the opportunity to actually meet other people.
Festivals & Block Events. A no-brainer way to get to know your neighbors is by attending local events that celebrate the neighborhood or block. It can feel a bit awkward to go to these alone, but well worth it if you get to meet a few potential pals.
Meetups. Although I have not tried these in my new city yet, I used to belong to a few different Meetup groups that aligned with my interests back home. These groups helped me to meet other similarly minded people, and some were even neighborhood and block centric.
Cultural Memberships. Back home, or I guess I should say back in my former home, I was a member at several cultural institutions. I like to patronize the arts as well as attend the member-only events, and have made several friends at these. So within a week of moving here I became a member at a few of them. I'm hoping that these institutions will have events similar to the ones in NYC, and hopefully at these events new friends will be made!
Of course one could mention knocking on your neighbors' doors and introducing yourself, but that feels really awkward and invasive to me. Am I wrong in this, and am I missing out on a tried and true way of meeting new neighbor friends? What's worked for you?
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