Monday, March 12, 2012

Making the Grade: How to Build Better Relationships with Your Neighbors

Have you ever yearned for an All-American apple pie type neighborhood where residents wave as you drive by and bake cookies to welcome the newcomers? This does not have to be a fantasy. We can develop and build strong relationships with our neighbors and, in doing so, we will strengthen our ties to the community, improve our neighborhoods, and increase our property values.

Making an Effort
Developing strong bonds with your neighbors can go along way in establishing a community’s feel. There are activities and ways we can draw near our neighbors which will bridge the gap of inapproachability. Try these activities to see if you can lead the charge to a better neighborhood:

Communication: Start by making an effort to introduce yourself and meet your neighbors. Ask for their email address and begin a monthly newsletter to keep residents informed of different activities or occurrences within the community. You can also include a suggestions area in the newsletter to encourage residents to engage and exchange ideas and concerns.

Let’s have a party: One of the easiest ways to meet and mingle is by hosting a block party. This can be a casual get-together to meet, mingle, and build deeper bonds. Real friendships can be established and nurtured by regular contact. A group of neighbors can rotate on a monthly basis so one neighbor is not carrying the load. Include fun kid activities like relay races and splash pools for hot summer days. You can also have themed parties for Halloween, Fourth of July, and Easter to make your parties fun and interesting. This also provides a safe environment for kids and their parents to enjoy these types of holidays.

Come over for a chat: If your neighborhood is blessed with front porches, invite a neighbor over for a friendly chat in some comfortable rocking chairs. This impromptu get-together, complete with sweet tea and treats, can be a weekly ritual within your neighborhood. Invite different neighbors over for a casual chat. Being out front encourages neighbors to interact and socialize and this is your goal.

Community Time: If your neighborhood is lucky enough to have a community recreation center, consider hosting a movie screening during the warm summer months. Kid-friendly movies will encourage young families to come out and socialize. These fun parties can serve as introductions to new residents and be a catalyst for residents to build stronger communities.

Time Well Spent
The investment of time and care will serve your community well. Neighborhoods will reap the benefits of shared interests and concern, and they will serve as a role model for other communities that are looking for a way to develop friendly and inviting neighborhoods.

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