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Your New Community: Tips to Get Involved!

June 4, 2015

Moving to a new home is an exciting time. It’s a fresh start. Once the boxes are unpacked, the pictures hung on the wall, and you feel settled in, how do you take the next step in making yourself feel right at home? You meet people in your area. Making new acquaintances is the start to new friendships. For some people, getting out and socializing is second nature. But if you’re not one of them, here are a few suggestions on how to go to know your new neighborhood.
  • Get outside. Be visible. Wash your car in the driveway, work in the garden, walk the dog, play with your kids in the front yard, sit on the porch, or just stand at your mailbox while slowly sifting through your mail. Then, as people wander by, say “hi” and introduce yourself. They’re probably curious about the new folks on the block, too.
  • Host a gathering. You don’t have to wait for invitations to meet other people. Plan an open house or casual get-together and invite your neighbors. When guests arrive, be sure you have some personal items on display so they can get a glimpse of who you are—like family photos and items that show a little about you—to spark conversation starters. “Oh, you play the piano?” “”My kids are into soccer, too.”
  • Join a local club. Find an organization that reflects your interests, and you’ll meet people who share that passion—like the school’s PTA, church, art guild, golf club, book club, theater group, or fitness center. Check out meetup.com to find groups in your area that cultivate the same interests and learn about their upcoming meetings and plans.
  • Volunteer. No matter where you are, there are plenty of organizations that rely on volunteers—the local animal shelter, senior center, library, hospital, school, church, or non-profit organizations like the United Way. Contact them and offer your help.
  • Explore the area. Plan to check out a new place at least once a week. Try a restaurant or café, and let the server know you’re new to the area. Take your child or dog to a local park. They’ll provide an opening for you to talk to other parents (of the two- and four-legged kids). Ask questions wherever you go, about the area, things to do, places to visit, and reliable service providers (doctors, groomers, plumbers, hair stylists).
  • Take your search online. You can find local events on websites like eventful.com and your area’s Chamber of Commerce. And don’t forget to use Facebook! When you meet a new person, ask if they’re on Facebook. Then “Friend” them so you can build a local network.
The best way to feel at home in a new neighborhood is by knowing the people and places around you. Strike up a conversation wherever you meet people—in line at the grocery store or post office, with a local shop proprietor, or while enjoying a cup of coffee. Before long, you’ll be the savvy resident who is guiding the newcomers to the neighborhood.

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