Updated: Jun 27
In a recent survey, most people said that moving was more stressful than starting a new job, having a baby, or even getting a divorce. Almost half of those people said that moving was the most stressful event of their life and that—if given the choice—they would never move again.
So, that means two things. One, if you've recently moved, you need support. No matter how capable you are, moving is stressful and we need . And two, if someone has recently moved into your neighborhood, they need support, too. Though many people nowadays don't have someone they can count on right next-door, imagine a world where we were there for each other, where help was just a few feet away.
Here are ten ways the words "Just Moved" can be the perfect excuse to connect with your new neighbors.
1. Pray for Them.
We recently discovered this neighboring app on Blesseveryhome.com. It uses White Pages and digital mapping to help you pray intentionally for your neighbors. And as you build relationships, you can keep track of their prayer requests.
Get out and get some fresh air. Walk the dog, prayer walk, open your fitness app on your Apple Watch, whatever gets you outside- just go. Be visible. Start to notice that there are people who've been placed around you.
Waving is one of the most simple ways to connect with with a neighbor. It can be more than a polite gesture, it can be a way to connect. Relationships with our neighbors have to start somewhere and a wave is a great place to start. Don't underestimate the impact of this small motion. During 2020, several cities in Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio called citizens to go outside nightly and wave, as if this act somehow had some revolutionary magic to connect neighbors. Maybe it does. It's never just a wave.
4. Introduce Yourself.
In the words of Dave Runyon, "Learning someone's name is the way we move from being an acquaintance to a stranger to a friend." Use this free printable as an easy way to start that process.
5. Bake Something (or Buy!).
There's a reason why people used to drop cookies off for the new neighbors. It's because people like cookies. They also like pie and banana bread.
Yes, I'm serious. Start with some herbs in outdoor pots. Go outside in hopes you might see a neighbor and have some interaction, even if it's small. Then share the fruit of your labor—whether flowers or basil or tomatoes with the neighbors. They will love it.
7. Give Welcome Goodies.
Everybody loves goodies. I stole this idea off a Martha Stewart Welcome Basket post years ago and simplified it, though it's nothing new or unique to her. It's the traditional housewarming blessing poem and you can find lots of versions of it. Use these free printables, keep some flour and sugar and salt on-hand and voila- you have the makings for a beautiful little welcome bag or basket.
8. Engage on Social Media.
If you haven't already checked, look and see if your neighborhood community is on any of the social media platforms (ie: Facebook, NextDoor, etc.). And hang in there if the group Initially seems a little prickly. After ten years of running our neighborhood Facebook page, we've learned that sometimes people just need a place to vent. Don't get swept up into the drama; choose to use it for what it is- a place to learn peoples' names, stay in the know, learn the details for the upcoming garage sale, and a way to know about upcoming social events, if there are any.
9. Share Something.
We already talked about sharing some of your basil plant or other herbs- what else could you share? Whether a blender, a ladder, some sugar, a holiday card, or a helping hand shoveling some snow during the winter, small acts of neighborly kindness remind us that we need each other.
10. Ask for Help.
Likewise, it's okay to receive help as well. It takes some humility and vulnerability to ask for help with something. Receiving is part of being human and shows that you have needs, too.
Now that you've taken the first step, take one more. Then take another. Pretty soon the neighbors won't just be strangers; they might just be the very support system around you that you never knew you needed.