Making friends in a new neighborhood
Searching for clues to make friends?
We all need closeness to neighbors and yet need to keep our distance from them as well. How can we achieve both?
Having shifted homes quite often and for a variety of reasons such as marriage, change of job location, shortage of space in the existing home, increase in family size etc., it makes us really hard to realize that moving into a new neighborhood is not as easy as it seem to be. There are always apprehensions on how well we will integrate into the existing set up and whether we will remain comfortable for the duration of our stay in that locality.
Here are some suggestions on how to make yourself comfortable in a new environment, and how to make friends with your new neighbors.
You don't have to be in a hurry to get to know your neighbors. Give yourself and the others some time to get acclimatised. There is no need for lavish getting to know each other parties at the outset, identify your neighbors and their kids, their homes and their outlook in general. Let them get used to the idea of having you in their neighborhood. Give them some time to get used to the fact that the previous neighbor has left the locality.
SMILE.... it doesn't cost you anything, but it is a wonderful way of making people open up to you. A pleasant Hi, or Hello or Good Morning goes a long way too. A more effective way is to teach your children to exchange these pleasantries to the uncles, aunties and other kids in the neighborhood.
People respond better when a well mannered child greets them with a genuine smile. Children are a great way of opening conversations. Thus, not only does your child learn better manners and better interaction you make yourself visible in the neighborhood as the parent of " that sweet well behaved kid".
Smile at people that's not going to cost anything
Care don't fuss;
Care for your neighbors, but don't carry it too far. Remember to visit a neighbor who is unwell and inquire about his or her health. Don't treat the person like an invalid. Don't fuss about their health or go to extraordinary lengths unless it is absolutely necessary. Cheer them up and offer help sincerely.
Be visible, not notorious:
My next door neighbor, does exactly those things that will figure in the list of don't s in a neighborhood. The family drive their cars at breakneck speeds in the by lane which is our small neighborhood. They blare horns to announce their arrival as well as to scare the children playing in front of their homes.
Their two ferocious dogs that guard the cars parked outside their home bark their heads off, especially in the early hours when the milkman and tahe paper boy do their rounds, Our pleas to do something about them fall on their deaf ears. The result the family is ignored and cold shouldered. Even if they control their dogs, they will be unpopular as long as their attitude remains inconsiderate.
Remember the names of your neighbors
Name and facts:
It is important to identify your neighbors by their names and pertinent facts like profession, language etc., One's name is the sweetest sound to one's ears. Vague references like "The lady in No.6", or "Toms mother", "the man with the yellow car" etc may used in the initial stages but gradually we should learn peoples names and incorp0orate them into our conversations.
Usages of their names will endear you to people faster because you will be perceived as begin interested in them and not just curious.
Kids form an important part of any neighborhood. Being friendly and pleasant to the children helps you relax and helps your children to make friends with other children. But it is also important to lay down the ground rules - no broken windows, no ear-piercing screams and no violence.
Recognize special talents:
While getting to know your neighbors you will find that each person has something special. these special talents enrich us in several ways. We can try out the recipes, home management tips, crafts such as knitting, tailoring etc, suggested and taught by a neighbor.
Keeping in touch with your neighbors can also help find the best shopping deals, maids, plumbers, electricians, handymen etc.
Accept people for what they are:
We meet a spectrum of people with totally different personalities. You may not have a favorable impression of every single person you meet. We have to coexist with even cynical, obnoxious or downright unfriendly people. Peaceful co existence without giving up your individuality is the essence.
Stay in touch with old friends:
Do not forget your good friends and old neighbors in your effort to get to knwo your new neighborhood. Keep in touch with them by phone or through mail.
Friendship not exploitation:
Do not allow yourself to be exploited in the process of making new friends. Make sure that your overtures of friendship are not abused. An eager to please neighbor is running up phone bills because her new friends make calls from her home. Don't say "Yes" when you mean "No" the reverse is also important. Abusing your neighbor's facilities will only alienate you instead of bringing you closer.
Too close for comfort:
Do not use your neighbors to settle scores with your mother in law or with any other person in your family.This will backfire if your neighbors decide to switch loyalties.
Do not divulge your personal problems to new neighbors. Operate on a need to know basis. Be friendly, but refrain from getting too personal.Trust has to be earned. Do not get drawn into the gossip loop. You will end up destroying all the good work, you earlier did.
The bottom line is that a positive outlook, genuine interest and a pleasant not eager attitude will go a long way in making you and your neighbors happy that you chose this neighborhood to make your home.
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