When moving into a new neighborhood – or when someone new moves in next to you – what do you do? Perhaps you enjoy anonymity and prefer not to meet the neighbors. But I enjoy community and have dreams of actually making friends of my neighbors.
It is hard to know where to start. I’ve gone months of living in a new neighborhood without knowing the names of the people who pass by on the street.
I’ve come up with a good way to break the ice and start a conversation: Compliment them on their yard.
If the yard is bad, say something nice about their car … or boat … or mailbox. Whatever. If it’s something you can see, it’s something you can easily talk about. And who doesn’t enjoy a compliment?
If it truly is something nice, then it is probably something they care about – maybe something they are even passionate about. Most people will be glad to continue the conversation. Of course, it always helps to add a question after the compliment.
Your yard looks great! What kind of tree is that?
If you live in an apartment, the yard idea will not work. So be creative. Commenting on cute children or pets is a good entry point. Perhaps the neighbor is wearing a work uniform or unusual outfit or cool shoes. I really love getting to know people, but I also can be introverted, so I have to think about these things ahead of time.
Today I met my neighbor for the first time. I’ve lived in this house for two weeks, and today was the first time I saw her. She truly does have a nice yard. It’s certainly better than mine. She seemed glad for the excuse to talk, and we ended up chatting for ten minutes. Angela is charming and helpful. She already told me about a foundation repair company that gave her a deal. She said if we ever need anything, to just come ask her. We joked and had a truly pleasant conversation. All of that was thanks to my comment about her pretty yard. I put myself out there today, and I was rewarded.