Moving to a new town poses all sorts of challenges, from learning the best commuter routes to finding the right school for the kids. For some, one of the biggest challenges is making the acquaintance of new neighbors. If you're younger and this is your first move, then this task may prove especially daunting. However, just because you've had to change your address doesn't mean you have to struggle in your attempt to meet new people: befriending neighbors can be fun and easy.
The key to meeting new neighbors - and making new friends - is usually to find some common interests. There are a number of interests you can explore with others, but perhaps the most universal commonality between people is food. Take advantage of everyone's need to eat with these post-moving tips that promote some good old-fashioned culinary bonding:
The classic approach to meeting new neighbors is bringing food to their doorstep. Usually, this food is some form of baked good, though you could also bring another dish or treat, such as lasagna or a basket of fruit. Personal family recipes are all the better, as they make for good conversation starters. If you're not much of a baker or cook, though, don't be afraid to bring something store-bought: food is food, after all.
It's generally a good idea to steer clear of nuts or any other common allergen. A bottle of wine is a common house-warming gift, but be aware that you may be stumbling into a faux pas, as some people may not consume alcohol. When you have your chosen your item, make sure you bring it to a neighbor's house at a reasonable hour, such as after work or, better yet, on the weekend.
Instead of going to them, invite your neighbors over for an evening meal. Relaxed conversation over a cooked meal is a great way to get to know others and make them feel at home. Should you decide to cook something, remember to keep within your own skill set. If you are an excellent cook, feel free to do a difficult recipe. However, if you are anything less than an expert, avoid any elaborate meals. Apart from the possibility of a botched dinner that will leave guests hungry, an involved recipe could keep you in the kitchen too long and spoil the intention of trying to get to know your neighbors better. Additionally, the added stress could make you less prone to enjoy your guests and potentially send the wrong impression. The more casual the meal, the better.
If you aren't much of a cook, or don't want to deal with the hassle of preparing a meal under pressure, you can always host a pot luck. This is a fun alternative that can incorporate more neighbors and invites them to participate actively in the event. The different foods can serve as conversation starters and best of all, you only have to focus on hosting duties. Pot lucks are also a good option if there are children in the neighborhood, who may be less inclined to enjoy a dinner party. This way, different generations can better mingle in a more casual atmosphere. If the weather's nice, you can even host outside.
You can also forego the meal altogether and have neighbors over for a casual cocktail. These kinds of parties are best for meeting a large group of adults. However, you can make it an event for all ages in the fall and winter with holiday-themed drinks. Stir up a batch of mulled wine for adults and serve hot cider and cocoa for any abstainers and children.