Moving to a new home is tough, but it gets even harder when the move includes relocating to a new city or neighborhood. Logistical considerations — like figuring out the best way to get to work — are stressful and time-consuming but only require a bit of trial-and-error. Finding your sense of place within a community is not as straightforward. While it can feel intimidating and overwhelming, meeting people is the most direct route for making a new community feel like your home. Here are five tips to help your new community feel like home, whether you’re moving across town or across the country.
1. Make the First Move
Sure, it can feel intimidating to approach a new next-door neighbor and introduce yourself, but they may be equally hesitant to disturb your family, particularly if you seem busy settling in. So take initiative and look for an opportunity when they don’t look rushed or preoccupied. A simple wave or hello can open the door without being intrusive.
2. Make Yourself Approachable
Likewise, create chances for others to welcome you. Sit on the front porch. Take leisurely walks. Or perhaps just avoid the usual mad dash to your car every morning and wearing a haggard expression upon returning from work. The same rule applies when you’re out and about in the community. Pick a bar seat over a corner table to enjoy a coffee or beer (there’s something about quasi-communal seating that encourages conversation). Take the kids to a playground or park, and don’t keep your face submerged in your iPhone. Make eye contact and, you know, smile and say hello.
3. Become a Local
Do as the locals do and frequent a local restaurant, farmer’s market, or shop. Got a dog? Even better. Dog parks practically beg (har har) to help you and your pet make new friends. Soon enough, a local destination will be one of those places where at least a few people know your name.
4. Get Involved
There’s no better way to meet like-minded people than by participating in activities that are meaningful to you. While it’s often easier to find sports leagues and extracurricular groups for school-age children than for adults, finding just the right fit may require some digging. Check with local schools and universities, park districts, recreation commissions, sports organizations and — perhaps the greatest reference of all — neighbors and fellow parents. Parents have additional outlets for meeting new folks, like volunteering at school activities, getting involved in carpools, or hosting playdates. Donating your time to community organizations is another great way to get to know the neighborhood and improve it, by cleaning up trash, helping other residents or clearing park trails, for example.
5. Use Your Existing Network
Take advantage of organized programs that can help you meet others in your new community. If you were active in a church or other place of worship, ask for a referral to a similar establishment. If a new home means a new job, many employers offer programs that connect newly-relocated workers with each other as well as savvy long-time residents.
With a little time, you’ll find “community” is wherever you make it.
Located in Savannah, GA, American Moving and Storage, agent for National Van Lines, provides professional packing, crating, moving, and storage services on a local, intrastate, interstate and international basis.
How can we help you? Contact us at (912) 401-0362 or email us here and let us help take the stress out of your move!