Small City Saturday: Welcoming our Neighbors

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This summer, Husband and I have been somewhat concerned with how our neighbors feel about each other – most look with suspicion on everyone in the area, and since so many people work away from home, they don’t get a chance to figure out who all the regulars in our area are. We’ve tried to combat this in two ways – taking more walks in the neighborhood, and giving out bags of welcome gifts.

The welcome gifts in each bag cost less than 5 dollars – we made some cute home to-do lists, bought tiny citronella candles (for the buggy nights in our backyards), got a bottle of water and a packet of seeds, and added all the recent flyers of local events we could find. Whenever someone told us or we noticed that we had a new neighbor, we’d go over to their house and leave this simple gift on the doorstep, with a note tied on to explain who we were and that we were just glad they were in our neighborhood.

So far, we’ve gotten close to 15 of them distributed, because the neighborhood is large and dense and has a lot of houses selling or getting rented recently. Still, there is more we could do, and we’re going to do so – it seems like such a simple, inexpensive thing to remind people that the whole neighborhood isn’t out to get them: most likely the neighbors are just like them, busy and a little stressed but mostly good folks who want to be safe themselves and, in some cases, provide a safe home for children.

Do you have ways that you reach out to new neighbors to help them see that the neighborhood is a good and safe place? How do you deal with negative comments between neighbors and avoid letting it get to you?

6 Comments, RSS

  1. sebland September 23, 2017 @ 12:25 pm

    What a neat thing to do! I bought a tiny rose bush for my new neighbor. But by the time I caught her at home, it had died! We finally met last week and still laugh about the dead rose bush!

    • lauramleavitt September 23, 2017 @ 4:17 pm

      Awww, it can be so hard to connect at the same time in a busy season, but at least you all got a laugh out of it. 🙂

  2. chungwipff September 23, 2017 @ 2:14 pm

    What a wonderful gesture!

  3. teacherturnedmommyblog September 24, 2017 @ 8:51 pm

    I have found that being out and about and speaking to people as I’m out helps too. I’ve lived in some neighborhoods where everyone talks and gets along and others that no one talks at all, not that they don’t get along, but just that they aren’t around. Your gift is a very kind gesture that I’m sure people truly appreciate.

  4. Eileen Sim September 25, 2017 @ 11:41 pm

    That is very nice of you guys!!! We have moved into our new house for close to a year, and we don’t even know anyone in the neighborhood. I don’t know how to start.. so far, we have only waved to a few neighbors.

  5. shoes15 September 26, 2017 @ 5:32 pm

    My neighborhood – also in a small city – came together recently because of a spate of property crime. Instead of just complaining to police and elected officials, a group of neighbors decided to do outreach. They had some meetings, planned an old-fashioned block party and got about 100 people together. Since then, they organized a garden exchange, an email chain and Google group, and a block watch, and they got the city to install a stop sign at a bad intersection. It hasn’t been all smooth sailing but it has helped. I find that this kind of large-scale thing is more effective than 1:1 interactions with neighbors, after seeing many gifts go unthanked and called unreturned.

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