Getting to know your neighbors is one thing, but living in an apartment adds another set of challenges with building neighbor relationships. We’ve been in a variety of living situations and want to share how we got to know our neighbors when living in an apartment.
Should you introduce yourself to your apartment neighbors?
Just because you live in an apartment doesn’t mean that you can’t have great relationships with your neighbors. Being friendly and initiating relationships with apartment neighbors is an excellent way to build community right where you live. It can provide safety and friendship. Don’t worry, though — you don’t have to be best buds with everyone in your apartment complex.
Our apartment experience
We’ve had a goal to get to know our neighbors in every place we’ve lived, which has ranged from a mid-sized city duplex to an apartment building to a dirt road.
When we moved to our apartment, we knew we might be in for a challenge. We were a young, newly(ish)-married couple living in a low-income apartment. Most of the other residents were about 50 years older than us, some had disabilities, and some were just plain old grumpy.
We tried a few different techniques to get to know our neighbors during that year in our apartment. The change was honestly incredible.
One of our neighbors (we’ll call her Susan) was SO shy when we first introduced ourselves, which came off as being extremely rude. We kept working on it, being friendly, and trying to get to know her. By the time we left a year later, we always received a big smile and an update on her life every time she saw us.
Many of our other neighbors were just lonely. We invited them to small gatherings, said hi whenever we saw them, and remembered their names. After a few months, they were dropping off token Christmas gifts, sharing their writing projects with us, and bringing us flowers on occasion. We didn’t get to know our neighbors so that they’d do things for us. It just goes to show how hungry many people are for friendship and love.
Now, we live just a town over, and we still run into many of our old apartment neighbors when we go into that small town for groceries or gas. They always say hi and want to catch up and see our kids. We’re so glad for the relationships that were formed and opportunities we had in that apartment year!
How can you get to know your neighbors in an apartment?
So, how do you get to know your neighbors in an apartment? A lot of the strategies we used there were definitely different than the ones we use here in the country, but some are the same! Here are some ideas.
Introduce yourself when you see them
It seems simple, but this is one of the best ways to start meeting your neighbors. While you don’t need to (and shouldn’t!) follow your neighbors up the stairs, see if you can find ways to go slightly out of your way to say hi.
Offer your help
Since you probably use the same parking lot and the same doors and staircases, apartments can make it easier to offer help to your neighbors. If you see them struggling to bring in groceries or wrangle kids, offer to help carry something or hold the door. This is a simple way to show kindness that takes no planning and hardly any of your time!
Bring them a small gift
Whether you’re just moving in, they’re just moving in, or you’ve both lived there for years, it’s never too late to get to know your neighbors. Take them cookies, a small plant, or a token gift from your favorite local store. Say hi, tell them your name, and maybe ask a simple question or two to get to know them a little better.
You could start with something simple like, “where are you from?” or “how long have you lived here?”
If neither of you is new to the complex and you feel awkward just stopping by, use a holiday to make it a little less weird. We actually tried reverse trick-or-treating and brought small gifts to our neighbors on Halloween. We don’t recognize Halloween anymore, but that year, it worked really well for getting to know some of our neighbors. That day, we actually made a friend that we soon had over for dinner and still keep up with now.
Spend time outside
It’s pretty much impossible to get to know your neighbors if you stay locked up in your apartment all the time! If your apartment has an outdoor gathering place, spend some time out there!
If there’s a playground, make it a point to take your kids to play regularly.
Go for walks on the nearby roads or sidewalks.
In our complex, we had a little gathering area with a grill and table where many of the residents would sometimes sit.
Tell them about the best spots around town
If new neighbors move in, a list of your favorite spots around town can be a great welcoming gift! It can also just be a good conversation starter. Write down some of your favorite spots and leave it with your new neighbor when you introduce yourself.
Plan a gathering
Just because it’s never been done before doesn’t mean that you can’t do it! If you live in a smaller complex, plan a gathering with your neighbors, or even just your building.
Our complex had the benefit of backing up to a park that had a couple of gazebos and grills. We made a sign for each doorway said something like this:
“Join us for a cookout!
Saturday, June 8th from 5-7pm.
We’ll have hot dogs, buns, and drinks. Bring a dish to pass if you’d like.
Contact Garrett and Marissa with any questions at xxx-xxxx.”
The turnout was (somewhat surprisingly) incredible. About half of our neighbors showed up, and almost all of them expressed how much they loved the opportunity to get to know each other better.
All it took from us was some cheap hot dogs, charcoal, a couple of basic yard games, and a bit of handwriting and tape on a piece of colored paper.
Open your door
No, you don’t have to live with your door open! But consider inviting your neighbors in at some point, whether it’s just one person at a time or a group.
This one can be tricky, because there is a level privacy that is healthy and can be more difficult to maintain in an apartment if you extend the initial invitation too far.
You don’t have to be best friends with all of your neighbors. You don’t even have to be friends with all of your neighbors (but you can still be friendly!).
We felt comfortable enough with our neighbors to host a cookie gathering one evening. We put signs on the doors (more signs! ha!) saying that our apartment would be open from 6-8pm on a certain night, and we would have cookies.
A few of our neighbors showed up, and we just chatted and got to know each other over a variety of delicious treats!
There were other neighbors that we invited over for dinner, but we didn’t do this for everyone. Still, if you have a neighbor that you think you could have a closer friendship with, they would probably love to be invited over to share a meal with you or your family!
Spend time around the complex
If your apartment has amenities such as a pool, gym, or playground, use them! This is a super easy way to say hi to your neighbors and maybe start a conversation.
Lastly, be respectful. Remember that you all live in close quarters. Be mindful of your noise level. Don’t take your neighbor’s parking spot. Be aware of apartment rules (and follow them!). It’s hard to get to know your neighbors if they all consider you the annoying person next door who’s always waking them up at 4am.
How to get to know your neighbors in an apartment
Getting to know your neighbors in an apartment can be tricky, but the effort is so worth it! Here are some of the best ways to grow your relationships with your neighbors.
- Introduce yourself when you see them
- Offer your help
- Bring them a small gift
- Spend time outside
- Tell them about the best spots around town
- Plan a gathering
- Open your door
- Spend time around the complex
- Be respectful
More ideas for how to get to know your neighbors
Want more ideas, or don’t live in an apartment? We also wrote about 10 tips for getting to know your neighbors wherever you live! In that post, you can find lots more ideas, along with some more benefits of getting to know your neighbors.
Want to remember these ideas? Pin this post below to keep them handy!
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