Thursday, June 10, 2010

Being a Neighborly Neighbor

The view from our bungalow to the house across the street

Matt and I have only lived in our humble bungalow for two years. In that time, people have come and gone in the rental house across the street. We were really good friends with the first family that lived there. We went to their birthday parties, we talked on our porches, we cooked S'mores together.

And then they moved. We were heartbroken but not discouraged. We attempted to make friends with the new neighbors. They were young and interesting. We walked our dog with theirs. We invited them to our monthly potlucks.

And then they broke up. In an instant, the girlfriend was gone. She didn't even say goodbye to us. And then there were moving trucks and more moving trucks. And then the guy grew a really long beard and hair and started wearing glasses, so we had a hard time distinguishing him from his friends.

And then there was a "For Rent" sign again. And I almost gave up. I almost said, "I'm done with that house!" I'm an introvert, and it takes a lot of energy for me to meet new people, for me to extend myself over and over again.

But then the new neighbor pulled up with a truck full of stuff, including a couch. He was by himself. I knew there was no way he could get everything inside by himself. So I grabbed Matt and we headed over there. And you know what? He seems like a super-cool guy. And while we were in front of his house, our other neighbor, Linda, came out and I got to introduce her to her new neighbor. And then I got to chat with Linda about the end of her school year and what she was going to do this summer. And then I asked her if she wanted some eggs from our backyard chickens. She didn't even know we had chickens, so I invited her over to meet the chickens. I also gave her some of the tomatoes that our other neighbor had given us.

Yes, it's worth it. This process of putting ourselves out there with a smile, a helping hand. It builds connection and community, something we're all in need of.



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8 comments:

spiritandseed said...

Hey Sara! Great thoughts. I can't wait until we can sell our condo and move to a house with neighborhoods that are hopefully more our age and that we can befriend. Also...I don't think I realized you have chickens. That is my latest dream! Have you ever blogged about them? Would love to read about them if you have...-S-

spiritandseed said...

Oh shoot...usually I read you in my Google Reader feed but I just saw your "chickens" category and answered my own question. :)

Roxanne said...

This is why I love the heights, and hope to live there one day! Not that you can't make neighborly connections anywhere, but the heights seems very good about that.

redfrizzz said...

being a friendly neighbor is so important and wonderful. BRAVO for your brave act and strong heart. I've just moved into a new community, a new apartment, a new life, and I'm unsure about how to approach or 'announce' myself to my new neighbors. Should I drop cookies? What if someone has a gluten allergy? should I make cards with my numbers? should i just go door-to-door like my girl scout days?
be good neighbors, maybe you'll end up setting up your new one with a new love for his couch...;)

Chica de mente ocurrente said...

i want a neigbor like you...

Beth said...

I've been trying to decide if it's friendly or creepy to make cookies for my new neighbors in my condo. I don't talk to anyone who lives there and I'd like to be more friendly. But then I worry that maybe they just want to be left alone....

C├ęcy said...

I don't know anyone on my street. I always wanted to invite the neighbors for a house warming party but we didn't do it. And frankly the only neighbors I'd like to invite are the ones to our left who put the Beatles on loud when the idiots on the other side start putting Rap music full of rude words at full blast in their cars. I've been talking to my husband about putting an invitation in their mailbox (the beatles neighbors) when we have our backtyard party. I'm very bad at putting myself out to meet people too.

Sara E. Cotner said...

Cookies are awesome! Honestly, even if they don't eat them (because of gluten allergies, creep-factor, etc.), they will appreciate the thought. Seriously.

I also recommend hosting pot lucks. When Matt and I move to a new neighborhood, we make invitations and walk door-to-door trying to introduce ourselves and hand out the invitations. It's terrifying but so worth it. It doesn't work for everyone on our block, but we've definitely built some strong relationships that way.

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