There are seventy or so people who live in my building (image below), but for the first three or four years I hardly knew a soul. Today I know more than half of them by first name, and that all happened within a matter of months.
Here’s my recipe to get to know your neighbors:
1. As painful as it is for some of us, you’re going to have to go out of your way to get to know at least three or four of them. This forms the ‘neighborhood core’.
2a. Plan an event like a happy hour in the most common area that everyone walks through. In our case, it was the lobby. Make sure the neighborhood core is there from the start. People attract people.
b. At the event, play music on a portable (I use my iBook) with decent speakers, something upbeat and energizing, like Marvin Gaye’s Got To Give It Up.
c. Get an event sponsor for free beer and wine. Save the leftovers for the next quarterly event.
3. Get everyone to sign up on a building listserv. You can create a free one here. Use this to ask people to bring stuff to the next event, sell or give away things, or ask for help.
4. Reap the benefits! Let’s see, since I’ve gotten to know my neighbors I’ve gotten a lot of free furniture and fix-it advice, along with numerous happy hours, social dinners, parties, snowball fights, movie nights, off-the-wall events and yes, a sense of community.