How to Befriend Your Next-Door Neighbors (I Mean, If You Want To)

published Oct 23, 2016
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

When you move into a new apartment building or a new neighborhood, do you try to make friends with your neighbors, or do you just go about your business? Sometimes, it makes sense to keep to yourself, but if your neighbors seem like the kind of people you’d like to get to know, it might be worth it to put yourself out there a little bit. And don’t worry, befriending your neighbors doesn’t have to mean knocking on their door and awkwardly introducing yourself (even just the thought of that stresses me out!). Here are a few ways to get the new friendship ball rolling.

Compliment them when you see them

What better way to start a conversation with a stranger than to pay them a compliment? You know how great it feels when someone takes the time to notice you and say something nice, and it’s an easy way to start a conversation. A simple “Oh, I love your shoes!” or “That’s a great outfit!” when you pass them in the hallway can get you chatting. Another technique is to show interest in things they seem to like (perhaps you notice them carrying a guitar and you also play—ask them about it!). Both strategies will indicate that you have things in common—perfect grounds for chatting and hopefully eventually becoming friends.

Take advantage of mail mix-ups

You’re bound to get your neighbors’ mail at some point, especially if you’re in a big apartment building, so take advantage of it! If you find yourself with a letter for your next-door neighbor in your mailbox, use that as an excuse to knock on their door and pass it on—it’s a lot easier than introducing yourself for no reason, and a lot more thoughtful than just slipping it under their door (although if you do prefer to slip it under their door, you can take that time to leave them a note—but more on that later).

Let your dog do the talking

If you have a dog, there’s a good chance that at some point you’ll run into your neighbors while taking your favorite four-legged friend out for a walk. And if you don’t have a dog, but they do, same difference—you’re bound to run into each other during walk time eventually. If you’re like me and want to pet (with permission, of course) every pup you see, you know a friendly dog is the perfect icebreaker—so the next time you pass them at walk time, say hi and ask about their dog. And it’s simple: “Your dog is so cute, what’s their name?” is all it takes.

Leave a note on their door

When all else fails (or if the last few tips haven’t gotten you past small talk) you can take a little leap and leave your neighbors a note. This works especially well if you are throwing a party any time soon: Leave them a note letting them know you’re having people over and want to invite them. They might show up, or they might just knock on your door to say hi if they can’t make it. Speaking from experience, this is super effective—all it took was a post-it note inviting my current neighbors to my birthday party for my roommates and I to make a few new friends.

Just remember, if your neighbors don’t respond to your friendship attempts, don’t sweat it—they might just keep to themselves, and that’s okay too (and totally doesn’t reflect on you).

Have you successfully forged friendships with your neighbors? How did you do it?