Smile. Wave. Keep walking. If that’s your normal routine when you see your neighbors, it’s time to break out of your shell. Getting to know your neighbors on a personal level has many benefits. It builds a community within your apartment building and opens doors—both literally and figuratively—to things like dinner parties, playdates, pet sitting and problem solving. Plus, the tighter your community, the safer it is. But in today’s fast-paced society, how can you get to know your neighbors better? Relationships start with simple questions and grow with resident events and impromptu gatherings.
Try These Conversation Starters
Your evening elevator ride doesn’t have to be filled with awkward silence. Resist the urge to check your phone for the millionth time and instead ask one of these quick questions next time your see one of your neighbors.
- Did you hear about the (wine tasting/outdoor concert/new restaurant opening) this weekend?
- I’m taking my (girlfriend/boyfriend/fiancé/spouse) out to dinner Friday night. Any recommendations?
- I need a Netflix binge tonight. Any recommendations?
- Did you watch the (local sports team) game last night?
These questions allow you to quickly and easily find common interests with your neighbors and can lead to longer conversations later. The timelier the topic, the easier it will be for others to answer.
People also love to talk about themselves, so don’t be afraid to ask more personal questions.
- How long have you lived here?
- Where did you grow up?
- What do you do for a living?
- Do you have any (pets/children)? How many?
Keep in mind that open-ended questions typically generate more engaging and enthusiastic answers than standard yes/no questions.
Utilize Common Areas
The Turquoise Table Movement started with a single woman in Austin, Texas. She painted an old picnic table and put it in her front yard. As her family started spending more time out there, they got to know their neighbors better and built a close-knit community. That single table started a nationwide movement to become more hospitable and connect with neighbors.
You don’t have to have a front yard or a turquoise table to start your own Turquoise Table Movement. Attend planned resident events or spend some of your free time in common areas in your apartment community—a picnic area, pool, or elsewhere. Whether you’re wrapping presents, working on a Pinterest project or playing a game, others will stop to chat and those that you’ve gotten to know a little bit from previous conversations may even join you.
Do you have any other advice for getting to know neighbors better? Share it in the comments below.