Oddly enough, the front porch is making a comeback. Folks still have the back patio for cook- outs and relaxing but newer houses are incorporating front porches that at least accommodate a couple of chairs. There’s a reason for that.
People want to feel connected . . .
Dixie witnessed the new phenomenon while spending a few years near her daughter’s Fort Worth suburban neighborhood. A number of young married families used their front entry garages with the garage doors open to sit in lawn chairs, have a cocktail, visit with neighbors and watch the young kids ride their bikes or skateboards. This invited personal contact with other neighbors returning home from work. Something similar to the front porch. It’s a great idea.
This has got me thinking about my own “connectedness.” How accessible am I, really, to my neighbors? Not very. Oh, I wave if we’re going to the mailbox at the same time, but out of the ten homes in our cul-de-sac, I only know a couple of people very well. I’d like to change that, but I don’t want to seem weird. So, I’ve been doing some research, and here are some of the good ideas I’ve found.
How to get connected . . .
- Be a friendly neighbor. Say hello to everyone and give them a grin. People forget how much a simple smile can mean. A smile shows that you’re interested in connecting.
- Use your dog. I’m not kidding. When I think about it, I know the names of the dogs who live in this cul-de-sac better than I do the people! Almost everyone likes to talk about their pooch.
- Be complimentary. There’s always something good to compliment. That cute dog we were just talking about? That beautiful vine on the front porch? That adorable baby? Even that pretty scarf. It’s hard to dislike someone who has nice things to say.
- Join a team or a group in the neighborhood. We play tennis, and soon we met everyone in the community with an interest in tennis. But it could also work with golf or bridge or painting or quilting or yoga or lots of other things. It’s easier to make friends with someone who shares your interests, so this is a great way to increase your accessibility.
And a few more . . .
5. Go to the same places and become a regular. If you like to go to the pool, go at about the same time of the day and sit in the same place. Soon you’ll become “a regular” and people will miss you if you’re not in your spot. This can also work at the coffee shop or the pub or the nail salon or any place else you go on a regular basis.
6. Consider starting a group. Do you love to run? Maybe there are neighbors who would like to run with you. I’ve almost always had a walking partner over the years, and I’ve made really good friends while walking and talking. Do you like to garden? Want to share cuttings? Do you love reading? How about a book club?
7. Be on the look-out for new people moving in and befriend them. They’ll be grateful, and you’ll have a new friend.
8. Never turn someone down. If someone invites you to do something, and you’re free, just go for it. You never know. It could turn into something great!
Here’s to feeling more connected! Let us know how it goes.