Very Neighbourly Tips 2019: Loneliness – what neighbours can do to create connections
Start simply: say g’day when you see your neighbours – a smile and a wave can go a long way.
Spend more time on your verandah, balcony or front yard as a simple way to connect with nearby neighbours and those passing by.
Take in your neighbour’s garbage bin or maybe offer to mow your neighbour’s lawn or collect their mail when they’re away.
Drop one of our Connection Cards in a neighbour’s mailbox as a way to introduce yourself.
Take a walk – we could all use the exercise and you’re more likely to run into people outside where even a simple hello gets you started.
Organise a ‘cuppa by the kerb’ – invite a few neighbours to bring a cuppa and have a chat in the street together at a set time. It’s low effort and very simple to do.
Reach out to neighbours who you know are living alone, especially the elderly, knock on their door to introduce yourself, pop a note in their letterbox to let them know you are there if they ever need a hand, and then exchange numbers in case of an emergency.
Ask your neighbour if they’d like to accompany you to a local community event.
Start a neighbourhood walking group – it doesn’t have to be big, just a neighbour or two to start – and see what happens.
Share some home cooking or baking or garden produce with a neighbour as a friendly gesture.
Strike up a conversation with someone you see when you are out and about in your neighbourhood. Here are a few conversation starter ideas.
Take the initiative and plan a neighbourly event – have a barbie, a picnic, a dinner – anything goes when every day is Neighbour Day!
Join a local interest group, or volunteer. Here are some ideas.
Take it to the next level – smile and say g’day every time you see your neighbours – every day for a whole week. You may be pleasantly surprised.
Create a contact list with your neighbours’ names, phone numbers and birthdays and maybe even useful skills or resources (mower, ice-cream-maker, ladder) that you are happy to share.
Why not create a new group in your community that connects the generations – sewing, knitting, mechanics, repairs, painting, singing or music group, book club, scrabble or other board games and yoga are just some ideas. The list is endless!
Help organise events around holidays or special occasions and aim to include as many neighbours as possible.
Offer to help your neighbour with a small or large job around the house, or perhaps in the garden or garage, or offer to share your handyperson, IT or other skills, if you have them!
Stay connected, start a meaningful conversation. Be a good neighbour and a great listener. For more conversation tips visit ruok.org.au
Join or start a community or neighbourhood page on social media.
Invite a neighbour over for a casual lunch or dinner – and perhaps make it a regular thing. See how you go, you may find weekly, fortnightly or each month works well.
Start up a street library – for more info streetlibrary.org.au These can become hubs for social connection and conversation.
Drop off a meal if your neighbour has been unwell or is having a tough time.
Welcome new neighbours to your neighbourhood by ringing the doorbell, introducing yourself, and even offering to help with the move in if you are able.
Take over treats, for any reason (or no reason at all). Everyone loves treats.
Plan a potluck dinner or progressive dinner where everyone prepares a course, or take it one step further and check out our friends at The Welcome Dinner Project.
Introduce yourself to anyone that’s new to the area … a knock on the door and a warm welcome. If you can, perhaps take over a bunch of flowers, a pot plant, a box of chocolates – anything inexpensive and cheerful.
Share information with your neighbours – weather, storms, local development, good news.
Ask some questions – when it comes to best practices for how to meet your new neighbours, asking a question about the area can initiate more of a conversation and friendly rapport. Find more conversation tips here.
Get to know your local shopkeepers – they can be a wealth of knowledge on what’s happening in your area, the best restaurants, pubs, cafes and even other shops. It’s also nice to have a friendly face to talk to when you get your groceries.