Ask for and offer help; being thoughtful brings people together.
Whether on the bus of a morning, in line for a coffee; always offer a smile or ask how someone’s day is going.
Utilise modern technology to keep up with your family and friends. If you’re always forgetting to call your mum, schedule some time each week where you call her, add a reminder on your phone so you don’t forget.
Ask questions and advice of your neighbours, maybe they know a good local babysitter, the best local dog park or the right technique for growing happy plants.
Try to be an active and encouraging listener and if you can, ask open-ended questions to prevent a conversation from stalling.
Learn strategies to wrap up a conversation politely such as “Don’t let me keep you any longer” this can leave both parties with a positive experience.
When you meet someone new, write down their name in the notes on your phone as a backup just in case you forget.
People always appreciate good listeners, use open body language when talking to someone, understand that crossed arms, being turned away, looking at the ground, raised eyebrows, pursed lips, fidgeting, or being distracted may signal that you’re not paying your full attention to them.
It’s impossible to plan out an entire conversation, having some points to fall back on may help (weather, news, sports, garden, pets, and family). These might make for less stressful conversation.
Be kind to service people, very rarely is a mishap their fault and you might just make their day!
A compliment can lead to conversation “Your garden is amazing, I would love a garden like yours. How do I do it?”
Try using social media (e.g. Facebook, Instagram or Meetup) to join a community group to meet people near you.
Have some tried and true signature opening lines ready to break the ice. For example, “I’m planning a holiday soon, do you have any suggestions of where I should go?”
Smile! Smiling is scientifically proven to boost mood by releasing dopamine and serotonin.
Ask people about their interests when you meet them and follow up on these next time you speak, this makes people feel valued.
Invite your neighbours to join in on a game or activity. Think of something inclusive such as charades or Pictionary, or perhaps some old school picnic games (e.g. ring toss, three-legged race, I-spy etc.)
Spend time in communal areas, shared or mixed-use spaces where you’re more likely to catch up with people. You can’t make social connections spending all your time inside!
Stay involved in what’s happening in your neighbourhood, complex, town. Neighbours can unite behind neighbourhood causes and it also makes for useful conversation topics!
Take the initiative to introduce yourself to new neighbours and to make them feel especially welcome. Help them out by introducing them to your other neighbours.
Stay connected, start a meaningful conversation. Be a good neighbour and a great listener. For more conversation tips visit ruok.org.au
Schedule time in your calendar for checking in with family, friends and neighbours at least once a week. Try and stick to this commitment, as you would with anything else.
Have your children make a hello card and deliver it to new neighbours or when you move into a new neighbourhood. If you don’t have children, why not be crafty and make the card yourself!
Take the time to learn about your neighbour’s interests or cultures. Your genuine interest might help create connections.
The gift of flowers, or a cutting from a plant, or extra produce from your garden, are low-cost ways to start a friendly conversation with your neighbour.
Try having some sort of neighbourhood novelty – maybe a garden gnome that travels around the neighbourhood front yards – and that helps people connect without being too much effort,
Make a community New Year’s resolution or start a community project.
Volunteering is a great way to meet people. If you possess a skill, see how you could utilise it in your local community. Here are a few ideas.
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.
Seek out a community group that suits your interests – a Men’s shed, a knitting or sewing group, a running or riding club – or start your own!
Invite your neighbour for a walk and get them to share what they like about your neighbourhood.