We use the internet to connect with others all over the world, but what about people right in our own backyard? Technology tends to insulate us if we don’t take measures to counteract it, and we can become bad neighbours as a result. A few key tools can help you connect with the people you live by so you don’t miss out on important relationships.
Seek Out Hyper-Local Events
If you live in a populated area — especially a larger city — you probably have a few nearby attractions you can visit. I have a pinball arcade near me that opens in the dead of night, and I had no idea it existed for a year. You can meet a lot of cool people who live near you at these places, but you can’t do that if you don’t seek out nearby stuff. The easiest way? Break out your smartphone.
Load up Yelp or any other app that allows you to find things based on proximity and perform a search for anything within a couple of kilometres. Make an effort to check out local restaurants, stores and other attractions a couple of times a week. Whenever possible, interact with others. While you technically can engage in a conversation with another person at a restaurant, you should focus your efforts on places where people share space. Try coffee shops, arcades, bars and other community-friendly locations. If you can’t find much through Yelp, try MeetUp.
Start Analogue, Go Digital
Sometimes you need to meet neighbours the old-fashioned way before you can interact with them online. When someone new moves in, stop by and welcome them. We don’t do this as much as we should nowadays. It helps to know your neighbours even a little bit because you can then go to them with issues. Perhaps they block you in the parking lot often. That’s an easy issue to resolve if you both know each other and like each other.
If going door-to-door doesn’t help much, you can always advertise with your Wi-Fi network. Change it to something like “I’m new in Unit 104, Say Hi!” or create a guest network to do the same. People will see it and perhaps they will come to you. That said, it’s generally much easier to just go knock on someone’s door.
However you go about it, you should connect with your neighbourhood. The more connected we are to each other, the easier it is to solve problems and get help when needed. You might even make a few friends in the process. It takes very little effort, comes with some nice benefits, and thanks to the internet, you can get started online.