Creating Community Where You Already Are (Do you know your Neighbors?)


I know in many places in the country people feel very isolated. From suburban neighborhoods to apartments, neighbors just don’t talk to each other like they use to. There was a time when everyone on every street knew all the other people lived there. They were each others support networks and friends. Our increasingly more digital culture, with all of its benefits, has allowed us to remain isolated in our homes and reach out to friends and family through the power of social media rather than in person.

Are you interested in creating community as you age? The first place to start is right in your own neighborhood.

Face to face social interaction is not only good for building relationships it is also good for our mental health. Here are a few ways to get to know your neighbors.

  • Be a regular. If you need to go to the laundromat, for example, set a time and day each week to take care of that chore. You will begin to find others that have the same plan. Strike up conversations and find your common ground. When you patronize the same businesses you will begin to notice familiar faces. Familiarity is the first step toward comfort.
  • Be complimentary. If you see your neighbor outside, be sure to let them know something you like about their home, their pets, or their kids. These are easy conversation starters and it can launch you into other discussions about things you have in common.
  • Smile. Don’t forget to smile. If you go for a walk in your neighborhood, smile at the people you pass. Wave and say hi when you see someone sitting on their porch. The next time you walk by consider starting a conversation. A smile is the first and best icebreaker there is.
  • Join a group. There are probably dozens of social groups in your neighborhood. They can be organized by hobbies, shared interests, or journeys of self-discovery. If there isn’t a group that you would be interested in, start one. Here is a softball: start or join a group centered on building communities as you age.

The connections you make today could be lifelong friends tomorrow. These are the people who will be most interested in sharing community or becoming your long term support group through the years. Don’t let these opportunities pass you by.

Do you have ideas for connecting with your neighbors? Share them in the comments here or join the conversation on Facebook!


Image by via Flickr

Women For Living in Community