Get to Know the Neighbors by Hosting a Block Party This Summer

Get to Know the Neighbors by Hosting a Block Party This Summer

If you’ve just moved to a new neighborhood, it can feel a bit intimidating to be the “new guy.” On top of this, moving is such an emotional experience as you start afresh. There are so many unknowns about your new home, especially when you don't know who your neighbors are. However, if you decide to break the ice, a lot of this social anxiety can go away. You don't have to do anything fancy either. It can be as simple as going up to their doorstep in introducing yourself...or you can take your introduction to the next level and invite them to a block party.

There are many advantages to creating a group setting to meet everyone at once. It takes the pressure off of one-on-one introductions and creates a fun group dynamic that helps people open up to you. So, whether you want to put on one of your favorite fit and flare dresses and add a barbecue or invite your neighbors to your new pool, there are so many ways to get to know your neighbors in the block party format.

Step 1: Send the Invites

A good block party has a casual mood with no pressure involved. Don't put too much pressure on the event and keep your invitation light and fun. You can give a verbal invitation or you can quickly print out the date and time and put party invites in your neighbors’ mailboxes. You may also choose to hand the invites to them face-to-face. No matter how you decide to set the date and time, it's important to get the information out at least a week or two in advance. Many people make summer plans early, so don't feel offended if somebody already has a camping trip or vacation in store.

If somebody can't make it to your party, check on them later and see if they want to come over for some coffee or a drink on your front porch sometime. Having some outdoor furniture, like rocking chairs, on your property will make the invite more enticing. However, don't be too forward with follow-ups and let people come to you at their own comfort level. Everybody has their own way of warming up to their neighbors and their preferred boundaries. These invitations are a good way to test the waters to see who is interested in getting to know you better. When you do know who is coming, then you can set up the event.

Step 2: Plan the Food and Seating

When you organize a block party, it can become a collective or solo event. Plan to go it alone at first. Make your front yard the center stage so you can be easily seen. Whether you want to order catering or fire up the grill with some hotdogs and hamburgers over the fire, plan on feeding a large number of people. Block parties can generate an unpredictable guest list because you don't know how many people live in each house. You may also attract other neighbors coming from different streets who are passing by. Therefore, it's never a bad idea to overbuy food. Basically, if you think you have enough hot dogs, you probably don't—your neighbors’ teens will make sure of it!

If other neighbors decide to get involved, they can also pitch in with food and drinks. You will see other neighbors start their own grilling creations and set out chairs and tables. For this kind of party, the more seating the better. Avoid having people sitting on curbs to finish their pulled pork and coleslaw so you can enhance their experience. Extra seating doesn’t have to break the bank either. If you go to a discount store, foldable canvas chairs are easily affordable. They don’t take up much storage space and provide valuable seating for people who want to stay awhile a get to know you better.

Step 3: Set the Stage

When it’s time for the party, people may come to your door to see how they can help. Make your entryway inviting by setting up welcome signs and perhaps even a couple of personalized doormats that invite them to make themselves at home. You don’t need to dress up, but making yourself tidy and presentable will help others comfortably approach you. This can be something cozy and pretty like maxi dresses for women or men’s polo tops with some golf shorts to beat the heat.

Hosting a block party is a simple way to get to know your neighbors and connect in a casual setting. What do you like to try for throwing a block party this summer?

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