How to meet your neighbours. Nine ideas.

Idea 1 – If you have spare time, walk back and forth between your outdoor garage and your front door. I have met nearly all of the other six tenants in our building this way.  I meet them when I’m carrying in groceries, or forgot something in the car or am taking out the recycling. Or random trips when you hear someone outside. That’s not creepy right?

Idea 2 – Ask everyone you see in the building if they’re new here.  If they are, welcome them emphatically and offer to let them use your wifi until theirs is up and running and invite them to borrow a cup of sugar. If they are not new, let them know that you just moved in so you can’t tell the new people from the longterm residents and wait for them to offer their wifi or a cup of sugar.

[Sidenote about Idea 2 – Do not ask this question of the same resident more than once. Not so hypothetical example: A bearded stranger moved into the unit above us and I introduced myself to him as he was pushing his sparkly Harley into the garage. We chit-chatted. He seemed nice. I offered the usual, wifi and sugar. Then the next day I saw a new guy walking through the front door and started the usual conversation. (Side-sidenote: It seems that men periodically shave their beards and look NOTHING LIKE THEY USED TO LOOK). He laughed and said I’d already offered sugar and wifi and wondered aloud if that was code for drugs, which it was not].

Idea 3 – Once you’ve met the neighbours a couple times and exchanged pleasantries (i.e. sussed out whether or not they have any creepy habits like torturing cats, throwing recyclables in the garbage or hosting noisy orgies) invite them over for dinner and cards. Or invite them to walk down the street to the burrito bar with you for a $2 burrito. Or invite them to do something else I guess. If YOU are the creepers who do the creepy things, don’t invite anyone to do anything. Ever.

Idea 4 – Knock on their door and explain that you have a Costco membership and you’d be happy to pick something up for them or go with them sometime. And since you’re already talking Costco, explain that the other day you bought a bag a hot dog buns from Costco, but that it turns out you apartment sized freezer doesn’t have space for 36 hotdog buns and you know – the other stuff that belongs in the freezer and would they like some hotdog buns. Boom! New friends! [Sidenote – I may have mentioned this before, but Aussies eat hotdogs on a slice of white bread rather than a hot dog bun. Note to Marilee: look up to see if the word unconscionable applies here].

Idea 5 – Strike up conversations with strangers on the beach. That has worked once for us.

Idea 6 – Make your friends back home scour their networks for Aussie friends and put you in touch. Then invite yourself over to your best friend’s distant uncle’s place for dinner and a boat ride.

Idea 7 – Meet nice people through work and school. This has worked for Dan – since lots of his classmates are young people around his age and stage in life. Not so much for me, since Michael Scott has proven you can’t be friends with your subordinates (in my case, my students). Though there are a couple people in my class that would be great friends. Maybe when they’re done school. (I can hear Ron Burgundy desperately asking “Will you let me be your friend?? Will you???).

Idea 8 – Decide that friends are too hard, and watch TV instead sometimes.

Idea 9 – Say “Yes” to everything. Thanks for that one. Even if your invites are limited to watching rugby, repairing fishing nets, or spraying for cockroaches.



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