If you ever saw the movie; The ‘Burbs, you may have an unfounded fear of meeting your new neighbors. You’re in luck! Most people live normal, everyday lives, just like you and me. Moving into your new home and getting to know your new neighbors should be exciting, not dreadful. In the past, meeting our new neighbors hasn’t always been one of my top priorities while we work to get settled. But it really should be.
What’s the first thing you do when you arrive at your new duty station, unpack, grocery shop, or explore the community? These are among a few of the first things we do when my family arrives at a new duty station. Meeting the neighbors doesn’t normally take place until we’ve gotten settled. Sometimes while we’re dragging insane amounts on boxes to the curb, the night before trash pick-up, I make that awkward eye contact with the next-door neighbor. Within about a month or so, you’ll know everyone in your area. Believe it or not, there’s a less awkward way to meet your new neighbors.
Meet the Neighbors
Tradition may state we should bring a pie to the neighbors’ house with your entire family, but a friendly hello will do just fine. You’d probably want to do this within the first few days of moving in, before hanging up your entire collection of family pictures, awards, and flat-screen TVs.
Get Out of the House
Attending a community event is an easy way to interact with people from your neighborhood. At Fort Carson, they had a Community Spring Clean-up and other neighborhood specific events. And if you live off the installation, you may be able to meet people through the homeowner’s association or the local school. All of these events are great opportunities to get to know the people who live nearby.
Start with the Military Community
Another way you can meet people in the military community is to go to the family services center. Just about every installation has one; they just call it different things. (You know, Army Community Service, Fleet & Family Services, Airmen and Family Readiness Center.) This should be your first stop once you get moved in. They have a lending closet, where you can borrow things like tables, coffee machines, and other basic household items for free until your things are delivered. You can also take free guided tours of the local town.
There are plenty of ways to integrate yourself and your family into your new duty station. Going to community events, signing up to volunteer, or just sitting outside your home on a beautiful day are all great ways you can meet new people. All it takes is a little bit of curiosity and tenacity to jump start your latest friendship within the military community.
Gearing up for a move? Check out these 10 Things to Replace Each Move.
Written exclusively for Military Crashpad by Marla Bautista.