When we moved out to Atlanta we moved to this hip little neighborhood but knew none of our neighbors. Wait, I take that back. Our immediate next door neighbor was an older man who owned a popular bakery but we saw him maybe 6 times a year walking his dog. We lived there for almost 3 years but didn’t know the first name of anyone, other than bakery owner guy, within a 3 block radius.
The next 3 years in Atlanta we lived in suburbia and we knew EVERYONE not just on our block but also the block over and a good chunk of the neighborhood as a whole. How does this happen? I have narrowed it down to 4 things.
- having a dog
- having a kid
- block parties
- actually getting involved in the neighborhood
As soon as we moved to suburbia we went to the shelter and got our pup. Puppies are great for meeting people. You walk more. People are more likely to wave and say hi. I see now why single people may use them as pick-up props. Poop pick-up is a small price to pay.
About a year later we had our first baby. Play groups! Mom groups! More walking, more trips to the park! People show up bringing food and voluteering to hold the baby! I think all those exclamation points are justified.
Suburbia has block parties. What a great idea. It should be mandatory. Start one.
And the involvement! I joined a monthly “Thirsty Thursday” group and a monthly book club. Both awesome, both serving wine and gossip. I met some amazing people through these groups. It was also an example of how women can really be the core, or maybe the glue, or is it string? that brings people together. These two groups were girls only, and it was okay. I didn’t see any guys starting groups, they just hung out with each other now and then. Planned groups wouldn’t work with the guys. Unless it was maybe a football party or something. That would work.
Now here we are at my parents house and there are some new neighbors and some old ones from when I lived here 15 years ago. I don’t know anyone by name but now that I have a kid and a dog, everyone waves anyway.