At Nextdoor, we see time and again that the strongest and most vibrant neighborhoods are fueled by neighbors who are connected and engaged. However, strong neighborhoods are hard to build if you don’t know your neighbor. According to Pew Research, 28% of Americans don’t know any neighbors by name and 29% know only some neighbors by name.
So take a bit of time this new year to connect with your neighbors and help build a stronger neighborhood. It just might be more fun than you expected! Here are a few ideas to get started…
Idea #1: Random Acts of Kindness
It’s pretty amazing how even a small act of kindness can make a huge impact on others. Try bringing in a neighbor’s cans next garbage day, shoveling their driveway after the next snowfall, or sharing some of that bumper crop of heirloom tomatoes. Some unique stories that have inspired us include WWII vet Wally from El Dorado Hills, CA who wakes up early each morning to give out fists bumps and positive affirmations to kids on the way to school and Mary from Seattle who started a “thank you thread” on Nextdoor, kicking off an outpouring of gratitude and thanks from neighbors. More stories of random acts of neighborly kindness here.
Idea #2: Get Social, From Online to IRL
With social isolation and loneliness at an all-time high, getting to know your neighbors in real life might just be what the doctor ordered. Start by checking out Nextdoor Groups in your nearby neighborhoods for your next book club, running group, new moms community, or even dog lovers crew. These days, it’s more important than ever to find common ground and celebrate interests with the people who live closest to you. Learn more about how to get started with Nextdoor Groups.
Idea #3: Neighborhood Emergency Preparedness Plan
In the event of a severe flood, earthquake, wildfire, or natural disaster, neighbors are often each other’s first responders. In fact, studies from FEMA show that 46% of individuals rely on people in their neighborhood for assistance within the first 72 hours after a disaster. Use these emergency preparedness tips with the help of your neighbors.
Idea #4: Just Say Hi
The last idea is the simplest of all. Take a moment to chat with a neighbor who lives alone, introduce yourself to a neighbor you don’t know, or even simply wave to a neighbor passing by. The best friendships often start with a simple “hi, my name is…”
Ultimately, strong neighborhoods are built on trust – get to know neighbors you can rely on and in return let them rely on you. Got any other tips, ideas, or stories on getting to know your neighbors and building stronger communities? We’d love to hear in the comments below!