Community Building Good Neighbor Stories Tips & How-Tos

5 ways to reduce loneliness in your neighborhood

Written by Sarah Friar

According to new research, knowing as few as 6 neighbors reduces loneliness.

Dear neighbors,

As we enter a new year, many of us are still spending lots of time at home. But that doesn’t mean we’re alone. We have our neighbors.

Nextdoor’s KIND Challenge — a scientific study conducted with leading experts — recently found that knowing as few as six neighbors has proven health benefits, like reducing the likelihood of feeling lonely and lowering depression and social anxiety.

We hope you’ll continue reaching out to your neighbors, particularly those who may be feeling lonely or socially isolated. Here are ways to use Nextdoor to connect with your neighbors: 

  1. Join a Group around a common interest; 
  2. Check in on a neighbor via direct messages
  3. Share a story about how you helped a neighbor—or how a neighbor helped you in the newsfeed;
  4. Visit the Cheer Map to organize a social distancing holiday walk with a neighbor; or
  5. Learn more about how to reduce loneliness in your neighborhood.

Each day we’re so inspired by the ways neighbors around the world are connecting through Nextdoor: In Sydney, Shannon found herself struggling with loneliness while going through IVF. Through Nextdoor she organized a ladies lunch and 15 women of all ages showed up to meet her. Ever since she’s had a group of women in her neighborhood to rely on who have been able to give her moral support during her journey with IVF. In Los Angeles, Isabelle posted on Nextdoor about her father, Giovanni, a chef who was coping with the loss of one of his daughters to cancer, divorce and a deep depression that left him out of work. Dozens of neighbors began ordering Giovanni’s homemade tiramisu, and Isabelle says her dad now has regular customers and, more importantly, hope.

Our neighborhoods aren’t just where we live, they’re essential to who we are. Together, we can make them even better. 

Sarah 

CEO of Nextdoor

35 Comments

  • Great article but for women. With men it’s different. I am a widower and I can be lonesome compared to how women reach out.

    • Hi Robert,

      Losing a spouse hurts like hell regardless of who, marital status, length of relationships and no matter your sex. Pain is the same with no preference toward age, race, religion, hierarchy, status, wealth, politics, you get the idea.

      Ultimately Pain is Pain, period.

      The results are devastating and in a way it’s ‘sink or swim’. Many drown. Dealing with the repercussion is what draws us, its survivors, together.

      We need a group weather on Nextdoor, a personal blog, hopefully in person, eventually.

      Thank you, Robert. You have just started a group here and given me the idea and meaning to my website. I cannot thank you enough. I and perhaps many more will benefit. Please contribute to our blog.

    • Are you a veteran? I would suggest connecting with a local American Legion. If not, subscribe to the Senior Messenger a once a month newspaper. They have local trips and lots of other info on gatherings and such.
      Check in to a local grange for ideas.
      Good luck

    • Hi Robert,
      I saw our post and thought I would reach out.
      I know many of us are feeling the effects for the past 10 or even longer months due to the pandemic. We are kicking 2020 out and onto what we all hope will be a much improve year in just a few days. I don’t know if this will help but I noticed many available groups posted on this nextdoor site. I’m sure men and woman alike are welcome to all or most of the groups. Some groups may not be too active, again due to the pandemic but reaching out by phone, text, a zoom call, whatsapp, and keeping up with the news including social media sites can help, but you are likely already familiar.
      You can start your own group on nextdoor as it was an option.
      Here is a link to available nextdoor.com groups, https://nextdoor.com/groups/?is=nav_menu

      If I can help answer questions for you, please do not hesitate to reach out. I hope you had a nice Christmas and have a Happy New Year Robert!

      • Hi Bev ..,
        i’m
        a senior lady (turned 71 in Jov) and i lived recently (still unpacking and moving trying to get my old house ready for renting) but i’ve been screwed out so much time abd money) it’s terrible, didn’t know life plus genso had …i’m
        also a relatively new widow … hubby passed in nov also and to make matters worse his birthday would have been in November also had he made it …I miss him terribly.., i have three Fur Babies (dogs)they are my life) everything rotates around these babies …
        I know my life will never be the same because my Hubby and i had a wonderful and very active life .., now i do very very very little ..,duh info grocery shopping, home depot’s , lowe’s, a drive thur restaurant..,that’s about it oh yea i hit my occasional doc appointments…not a very a very exciting life anymore fie sure ..:but if abt wait until the weather warms up because i love to work in my flower beds abd take care of my pool and yes i do mow my yard to keep my grandson from messing it up .., lo…he likes to drive my mower as if it’s a race car…
        I’d love to meet people, couples or singles thst just enjoy life sbd do things like far placing, sewing, walking dogs or by just walking, swimming, laying in the sun, reading, traveling, gambling , dinner, lunch, meeting abd having a drink, shopping, boating, walking along the beach, having a drink over looking the beach or on the beach …just going something with some body that also wants to enjoy life again…❤️Bonnie

    • When we are able to be out and about again, go to lunch at a Senior Center. Eating together takes care of some of the need for conversation. Senior Centers have a library where you can borrow books and return them when you are done. No due date. Most Senior Centers have exercise machines. Be encouraged, when the sun returns it is easier to be happy. Phone your single friends just to chat. Say you are calling to check up on them, to see if they are okay. Is there anything you can help them with?

    • I think it really depends on your neighborhood. If you are surrounded by couples it is very hard to make friends. Also harder in the winter when people are less likely to be out in their yards or walking.

    • Hi Robert: I couldn’t help but notice your comment. I am a widow and would venture a guess, I might know a thing or two about how you’re feeling. If you’re open to chatting, I would enjoy comparing notes on your day to day life after. I do know this…your loved one would probably want you to try to take baby steps towards friendships and happiness. Warmly, Lisa

    • Robert, many women don’t reach out because they are trying not to over burden friends and family. Loneliness is not identified by gender, as all humans experience it.
      It is something that has become a top symptom of depression. I read a lot and find that fiction gives me a rest from the stressors caused by the isolation required by our health or fear of exposure to Covid or flu. We are all going through a period of denial and shock, but we fight through the awful days hoping tomorrow is better..
      If your loneliness is to be conquered, it is essential you reach out to neighbors, acquaintances, a chat room formed around a subject you are interested in. Most of us live in gated communities on Next Door and can reach out to others that write clever or funny remarks on Next Door and then ask those people we want to meet in a private message if they would like to meet up for a masked walk. Reaching out can just be for friendship and companionship. Don’t hesitate. Just do it and try not to overthink or analyse it. Let me know how you’re doing. I hope it works for you.

    • Hi Robert I just wondered how you deal with your loneliness? You said it’s different for men than woman?

    • Well, Robert, I too am lonely for companionship. The holidays have always been rough for me but 2020 has been worse than the year my lawyer had my divorce papers delivered on Dec 24th. I tried dating sites but they just made me feel like I was meat in a market.

    • Hello Robert,
      I know what loneliness feels like. My first husband died of Stage 4 pancreatic cancer almost 17 years ago. A few years after his death I was introduced to a widower. We married two years after meeting but we were better as friends than spouses. We divorced five years ago. I quarantined for over four months in Spring of 2020. I have been in my home now for more than six weeks. I keep busy with zooms, reading news and books, cell phone games etc.

    • Hi Robert, I’ve been a widow for over 3 yrs & I’m still having difficulty dealing with lonliness which is even more acute now with social distancing. Funny but I’ve always thought it was easier for men ……..playing golf — lunch or breakfast with a group of men or even going out for lunch alone.
      Seems that women in retirement age do everything with their husbands & lose interest in doing lunch or whatever. I don’t know any other widows here.
      About a yr ago I put something on here suggesting we start a group for people like us but got little response. Maybe we should try again when we get past this Covid mess. ITill then maybe people would be interested in chatting on here??
      Dallee Hipps
      Greensprings West

    • Join our church there are lots of men who join together to maintain our church and garden and work with habitat for humanity building ramps. Williamston. United Methodist Church downtown Williamston. All are welcome

    • Hi Robert, my name is Nancy. I am a widow also. I lost my husband almost 6 years ago. If you have something you would like to share, I would like to hear about it. I do not get out much. As we go along getting to know one another, maybe others will share too .🙂

    • Hi, Robert. This really isn’t just for women. I’m a widow as well. I lost my best friend to Covid in November. I lost many friends when I lost my husband. I have one child that’s busy with work, etc. I’m trying to figure out ways to get connected to people in my similar situation.

    • Right you are!
      Perhaps men can share interests that do not at first appear to be social activities.
      () Automobiles
      () gardening — even indoors during winter
      () share nuances from walking — not driving
      () Senior centers sponsor card games …
      () photography

    • Not necessarily so. Where I live people seem to be neighbors simply because they live next to each other. I’m extremely shy so reaching out is very difficult. Male or female, if you’re shy, you’re going to be lonely…..

    • Robert, I am also recently widowed . My husband died in Oct. 2019 of Bladder Cancer. We where married for 48 years. He fought his cancer for 4 years, doing chemo, radiation, in and out of hospitals and treatment centers. I’ve been out of touch with people for all of those years. But in a way I think of it also as being prepared for COVID-19. I feel totally isolated at times and think if something should happen to me, no one would know. On the good side is that it’s really made me a stronger person. I’ve done things I never thought I could. If you would like to communicate with anyone that can relate to what you are going through. Please feel free to PM me.

  • Robert, men can start groups about fishing, tools, woodworking, cooking, etc., we must be creative during these times. Happy New Year!

  • Robert,

    I am a widow and I too can be lonesome. I have lived in the same neighborhood for 27 years and to this day, for whatever reason(s) don’t know, many neighbors. This is a mainly an older community – people wave if you walk or drive by. Another neighbor and I were good friends for several years, but bless her soul she passed away.

  • My husband and I are older. We’ve just lost our two little fur babies, Yorkies , this past year. They were 15yrs old, so you know how much we miss them! We are now looking for smaller babies, not puppies, to give a loving home. If anyone knows someone that fits our need please let me know. Thanks! We’re looking at shelters!😊

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