Sixteen months ago, I was invited to a Meet Your Neighbor event in Capitol Heights by a friend, Seth, and his wife, Megan. They live about four blocks away. It was on a Saturday morning from nine to ten, and it was a “bring your morning beverage.” I walked over and thought about how hard it is to meet your neighbor these days. For me, it is often about the mental effort. What will I say? Will I be accepted, reminding myself not to be too nosey or inserting myself in their situation?
Back in the day when air-conditioning wasn’t a norm and people lived on their front porches, everyone couldn’t help but know their neighbors and those passing by. Times have changed and we all live inside continually, and getting to know your neighbors takes initiative and time.
I thought the idea of a specific event was so great, and sure enough, when I arrived at Seth and Megan’s front porch, there were people with mugs in their hands, smiling, laughing, and conversing.
Having recently moved to 430 Polk Street, I thought about replicating this idea and hosting a Meet Your Neighbor Day, and we tried a few months later. The girls and I didn’t know many people, so we spread the word through the NextDoor App and distributed flyers on our street. It was still warm weather, so I made iced coffee and cinnamon rolls and bought donuts. We had two neighbors.
This time around we posted on the NextDoor App, handed out 150 invitations, made yard signs and started a couple of weeks early. I also put on the invite that there was no agenda, I wanted people to know this was just an opportunity to meet and get to know one another.
I don’t have a large porch so we moved the backyard patio furniture to the carport, bought delicious Shelley’s donuts (Federal Ave) and had a pot of coffee. It was coolish and the morning beautiful. We ended up with 16 plus neighbors.
I think we all mentioned how we needed to get together more often.
So, take the plunge, get out there and meet your neighbors. As one of my neighbors said, “The world would be a much better place if we took the time to get to know each other.”