Do you live in a condo? How well do you know your neighbours? Socializing within your condo community can be difficult because – let’s face it – only a handful of people possess the natural ability to avoid all awkwardness in hallway eye contact encounters. It may be awkward at first but befriending your neighbours presents countless benefits and doesn’t always have to be an unpleasant experience.
Here are some ways to get to know your neighbours in a condo that won’t push you too far out of your comfort zone:
1) Use a little third party
If the thought of striking up a conversation with your neighbours makes you break into a sweat, you can use your dog to make the first move (if you’re lucky enough to own a dog). Dogs have fewer inhibitions when it comes to approaching other pups so next time your dog is playing with a neighbour’s pet while waiting for the elevator, instead of observing in silence, seize that opportunity to get to know your neighbour and strike up a conversation.
Like with pets, you can relieve your apprehension towards approaching new people by meeting them through your children. If your neighbours have children who are close in age with your own, inviting them to a play date can serve as an opportunity for you to establish a relationship.
2) Share, old-school style
For some, announcing that you are going to your neighbour’s house to borrow some flour indicates that you are travelling via time machine. Sharing supplies between neighbours can seem like a very antiquated concept in some neighbourhoods and unfortunately, that is very telling of our sense of community.
Nonetheless, sharing can be a convenient way to connect with your neighbours and borrow useful supplies when you’re in need, old-school as it may seem. And it is not limited to appliances; you can even share meals. When you are left with an abundance of leftovers that you know you won’t eat, delivering them to your neighbours is a thoughtful way to reduce waste and make friends.
3) Host a game night
A game night serves as an upbeat alternative to inviting neighbours over for dinner, which can be stressful and awkward. Instead, game nights allow you to get to know your neighbours in a relaxed and playful environment, where you don’t have to worry about talking points.
You can even ask guests to bring their own games and decide on one together. Choosing a game that is new to most of your guests is a good way to create a more exciting atmosphere and establish a more personal dynamic between you and your guests. This way you can have fun, learn something new, and enjoy the company of your neighbours.
4) Exercise to socialize
Exercise releases endorphins and puts you in a happier state, which can facilitate otherwise-uncomfortable social interactions. Thanks to the influx of endorphins, a running group or cycling club can be a great environment to spend time with your neighbours. An added plus is that there is less pressure to make small talk while you are biking uphill at a high resistance.
NOTE: Avoid making conversation in the gym – it isn’t always welcome.
5) Start a condo carpool
It is no secret that carpooling is an environmentally-friendly choice, and sharing a ride with your neighbours can also get you to work in good time by evading tedious morning gridlock in HOV lanes.
Carpooling can also encourage you to be more mindful of your time-management in the morning and cause you to perform your morning routine more efficiently, lest you be at fault for making your neighbours late for work. During the car ride, karaoke à la James Corden is totally optional.
6) Free food makes friends
Julia Child famously said that “people who love to eat are always the best people.” A condo potluck can broaden your social circle and expand your palate by connecting you to fellow foodies who live in your building. To take advantage of your building’s amenities, you can host the potluck in one of the condo’s common areas, whether it be in the party room or on the terrace.