Last night we had our neighbors over for dinner and ended up also teaching them how to play “Golf”, a card game. They caught on very quickly and we had a good conversation that was more than surface level. This will mark our 3rd set of neighbors over for dinner and talking or games and we are so excited that we are getting to know them all more.
At first when Paul and I moved here, we were a little hesitant at where to start with making friends with those who live around us. We’re both introverts, and even though we made it a point to be outside and be visible, either doing yard work or swinging on our front porch while eating lunch or reading, we were still noticing that our neighbors usually got home, drove in their driveways and then closed the garage door when they got inside their house. Most of the time we didn’t see them for the rest of the evening.
At a month after moving in, we decided to introduce ourselves to all our immediate neighbors since we still had not met any of them. So, I spent one morning making a bunch of mini-loaves of zucchini bread and then we went from house to house to give them our small gift and introduce ourselves. Only one set of neighbors invited us in to talk more with us, but the rest all had surface conversation with us outside when we did this. Since then, and probably since the weather has become nicer, we’ve seen many of our neighbors outside and wave or have small conversations about whatever they’re doing. We were slowly becoming more visible to them and we’ve seen them make efforts in acknowledging us.
As we got more settled into our house and more comfortable with it, we decided to start inviting them over one family at a time. So, we took the plunge and asked the first family over for dinner. They readily agreed, and the following week when they came over we talked for about 3 hours over dinner and dessert. The next week I went and invited another set of neighbors over, and they also were excited to agree. These neighbors are the ones who live directly across the street from us, and the ones that we have the most contact with while outside. Again, they came over for dinner and we all talked for a long while getting to know each other. Then I set up a third dinner with the neighbors to the south of of us. They have very busy schedules so we actually had to schedule it for a couple weeks out on the holiday (when everyone had off work or school). These neighbors are the most talkative, which is good for Paul and I, but sometimes all 3 of them were talking at the same time and we didn’t know who to follow in conversation. These neighbors were also the only ones who invited us into their home when we gave them the zucchini bread introduction and talked with us for a couple hours that night too. But since they aren’t home very often due to their busy schedules, we don’t actually see them a whole lot.
Since we started to initiate these get-togethers we’ve also been invited by our neighbors to hang out at times too, as you have probably already read about. And we’re hoping that even if some of them are a little slower at inviting us over, we’ll continue to have them over with us on a routine basis.
Overall, we’re very happy at the progress we see in building relationships with those who live around us! Since Paul and I are both introverts, it sometimes takes a lot of effort on our part to actually go do the inviting, or to get ready for a family to come over. But we are being very intentional and proactive in putting forth the energy and effort because we really want to see good relationships in this community, and we want to display Jesus to our neighbors. We are excited by the relationships that are starting to form and hope that they only get stronger and much more deep as time goes on. We’ll be here for a good long while, so we plan on investing in these relationships continuously.