How To Make Friends With Your Neighbors?

Multi-unit properties with multiple owners are known as strata or strata living. Strata owners are jointly responsible for the management and upkeep of their buildings.

How To Make Friends With Your Neighbors?

Tenant-owners come from all walks of life and different backgrounds, so working together as a cohesive group with a shared interest can sometimes be difficult.

As 2020 has progressed, fewer employees are commuting to offices, and most are spending long days working from home with irregular trips to the market or dog park. Neighbors are seeing each other more often and sometimes for the first time.

Despite the community living and joint ownership of strata living, unfamiliarity with those living just feet away is common. Not everyone is friendly or open to meeting new people. These tips will help develop relationships so all can reap the benefits of friendship when working toward common goals for the community.

Making new friends

Most people living in the same strata are quick to share a smile and greeting. It’s easy to start new relationships with a simple 'hello,' and though this is a good practice from day one, it’s never too late to start. Being a friendly person naturally warms and attracts other people.

When meeting a neighbor, take a moment for a compliment. Offering a positive reflection creates a foundation for a new relationship. If they are walking their dog, of course, this presents the ideal opening for a compliment on their furry family member; sure to melt the heart of any furry kid’s parent.

Random acts of kindness are the start of many blossoming friendships. With so many people stuck at home, offer to pick up a few groceries for your elderly neighbor when visiting the market or offer to walk someone’s pet if they are unable.

Share phone numbers and offer to assist in cases of emergency or share a beverage as a break to the daily monotony. Don’t hesitate to make plans with the new acquaintance if it is someone with whom a real friendship could develop.

Not everyone will be open to overtures; it’s normal for some to prefer to keep to themselves or be intimidated by chatting with a stranger.

Breaking the ice

Introverts and extroverts are a rough categorization of humans. Though one is never entirely an introvert or entirely an extrovert, in Susan Cain’s book, 'Quiet: The Power of Introverts', she describes the difference between introverts and extroverts.

Introverts are people who recharge their batteries in solitude—perhaps a warm bath and a book—and extroverts are people who recharge their batteries with socialization such as a party or gathering at the pub.

Introversion and shyness are not the same. Still, both personality types have similar traits that can be a barrier to starting a new relationship. A shy person fears social disapproval and humiliation, while an introvert prefers less-stimulating environments.

In both cases, social greetings may not come easy. Extroverts tend to be put off by this because they cannot understand why someone isn’t outgoing and perceive their reticence as rude.

How does one befriend a person ill at ease with a greeting? Here are some tips:

1. Rather than approach an introvert in person or phone them, try email, chat, a Facebook message, or other online approaches. Most introverts are expert online users because it allows them to construct thoughtful responses.

2. Once you connect, develop a conversation over a shared interest such as the strata’s common area or friends you may share. Ask questions and share your perspectives.

3. Invite your new friend for a one-on-one coffee or board game at your home. If the person has a social media page, check it for clues about his or her interests and find one you share.

4. Understand that silence—or lack of greeting—is not a reflection on you. Being friends with an extrovert means, you will have lots of silence in your conversations because they are often more thoughtful before offering an opinion.

5. Give them space. Those closest to introverts understand their friends’ need for alone time and keep their distance without taking it personally.

Final thoughts

For those to whom meeting a stranger comes easily—extroverts—trying to befriend a shy or introverted person can be a challenge. It can also be worth the effort, especially when as a group, they comprise residents that are making decisions about the strata.

Befriending neighbors creates bonds and people are much more willing to make compromises for others they know and like than they are for those with whom they feel no connection.

Luke Fitzpatrick
Luke Fitzpatrick
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Luke Fitzpatrick

Luke Fitzpatrick has been published in Forbes, The Next Web, and Influencive. He is a guest lecturer at the University of Sydney, lecturing in Cross-Cultural Management and the Pre-MBA Program. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

See all posts by Luke Fitzpatrick