Canadians don’t know their neighbours like they used to. We are less likely to know their names or socialize with them.
Urban living lends itself to anonymity as does condo living.
While children are generally more social than adults, this trend to anonymity is also evident with condo kids. Within the city it is hard for them to safely ride bicycles or scooters; play sports such as hockey, baseball or soccer; or just run throughout a neighbourhood. Parks and playgrounds only provide a partial solution.
Condo buildings, which are built without outdoor space for kids to play, make socialization even more difficult.
Find ways to increase socialization in your community.
Organize a Building Party or Potluck
Some neighborhoods have a street party once a year. This is a great way to meet neighbours and develop new friends.
This tradition translates well to a condo building. Get a few neighbours together to arrange a party using common space in the building. Ask residents to arrive with food or drink. Post notices in building elevators and on notice boards. Perhaps the condo corporation would even provide some funds from their budget. Arrange for a movie for children to watch in a separate space so that parents don’t worry about them.
Have a Yard or Garage Sale
Selling old stuff is a proven way to bring out neighbours.
Garage and yard sales are, by their very nature, local. They tend to attract people from the immediate vicinity. They are a great excuse for talking to neighbors in your and neighbouring buildings. Hold the event in a party room or, even better, in some outdoor space that is more visible and easier to access.
Post flyers in your and neighbouring buildings. Invite the police or fire departments to visit and ask if their vehicles can be explored by area children. Request donations to a cause supported by the local police or fire departments.
Coordinate a Running Group, Cycling Club or Exercise Group
Exercise is more fun when done as a group activity. It may be the easiest way to meet new people.
If you are a runner, organize a group of friends or neighbors to run as a group. The same can be done for cycling, weight training, speed walking, yoga, Pilates or any other physical activity. Physical exercise is a great way to stay in shape while making new friends.
Organize a Welcome Wagon
Welcome Wagon is an organized service for those new to the community. Organize a local Welcome Wagon for your condo building. Ask the condo corporation to contribute funds for a welcome basket for new residents. Alternatively, residents can create a welcome basket comprised of their own baked goods or prepared foods.
The Welcome Wagon can be expanded to include residents affected by a major event such as a birth, death or separation. Such courtesies are greatly appreciated by those who receive them.
Ask the condo board to provide a monthly list of new resident move-ins and other known events for proper planning.
Organize a Play Date
Families with children can organize a play date with others in the building with similarly aged children. Invite other families to your home, meet in a common area play room if one exists or meet at a local park.
Hold a Know Your Neighbourhood Meeting
Hold a monthly event where condo residents can meet to ask general questions, learn about what is going on in their community and share recent experiences. This is a great way to share restaurant dining experiences, movie reviews or other forms of entertainment. Go one step further by doing this over dinner. Have everyone bring something to share as a potluck event.