Relationship Tips

7 Ways To Welcome Your New Neighbors With a Great First Impression, According to an Etiquette Expert

Photo: Getty Images/MoMo Productions
Knocking on your new neighbor's door can feel intimidating: What if they don't accept the gift basket? What if you don't hit it off, and then it's awkward every time you cross paths while taking out the trash? While your hesitation is totally understandable, etiquette expert Pamela Eyring, the owner and president of The Protocol School of Washington, says getting acquainted with your neighbors is an essential act of human-to-human compassion.

"Being friendly feels good emotionally," Eyring tells Well+Good. "It builds collaboration and comes in handy when neighbors need each other or need assistance." For example, a good neighbor will let you know if your pet has broken loose from your yard, or taking your child home if they skin their knees riding their bikes.

The reverse is also true: Taking a moment to meet up with your neighbors will help them feel comfortable asking you for a hand if they need it in the future. Like, maybe they're going out of town in a month and need someone to keep their monstera plant alive. And, hey, it always feels good to do someone else a solid.

Before you bring a welcome gift over to your neighbor, Eyring has a few tips for making sure your introduction is kind, culturally sensitive, and the first step toward a fulfilling relationship with the folks next door. Here's your etiquette lesson.

How To Welcome New Neighbors

1. Keep it simple

Even the most simple gift can impress your neighbor. So if you're thinking that you need to be super original in what you give them, think again. "Traditionally, people show hospitality when welcoming through baked goods and flowers. Baked goods such as homemade chocolate chip cookies or a loaf of pumpkin bread are a nice gesture," says Eyring.

Just make sure to skip the nuts when you're baking them a nice dessert since over three million Americans have nut allergies, she says. The recipe below can be adapted to be nut, dairy, and gluten-free—so it's a total winner.

Try this easy-to-make pumpkin bread:

2. Take care with presentation

"Wrapping the treat in pretty cellophane with ribbons makes it even more desirable and shows more time investment. The time you spent can be perceived as a more authentic welcome," says Eyring. If you're not into cellophane, use the inside of a grocery bag instead for a cool, brown paper bag aesthetic.

3. Give something that betters their new home

Let's say your new neighbors have a beautiful back yard, but it could use a few more plants. "Potted flowers such a Dutch garden variety is another great gift. Your new neighbor can display it inside their home and then plant the bulbs outdoors for more blooms," says Eyring. Consider giving them something that will beautify their green space and grow with them.

4. Keep cultural sensitivity in mind

"Gifts that are culturally sensitive are a must," says Eyring. "Don’t bring a bottle of wine as a welcome gift to those who might not consume alcohol." Consider doing a little research beforehand so your gift is appropriate and kind. You want to start on a high note.

5. Welcome your new neighbors with local goodies

Finding a local gift for your new neighbor is a great way to introduce them to their new zip code. Offer them farm fresh eggs or buy a picture frame designed by a local artist. That way, they're getting to know the area in a unique way (and it gives you a great opener.)

6. If your new neighbors have kids, offer something for them, too

So your next door neighbors have kids? Pick them up a little something, too. "For kids, water toys or a tub of colorful chalk make for a fun and inexpensive surprise," says Eyring.

7. Stay in touch

Once the initial introduction has been made, make sure you're keeping the conversation going. "An easy way to make a new neighbor feel welcome is waving from your car or the sidewalk when you cross paths in the neighborhood," says Eyring. You can also drop off a list of some of your go-to dinner spots, or offer them your number in case of emergency.

Really, it's up to you how much energy you want to contribute to this relationship. Sometimes, saying hi will be enough; other times, you may want to establish a friendship with your neighbor. Whatever the case, your warm welcome is complete.

'Welcome To the Neighborhood!' Gifts

UrbanStems Flower Delivery

Send your new neighbors a bunch of flowers and a note for a simple “welcome to the neighborhood” gift.

CocoNut Float Jumbo Outdoor Sidewalk Chalk — $9.00

This colorful sidewalk chalk will keep the kids busy while your new neighbors are busy unpacking, and that’s a gift in and of itself.

Upcycled Oat Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix — $7.00

Whether they use this cookie mix the moment they move in, or once they’re all settled, it’s the perfect, easy dessert.

Philodendron Brasil — $28.00

Add a little green to your neighbor’s space with this beautiful, low-maintenance philodendron brasil.

LAFCO Champagne Penthouse Classic Reed Diffuser — $53.00

Make their new home smell amazing with this elegant diffusor fit to spruce up any room.

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