This is a question that puzzles me more and more each day. Last April, I declared war on the Seattle Freeze. I was really disturbed to hear over and over in various social circles that a lot of people who live here, and especially those who relocate to Seattle, struggle to make meaningful friendships.
Since my ‘declaration’ 6 months ago, I have simply set out to be intentional to find ways to get to know my surrounding neighbors more and to know more of them. The result so far?
I am having a ball!
Last weekend I organized my second neighborhood coffee klatch. As I started a new marketing contract that has me onsite Monday through Friday, for this klatch I decided to see if women in my neighborhood were available on a Saturday morning. Several were. Only one person (other than me) was able to come who had come to the first one, BUT four other women who live on my block were able to attend this one and it was JUST SO MUCH FUN.
It’s so interesting to hear about the many different adventures and interests of the people who live within walking distance of my house. A special vacation to Paris, one son graduating from Air Force training, another’s son watching the mail waiting for his first Air Force training orders to arrive, and another’s son who just got married and moved overseas to Luxembourg. They are moms, educators, scientists, corporate professionals. And they are my neighbors.
We live in an age of an over-celebritized culture, where everyday people are becoming famous just for being famous. An age where we’re more concerned about the plight of Kim Kardashian than the results of the last election. As Maria Shriver recently said in her blog:
“I’m worried that we are so immersed in what is ‘breaking the internet’ that we can’t see what is breaking us. There seems to be a lack of humanity, lack of connection, lack of concern, lack of interest.”
I agree. And I’m finding that the most fascinating people engaged in interesting endeavors live right outside my front door. And I’d be willing to wager the same is true for all of us. If we purposed to live more connected lives, being more interested in the people right around us, what would be the ripple effect in our communities?
So, I wonder, why don’t more Seattleites get to know their neighbors? Why don’t we get just a little more intentional about extending a few invitations? We’ve got so much to gain. Remember, getting to know our neighbors is a process. You don’t have to try and do it all at once. It’s an invitation, NOT an obligation.
You can do a coffee klatch every month or two months; it just takes developing an email list. You can do a block party or a Seahawk 12thMan Tailgate Party; it just takes watching the forecast and handing out some invites. You can welcome a new family by delivering cookies; it just takes an hour in your kitchen or a quick trip to Trader Joes. You can invite a neighbor or two over for dinner; it just takes a moment to pick up the phone or knock on the door.
It’s just so do-able. It’s just so much fun.
It’s just #neighboring.