What do you do when lock yourself out of your apartment?
Most likely, you have to call a locksmith because you’ve lived somewhere for few years and still don’t know your neighbors. Imagine how much money you could save on lockouts and cups of sugar if you just knew one or two people in your neighborhood.
If you are not great at starting conversations on your own, let me be your guide. Once you’ve read my conversation guides feel free to mix and match the elements as you feel comfortable.
“You never know when you’ll be hit by a car.”
Reminding you neighbors about their mortality is key to building a relationship with them. If they are suffering from any major ailments they will immediately open up to you, spilling their fears forging a connection. You need to take this opportunity to share your general internet knowledge. If they have cancer, tell them about how it can be cured with coconut oil and bee pollen*. Maybe they’re having a rough time financially, I’m sure you read something on the internet that will help them.
If they don’t open up you this line has the advantage of sounding like a veiled threat, you will never have to talk to that particular neighbor again.
“I’ll give you $100 for your dog.”
Trying to purchase the beast your neighbor spends all of their free time walking shows that you too are capable of hard work. They’re probably going to balk at the idea but you’re talking. You can discuss the one time you dog sat for your coworker and how horribly wrong it went, if ever they do want to give up their dog, you will be the first person the call. If they try to keep walking insist on petting the dog one last time, if you are interested in the dog this is the perfect time to slip its collar off and run like hell.
If your neighbor doesn’t have a dog, use their car or lawn mower, it’s all basically then same.
“So, you’re not married and you have no friends? I know, I watch you.”
You are trying to build relationships so pointing out that they need you is a great way to get the ball rolling. They have to be as lonely as you are, drive the conversation with that commonality. Try following up with meals for one and which theaters that are good for going to the movies alone at. If they insist that they have family or get hostile about you watching them, just smile walk away. You will see them again later, through the window.
Once you’ve practiced on a few people all of the neighbors will know you. You will be the talk of the town.
*To be clear, plants make pollen.