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How to Befriend Your Neighbours In A New BTO Estate

How are you like with your neighbours? Personally, I used to have a cordial “hi and bye” relationship with the families living along my corridor. Sometimes I’d offer a smile and offer small talk while taking the elevator together, but nothing more. And after being neighbours for more than two decades, I didn’t even know their names - even though they lived in such close proximity and were pleasant enough. It’s such a shame, really.

After I moved into my new Build-to-Order (BTO) estate, however, I chose to step out of my comfort zone in an attempt to build genuine connections. If you’ve ever been lucky enough to foster a close relationship with your neighbours, you’ll know just how much of a difference it can make to your everyday life. After two years of living in my current neighbourhood, I now have neighbours that I hang out with on a regular basis. We help each other out whenever the need arises, safekeeping each other’s delivery parcels, help to babysit kids and even assist in warming up car engines while the other is away. If that isn’t #neighbourgoals, I don’t know what is.

With International Friendship Day  (July 30) on the horizon, there's no better time than now than to strike up a friendship with your neighbours. The best part? You don’t have to go out of your way to start building your network - here are some useful tips that worked for me.


1. Connect with them online

Don’t know where to start? An easy way to get to know your neighbours would be to join your estate’s Facebook Page or chat groups on messaging platforms like Whatsapp or Telegram. Even up-and-coming BTO projects will probably have them too, thanks to enthusiastic neighbours-to-be. And thanks to everyone’s contributions, you’ll be amazed at how much useful information there is to glean from the chats - they’re pretty much your daily bulletin board.


2. Befriend like-minded neighbours

Speaking of which, don’t just join the main group chats. In my estate, for example, there are groups for yoga, dog lovers and even group buys and bubble tea. Participating in group chats that align with your personal interests will help you meet like-minded people and brew new friendships. And sometimes, it can even save lives. For example, a dog owner in my neighbourhood spotted rat poison in a grass patch and promptly warned other paw-rents about it.


3. Let (fur)kids take the lead

Nothing brings a smile to others as quickly as adorable kids and pets. So if you have a young child or bubbly furkid, take them to the neighbourhood playground to have fun and make friends. You’re likely to meet other young families who are doing just the same, and it’s one of the easiest ways to break the ice as you make small talk while the kiddos run about. No children or furry friends at the moment? No problem - take a walk or even work out at the fitness corner and you’re bound to run into your neighbours too.


4. Reach out with food

Baking or cooking something delish? Make extra for your neighbours - they are bound to appreciate a kind gesture. Or if you’re thinking of opting for food delivery, jio your neighbours to see if they would like to hop on your order - not only will both of you save on delivery charges, it’s an opportunity to connect and find out what their food preferences are too. How’s that for a win-win situation?


5. Be considerate of others

It’s no secret that living in a high-rise building can come with its cons. And it isn’t just about extreme cases like having lit cigarette butts thrown from above and ruining laundry. Simple acts like dragging of furniture, blasting of loud music and even cooking dishes with pungent scents can affect neighbouring families more than we realise too. So just as we would like to have a pleasant environment to live in, it’s also good to be more aware of our own actions and make an effort not to disturb our neighbours-turned-friends if we can help it.

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