Create Your Own Village

Jan Moyer


Are you connected? Really connected? Not just online (because that’s valuable, too), but are you “I-know-your-name-not-just-your-handle” kind of connected?

In a culture where we focus inward and online, we need to shift our view of relationships and start building friendships and community with those in our neighborhoods.

A generation ago, the families next door and down the street were our go-to for support and friendship. Now we don’t even know the people on the other side of the fence. A polite wave as we pull our cars into the garage and then we carry on in our bubble – that’s the reality.

It doesn’t have to be that way. We are meant to be neighbors more than by mere proximity. We need to invest in the people in our community. We are better when we share life with those around us, not just the people we meet at school, work, or at the gym.

It is not easy. It means taking chances and stepping out of your comfort zone. It can be challenging depending on the type of housing you live in or the type of neighborhood you reside in. But I can promise you this: it is worth it. And it easier than you might think.

Put yourself out there. Start with smiling or saying “hi” as you pass a neighbor on the street/ in the parking lot/ down the hall. Once you have achieved what I like to call “Familiar Stranger Status,” you can move on to casual chit-chat. If you pick up a generally positive vibe, you can move on to slightly deeper banter.

Introduce yourself, ask a few questions. It’s usually safe to ask someone how long she has lived in the area, and you often get more information with the deal. It might end there, and you can carry on being friendly, but not friends. And that’s okay. But it can also develop into so much more.

Simply introducing myself over the past few years has led to numerous connections and friendships. The risk of approaching someone new has created an amazing network in our neighborhood. We have evolved into a true community.

Being part of this community means I have people who pass along hand-me-down clothes for my kids. We watch each other’s children if our meeting runs late.

Community is waking up to find your driveway and sidewalk snow plowed yet again by a kind neighbor who knows you have a busy morning. It is having people rush over to help when they see you moving furniture. They are the neighbors who invite your child to play soccer because you’ve had a rough night and could use a bit of a break.

Not every interaction is going to result in a deep friendship. But you’ll never regret trying. It’s never the wrong thing to introduce yourself, take a leap, and see where it goes.

All because you took a chance and said, “Hi, we haven’t met yet…”


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Building friendships and community with those in our neighborhoods will help us create our own villages where we live.

 This post was written by Jan Moyer exclusively for BonBon Break Media, LLC.

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Jan Moyer is a kindergarten teacher returning to work after a year at home with her youngest son. She burns most of her calories piling unclaimed treasures on the staircase. Married to a formerly bearded husband, together they raise their four boys while she pretends to understand Clash of Clans. She is proficient at eating M&Ms in secret. You can find more of her writing on her blog. She has also written for What The Flicka and Moms Magazine.