While building a sense of community in a city can be difficult, it has been shown to be a crucial component of people’s health and well-being. Apartment living, specifically, presents an array of challenges when it comes to building community on a grassroots level. Here are a few ways you can overcome those challenges and start to build connections within your own building, while continuing to listen at your door to make sure none of your neighbors are in the hallway before you leave your apartment.
Be a good neighbor.
Simple things like keeping communal spaces clean, keeping your noise at a respectful level, and thanking maintenance workers are great ways to build a sense of community within your apartment complex. They also distract from the fact that nobody has ever seen you leave your apartment. It’s community but, like, from a distance.
Create a Facebook group for your apartment complex.
Establishing an online group can help you establish connections with the other residents in your building, without having to actually see or communicate with them in person. It’s only human nature to want to peer through your door’s peephole and wait in utter silence for your elderly neighbor to slowly gather up her groceries and bring them into her apartment before you leave yours. Now, this habit of yours can also provide gossip fodder for the Facebook group. Nothing says “community” like shit-talking with Marianne in 2B about how Daniel in 2C definitely has a dog, even though your building has a strict “no pet” policy.
Get to know your neighbors (once).
Okay, you can’t really build community without ever meeting your neighbors face-to-face. While this is the thing you have been actively trying to avoid ever since you moved in, it’s better to just get it over with. Introduce yourself to the middle-aged couple that lives across the hall from you, and then get back to dedicating yourself to never, ever running into them again. You’ll know their names are Dave and Penny, and they’ll know that based on the shadow they can see from under your door that you’re standing there, hiding behind it, waiting for them to go inside.
So if you’re looking to develop a sense of community within your apartment building, but still rush to get inside your apartment when you hear somebody else leaving theirs, just follow these tips! You’ll create a bond with your neighbors in no time, while still avoiding any hallway chit-chat you’ve spent years trying to avoid.