If you’re moving to the country from an urban or suburban area, you may be a bit nervous about meeting the new neighbors. Will they like you in your new town, or will you be mocked for your city ways?
The best way to get neighbors on your side is to be a good neighbor yourself. Here are five ways to get along in the country right from the start.
- Make a Gentle Entrance
If you have neighbors adjacent to your property and no one has lived on the property for a while, all of the noise and activity from your moving day will be noticeable. It’s only natural that kids and adults are excited and energetic during the move-in process.
However, older residents may be offended if you and your family have music blaring, motors revving, and instructions screamed across the front yard on your very first day. Try to make less noise when you first move in so the neighbors don’t think you’re inconsiderate or unruly. Once they get to know you, your daily noises won’t be a bother.
- Keep Kids and Pets at Home
Kids who grow up in urban and suburban areas are used to roaming the neighborhood. There’s plenty of public property to explore. In the country, most property is privately owned and off limits to your children. Aggressive farm animals, open wells, and other dangers can harm your children if they stray onto neighboring property.
Many rural people have modest homes but raise high-dollar livestock and fowl. Your dog’s adventure to the neighbor’s farm could cost you hundreds of dollars in dead game chickens. Train your children and your animals to respect other people’s property.
- Leave a Pocket at Your Farm Gate
If you decide to install a farm gate at the end of your driveway, don’t place the gate right next to the road. In the first place, most roadways include a right-of-way that’s set back from the road. A gate directly at the roadside is technically on the public right-of-way and not on your property.
Secondly, a gate next to the road means you must block the road with your vehicle every time you open and close the gate from outside. Over time, this small delay could wear on your neighbor’s nerves. At the worst, a gate next to a highway could cause someone moving at a high rate of speed to ram into your car while you’re fiddling with the gate.
Instead, set your gate back from the road to a length that will accommodate your car or truck or widen the end of your driveway to make a pull-off. Some farmers leave pockets in front of their gates that are long enough to allow them to pull a truck and horse trailer off the road. This safety feature protects the driver, the horses, and others using the road.
- Support the Local Helpers
In rural towns, people pool their resources and skills to survive everyday disasters and random tragedies. Government services may be limited or non-existent in some areas.
Donate to local organizations that help out the local community. Cash, material goods, and your time are all welcome donations.
Some worthy places to share your resources include:
- Volunteer fire department
- Local 4H group
- Community food bank
- Area hospital
- Coat and toy drive
- Severe weather shelter
When you donate resources to these organizations and initiatives, you show your commitment to your new home. When you donate your time and skills, you meet like-minded people who appreciate your kindness and invite you to other events and gatherings.
- Adopt a Cheerful Attitude
New transplants to the country sometimes find themselves unprepared for the lack of stores and services available in rural areas. Your drive to get groceries may take an hour round trip. You may find yourself going to the store less frequently and planning your shopping trips more carefully.
Remember that the lack of stores also means that trips to the local market are considered mini social events. It’s not the same experience as popping in for milk at the mega market in the city and dealing with a cashier you’ve never met before. You’ll see your neighbors, your kids’ teachers, and the local banker at the little store in town.
Put on a happy face and expect to chat for a moment or two. There’s no reason to feel overwhelmed, since most rural people are happy to discuss the weather you had last week, the weather happening today, and the weather expected for tomorrow. You don’t need to be a genius, but you do need to be friendly.
These tiny interactions go a long way toward building good will and solid friendships. If you happen to be in a bad mood, put on a smile anyway. You can go back to grumbling and frowning after you leave the store if you like, and no one will be the wiser.
Contact the moving professionals at Bekins Van Lines to schedule your rural move. Our professional packers, loaders, and haulers make easy work of your local or long-distance country relocation.