Is there anything in life more exciting and nerve-wracking than getting new neighbors? One moment you’re settling into your new apartment or house. Maybe you’ve even unpacked some boxes, though probably not all of them. You’ve only been there six months, after all! It would be completely unreasonable for someone to expect you to have your boxes unpacked and have acquired furniture by now.
And then one day, just as you were thinking, “do I own a single thing that is not a box of old baby clothes?” you see it: A moving truck. Your neighbors are moving! That means someone new will be coming in! That means you won’t be the new kids in town anymore, but it also means some total strangers will be moving in right next to you. This could be wonderful, or awful.
Here are the X things everyone thinks when they get new neighbors.
1. I hope they have kids
I hope they have kids within a year of mine, so that my kid will go over and play at their house and I won’t have to worry about entertaining them or driving them across town for the next 18 years. Please let your best friend live next door so you can play and bond and have memories and I don’t have to put on grown-up pants.
Oh! Or better yet, I hope they have a responsible teenage honor student who is trained in CPR and wants to spend all their Saturday nights playing with a toddler for $15 an hour.
2. What if their politics are way different?
God, should I have peppered my lawn with political signs to scare away any potential neighbors with heinous personal beliefs? Maybe I should have flown a rainbow flag while the neighbors were trying to sell.
3. I wonder how much they spent?
If they’re buying, you hope they spent a ton so that all the comparable prices and home values in the neighborhood will go up. I hope they spent an absurdly huge amount of money for the house next door, and also that it is not as nice as mine.
4. Look at their fireplace! I didn’t know that house had a fireplace …
Thanks to the proliferation of public records and real estate sites, you can take a virtual tour of any for-sale house in your neighborhood. This is a good way to see who has wood floors and granite countertops, and who has a piece of driftwood that says “Home” in their kitchen.
5. All our neighbors were definitely doing this when we moved in
There is no chance that everyone on the street hasn’t been eyeballing all the real estate photos of my house and wondering how much I paid for it. Now I feel self-conscious.
6. Should I get a blow-out?
The new neighbors are coming. I want them to think I’m fancy and look like this all the time and that I’m totally not the kind of person who spends the morning blogging whiel eating old chicken tenders in a unicorn hoodie.
7. They better not be all weird about my landscaping
Look, I’m going for the natural look. Native plants in their natural state is more ecologically sound. Sculpted gardens are tacky. That’s my story, and I am sticking to it. (Poison ivy counts as a native plant.)
8. Do I have to, like, do stuff to welcome them?
Am I supposed to, like, bring a casserole or go say hi or something? I don’t know how this works. I’m from New York, I only met my neighbors of six years when one of them set the building on fire and we all had to stand outside for a few hours.
9. I hope they have cats
I work from home and am currently auditioning to be the house where all the neighborhood cats come during the day to get fat while their owners are at work. There is so much cat food on my back porch right now! I’m like the Hansel and Gretel gingerbread witch, but for cats, and instead of eating them I just cuddle them while I’m supposed to be working.