By Claire Farrelly
Louisa used sharing fudge to connect with her neighbour in a backyard conversation. As a young Mum, this fortuitous moment sparked a friendship that had positive long term impacts where she feels supported by her neighbourhood.
For Louisa, her clothes line provided a fortuitous friendship opportunity. It was there that she met Chris, her neighbour, who also happened to be an expectant young mum. Common interests and a similar life season provided the nurturance for a friendship that would go on to span thirty years. So close was their friendship that they created a physical path connecting both properties. The friendship remains strong to this day with Chris still firmly established as a second mum to Louisa. In fact, Christmas is often celebrated together.
It is no surprise that this experience went on to influence the value Louisa herself places on connecting with neighbours. For Louisa, a neighbour presents a significant opportunity. It is, after all, possible that there is a friendship next door, just waiting to be established. It is in this spirit that Louisa openly seeks out opportunities to connect with those living in her neighbourhood.
The arrival of a new neighbour, pregnant with her first child, provided such an opportunity. Acknowledging that new mums are often very isolated these days and that there is only so much support the local coffee group can provide, Louisa was keenly aware of the value of making an introduction with this neighbour, “it is always nice to know that you have support across the road if you need it”.
Agreeing that most people lead hectic lives that are not conducive to much chat time over the fence, Louisa stresses that the payoff is well worth the effort. She also understands the trepidation someone might have around meeting their neighbour. She confesses to having experienced nerves herself as she contemplated how she might approach her neighbour for that initial point of contact. Her tip to overcome this? Use fudge as an icebreaker. Judging by the response Louisa received, it seems to have worked.