One of my earliest memories is attending a kids’ disco at age 9. At the start of the evening, the girls were pressed anxiously against one wall and the boys stood nervously against the opposite wall. Everyone wanted to come into the middle and dance together, but we were all too shy to be the first one to step forward. Eventually, encouraged by each other, we got a little more confident, edging forward until the two groups finally met. The rest is dance history.
Isn’t reaching out to our neighbors for the first time a similar situation? We’re social creatures. We generally like knowing our neighbors and coming together is usually fun. Yet, who among us wants to be the first to step forward, to experience that nervous feeling of putting yourself before your neighbors face to face, not knowing what reaction you’ll get?
Starting is always the most difficult part. I’ve been there: Standing on a stranger’s doorstep on a chilly night, nervously ringing the bell, hoping that the answer won't be hostile. But, as I’ve discovered from my early doorbell ringings at age 8, the majority of neighbors are happy to open their doors to good intentions.