This is a short guide to inviting your neighbors to your party, even if you don't know them and/or are shy. This guide is geared towards people who live in apartment and condo buildings, but can certainly be used by folks in detached homes.
Inviting your neighbors to a party you're throwing is generally a good idea because they might turn into actual friends, they'll know that you're not a tap-dancing octopus and be less inclined to call the landlord whenever you walk to the fridge, you'll get to jokingly ask if they are indeed making a porn movie for the hearing impaired, and you'll generally have a better chance of working out any problems because they'll see you as a fellow human being.
To do this Instructable you will need:
-Cards and envelopes
-A notebook or piece or scrap paper
Inviting your neighbors to your party is an item on Neighbors Project's Neighbors Checklist.
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Step 1: Decide Who to Invite
If you haven't met any of your neighbors, it is definitely a leap of faith to invite them to your party. After all, for all you know, they might commune with the devil. So it helps to have at least said hi to the people in your building or floor already. If someone has freaked you out by, say, inviting you to their cult meeting, or has gone out of their way to avoid all contact with you to the point of rudeness, then you shouldn't invite them.
If you live in a small apartment building of three to eight units, then it's likely that you've run into most of your neighbors already and have a sense of who you want to invite. If you live in a bigger building, you probably want to confine your invitations to just the people on your floor unless you've gotten to know some people on other floors. That said, it's in your particular self interest to be on friendly terms with the people directly next to you and the people above and below you, so definitely invite them unless you know them to be mental or you are currently suing each other.
Step 2: Create Invitations
If you've never done anything but say hi and sort of chat with your neighbors, then you should prepare a formal, friendly written invitation.
A week or so in advance of your party, stop by a local store and pick up some neutral looking blank cards. (You should know how many you need based on the invitation list you made.) Since your neighbors are probably just as worried about you being a whack job as you are worried about them being a party foul, you should ensure that your invitation card and message is as respectable and non-threatening as possible. Avoid cards featuring kittens, puppies, weaponry, nudity and anything with too much overt personality. Go for a safe card that says, "we are completely normal, thoughtful people." No scrawled notes on notebook paper or post-its.
Use a notebook to write a draft of your invitation before you start writing on your cards. Indulge in some comfort eating or drinking as you do this to loosen up your pen.
For neighbors whose names you don't know, try this message (for a housewarming party):
We're writing to invite you to our housewarming party: (Date, time, location)
We're almost moved in, and so we're having friends over to celebrate. Hope you'll stop by!
P.S. (Short note telling them who you are, assuming you've met before. For example, "Kit was the woman who did the trick-or-treat set up, in case you're wondering who we are.")"
For neighbors who you know by name, try this message (for housewarming party):
We're writing to invite you to our housewarming party: (Date, time).
We're almost moved in, and so we're having some friends over to celebrate. Hope you'll stop by!
Finally, if you don't like to be surprised by the turn-out at your parties, or need the final attendance number for food and drink purposes, you can include your e-mail or phone number and ask them to RSVP.
Step 3: Distribute Your Invitations
Try to distribute your invitations the week of your party, with two or three days to spare. Too early seems desperate and you don't want to have to field too many questions about the party beforehand if you run into your neighbors in the hall or street.
If you know the names of your neighbors, write it on the envelope. If you don't, write "Neighbor" and the apartment number. You don't want any confusion about who should be getting the invitation.
Don't worry, you don't have to hand these to a live human. You can play Santa and distribute them without anyone ever seeing you. Though I do strongly suggest that you are dressed normally when you do distribute them so that, in case you are caught in the act by a neighbor on her way out, you aren't in your untied bathrobe and Homer Simpson slippers. That's just awkward. (I actually locked myself out while doing this, so again, it was fortunate that I was fully dressed.)
If you have access to your neighbors' mailboxes, just drop them in the appropriate boxes. If not and you you have access to your neighbor's apartment door, slip it under that door or prop it up on the door. If you only have access to their outer door, then slip it in the mail slot or under the door. It's best not to leave them all in one central location; when seen in bulk, your invitation looks less special.
Step 4: Party
Inviting your neighbors is probably the least of your concerns about getting ready for your party. So forget what you've done and concentrate on getting ready to have a good time.
Some of your neighbors may show up to your party, but some probably won't, either because they're otherwise engaged or they are freaked out by the idea of hanging out in the home of a relative stranger. Whatever. Have a good time and be nice to the neighbors that do show. They probably had to overcome a few phobias to get them to your apartment door. Get them a drink and introduce them to one of your especially social friends.
Enjoy the party!