When we had a question from a blog reader about the best way to meet your Amish neighbor, I jumped on the chance to respond. Not because I live next door to an Amish family, but my long-distant Amish friends in Lancaster are forever telling me, they are normal people, just like me.
In my heart I know this to be true. They may worship a little differently than I do and not have electricity in their homes, but inside—where it counts—they are so much like “us” with insecurities, wants, needs, desires, and dreams.
Just keep that in mind when you go to meet your new Amish neighbors. But I wanted this post to be as authentic as possible, so I asked my Amish friend what she had to say on the matter. Here’s her response:
Sadie: The way to meet your Amish neighbor is the same as you would meet any neighbor. You can take a casserole/dessert over. When my niece who is Amish moved into a mostly English neighborhood, her neighbor a few houses down left chocolate mocha cupcakes on her porch. She also offered to drive her to Costco the next time she went. Now they have a coffee date every Monday morning. You can also exchange phone numbers.
When my mom was growing up, no one had time for things like coffee dates. Mostly everyone farmed and everyone’s husband was always at home. Nowadays, more and more Amish husbands work outside the home. That leaves the wife home all day so there is more time now for them to socialize. The way my mom met her best friend was that my mom lived in Churchtown which was a very close knit town and everyone knew everyone. Her best friend Katie had also moved into the neighborhood from Paradise. They were in the same church district. One day at church they were both standing on opposite ends of a cool stove just pouting. Katie said to my mom, “Are you my new neighbor?” My mom said “yes” and then they continued to pout. Eventually they decided that pouting wasn’t getting them anywhere, so they talked more and became the best of friends.
Here are some other ideas:
Invite them to a hostess party. A lot of Amish women love the same things that English women do: Tupperware, Thirty-One, and Pampered Chef to name a few. If you have a party like this (obviously not jewelry or make-up), invite your Amish neighbor.
Invite them to dinner: Or a cookout, an afternoon tea, or a play date if you have children of similar ages. Really any way you might go about meeting anyone you don’t know.
My own best friend has Amish friends she is very close to. She shared this story with me of how they met.
Invite them to run errands with you: It can be hard for them to get drivers on short notice, so if you are running errands, ask if they would like to come along. The time you spend together will be precious and they will appreciate the ride.
Stacey: I went to an Amish market and there was an auction going on. I didn’t know how to bid so I asked an Amish woman how to get a number just like I would ask anyone how to get a number. She told me and when I came back she said the seats next to her were empty and we could sit there. We talked like I would talk to anyone sitting next to me. Before too long we realized we had a lot in common. By the end of the auction, we exchanged addresses and phone numbers and began writing. She invited me to her house for lunch one day and we have been friends ever since. That was 6 years ago. I believe that some people are meant to cross paths for a reason and some friendships are just meant to be. It doesn’t matter if those 2 people are both Amish (like Becky’s mom and her friend) both English (like me and you) or Amish and English (like me and Rachel).
So as you can see there are several ways to get to know your Amish neighbors. Just keep in mind that they are normal people just like us. For most, it’s a myth that they don’t like to socialize with the English. They see themselves as the same as us— just people trying to get along and enjoy life. Once you become friends, you probably won’t even realize that you’re from two different worlds.
Be on the lookout this month for more posts about getting to know your Amish neighbors from other contributors!