You’ve unpacked your last box after moving to Houston. Now what? Starting your new life can be exciting…and yet daunting.
A lot of advice on how to make friends might seem like common sense—don’t turn down invitations to go out, get outside your comfort zone, etc. Those are easy words to read and hear, but they can be hard to put into action. If you are feeling tentative, consider these 15 low-stress ways to meet people in a new city.
1. Meet Your Friends’ Friends
No one knows a guaranteed method how to meet people in a new city. Make things easier by starting with the people you know in Houston (or, if you don’t know anyone in Houston, ask your current friends if they know anyone). Get your friends to introduce you to people with whom you can build a social network.
2. Connect Through Mobile Apps
Mobile apps like Meetup can help you make friends in a new city. Meetup brings together groups of people with similar interests such as sports, health, music, volunteering, learning and many more. Similar apps include Eventbrite, Foursquare, and Citysocializer.
3. Tap into Your Co-workers’ Networks
A quick, easy way to meet people in a new city is to be sociable at work. Your jobs and the company you work for are already common interests. Get to know your colleagues with a stress-free activity after work or a quick lunch. Your company might also host social activities. These work relationships might be the easiest way to develop friendships.
4. Host a Housewarming
One of the best ways to meet people and make friends is to host an informal party and invite your neighbors. Keep it casual. Use it to get to know your neighbors. If this is too big of a step, then focus on just being a good neighbor. Be friendly when you see them, help them out if you have the chance, and be gracious when you receive help from them. This will go a long way toward creating opportunities to make friends.
5. Walk Your Dog
If you’re pondering how to make friends, getting a dog might not come to mind immediately. But adopting a dog (if you don’t already have one) opens up possibilities for interaction. Walking your dog in the neighborhood can introduce you to other dog owners. Dog parks are a natural place to get to know other dog owners. The Meet My Dog app can help you find friends for you and your dog.
6. Start Biking
Just getting outside among people can be a good way to make friends in a new city. One of the best ways to do this is to invest in a bike and ride it often. In addition to potentially meeting cycling enthusiasts, you can also save money by biking to work and experience the fitness benefits of frequent exercise.
7. Participate in Facebook Groups
Whether you have moved to Houston or one of its beautiful surrounding communities, there are likely local Facebook Groups that can help you get active and potentially make friends. Search for “Groups” in the search bar on your Facebook page or select Groups from the menu on the left side of the page.
8. Visit Cultural Events and Institutions
Houston offers plenty of public events and attractions where you can meet people. You can enjoy museums like the American Cowboy Museum or Space Center Houston while you look for opportunities to interact with people. Cultural events and neighborhood festivals offer the same chance to enjoy the local culture and meet new people. Look for a calendar of events online.
9. Attend a Class
One of the easiest ways to meet people in a new city is by taking a class. Plenty of places offer them—community colleges, park districts, arts centers, libraries, and more. People sign up for classes to learn new skills or hobbies, but meeting new people is a welcome benefit. Art and photography classes work well for beginners, but anything you are passionate about will do. Foreign language classes are another good option as long as your take them in a group setting.
10. Get a Membership to a Gym
If you want to stay fit and make friends at the same time, join a gym (or a yoga studio, if that is more your style). By going frequently, you will start to see the same people and, in time, you will grow more comfortable with starting conversations. It’s an easy transition to invite workout partners to a meal after your time at the gym or studio.
11. Participate on a Sports Team
Joining an amateur sports league can be a great way to pursue fitness and make friends. Adult sports leagues can be found for all types of sports—flag football, baseball, softball, basketball, volleyball, even kickball. Your passion for the sport immediately creates a common bond between you and your teammates that you can leverage for further interaction.
12. Sign Up for a Book Club
Another way to establish common ground with people is to join a book club. Everyone in a book club obviously enjoys reading and the discussions foster interaction. It’s not difficult to extend the discussion after the meeting ends. The shared love of certain books and authors can give you endless topics of conversation.
13. Buy Produce at Farmers’ Markets
A local farmers’ market might not be an obvious place to meet people in a new city, but markets attract diverse groups of people interested in eating healthy, supporting the community, or just talking with neighbors. They also serve as a great place to meet with others. Invite that person you met at the gym or book club to the next farmers’ market.
14. Start Shopping at Garage Sales
If terrific bargains interest you, don’t be shy about becoming a regular garage sale (or yard sale) shopper. They offer the perfect opportunity to meet the people in your community. You don’t have to think up awkward introductions—you’re just looking for good deals, after all. As long as you can take the initiative to start a casual conversation, you never know when a friendship might blossom.
15. Volunteer with a Nonprofit
Giving back to your community is one of the surest ways to meet people with whom you have something in common. Whether or not you make friends, you will find your volunteer time to be rewarding. Plenty of nonprofits and charities in and around Houston can use your help, so find a group that you are passionate about and get involved.
Yes, meeting people in a new city can be difficult, but these 15 tips can help make the process go more smoothly.