I forget sometimes that some new Houstonians don’t have a lifetime of friends to choose from like I do. I’ve lived here my whole life, and I still have close friends from when we were knee-high to a grasshopper. (A phrase said Newstonians might not have ever heard. #Texas)
I like to say that I am born, raised AND educated here in Houston (Go Coogs) and that makes it hard for me to answer a question I get quite a lot from readers who just moved to Houston: How the heck do you make friends here?!
While I’ve had the luxury of always having long-time friends all around me, I sat down and really thought about how I would go about making new buds nowadays, and here’s what I came up with!
Got another suggestion? Let me know how YOU made friends here in Houston in the comments below!
Friends that sweat together, stay together
Running clubs: Both RacePace and Kung Fu have weekly running clubs that we’ve done. CityCentre has one that starts at lululemon, and chances are if those don’t work, your favorite bar around your place has one too. Find one that works for your schedule and ends a 3- or 5-mile run with a beer. Commit to going, and you’ll make a real (or at least running) buddy.
Workout groups: CrossFit families are totally a thing (I hear, never actually done CrossFit). I have done Camp Gladiator, and would HIGHLY recommend to someone new to town. There are TONS of times and locations to choose from, but you have to pick a homebase location and time. You’ll get to know your trainer and the people who workout there at your time.
Intramural teams: Houston Sports and Social Club is our favorite; volleyball, kickball, softball, soccer — HSSC has it all. Pick a sport, a league and a team and you are good to go. You’ll play once a week, and usually grab drinks after to celebrate a win/commiserate a loss.
Niche is nice
Clubs for adults: Finding a career-focused group will make you some pals in your industry and double as a networking opportunity. Or, maybe you can turn a hobby or interest into a full-time gig. Pier and Beam is a young professionals organization that calls all preservationists and historians together to talk architecture and history over drinks or, even better, at the historic buildings they are trying to save. There are plenty of these types of groups out there for your industry.
The great outdoors: There are several outdoor aficionados in Denver or Arizona, but you wouldn’t think Houston’s not-so-great outdoors has a big fan club. But… it does. And it’s called HTX Outdoors. I’m so proud of this organization — they literally sprung up overnight and now offer so many events every month from dog walks to stand-up paddle boarding (I did that one!!) You can be a full-fledged member or just attend a couple events.
Classes: Whether you wanna go for that MBA or just learn the basics of French, taking a 1-day, semester or 2-year course load will better yourself and find you a study buddy.
Get HYP(E)d: The Houston Young Professional Endeavor (HYPE) is the biggest group of young professionals in Houston with 3,200 members. That’s 3,200 potential new friends! Membership is free, but events cost some money. You can find HYPE events on the GHP website or the HYPE Facebook page. MEANWHILE, Houston Young Professionals (HYP) is a whole other organization with even more events to choose from. Check out their events here.
Get COCky: Every single chamber of commerce has a young professionals organization or set of events, and they are usually v casual and free. Find the closest COC to where you live and/or work here, and head out to an event.
Alumni groups: Even if you didn’t go to school here in Houston, chances are your alma mater has a Houston-based group. I mean, we are the 3rd largest metro area and have plenty of jobs and affordable housing and better quality of life… so yeah, you got old classmates sprinkled around in town.
Do good to find good friends
Volunteering: Post Harvey, Anastasia and I both did some solo volunteering at GRB and the Houston Food Bank. I signed up for a weekend day, and it all filled up before I could convince a pal to join. Determined to help with relief efforts, I went solo and met a couple girls my age almost instantly. We bagged dozens of diapers together for four hours, then went out for brunch. Volunteer at the HFB here. Other organizations: Shelters (SPCA, BARC, etc), arts groups (Alley Theatre, Houston Ballet, etc.) or health care (hospitals, Make a Wish Foundation).
Tiny friends. I’m also a big sister for Big Brothers Big Sisters – Lone Star. The process is pretty extensive, but now that I’m in, I’m a part of a pretty cool club. I have a new friend who is ten and we go to the movies and museums together. BBBS here!
Rodeo Friend Roundup: I’m not on a committee 😦 YET! I have heard nothing but amazing things about Gatekeepers, mutton busting and wine committees. They can be hard to get a boot-clad foot in the door, uniforms can be pricy, the time commitment is a lot and parking, obviously, sucks, but the perks are great (free rodeo entry?!) and you get REALLY close with your team. Learn more.
Swipe your way to friendship
Bumble BFF: Full disclosure, haven’t used this app, but it sounds harmless. Meet a friend like you would a new crush? Sounds just crazy enough to work… Plus, Bumble was kind of a spin-off of Tinder, and definitely got the formula a little better. Marketing also is 10/10.
The League: This app is new to Houston and, seeing as I met my boyfriend on it, DEFINITELY more of a dating app than a friend finder, but you CAN set your profile to “in a relationship” and just connect with people. There are topic-focused chatrooms and public events, so you might find a boyfriend AND a best friend. Two birds, one app.
MeetUp: MeetUp is a catch-all site that uses interests and hobbies to match-make friends, teams and even some couples.