Grown-ups Guide: How to make new friends in Houston – CW39 Houston

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Making friends in a new city (or the same city!) can be hard! But finding a crew that jives with what you love to do and be can be so rewarding. Having both grown up and found jobs in Houston after college, we both have a large network of friends across many different groups. Below are some of the places that we’re passionate about where we go to connect with old friends and meet new ones! No matter how long you’ve been in the grand city of Houston there’s always an opportunity to make a new friend.

This post is sponsored by our friends at HumanHQ who are dedicated to connecting Houstonians in meaningful ways. They believe that people are better together–mostly because we are and science says so too. They curate small groups and host special events at thier location in the Heights for positive, driven, growth-oriented people. Together, they discuss life, reflect on where you want to take your path and help one another stay encouraged in the pursuit of the lives we cultivate for ourselves. Check out their small group sessions and events page for how you can get connected into their vibrant community!

Friends that sweat together, stay together

Running clubs: Both RacePace and Kung Fu have weekly running clubs that we’ve done. Kung Fu’s run club even coordinates other events outside of running like going to the Dynamo game or roller skating at Discovery Green. Lululemons around town also have weekly runclubs, 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. Here are some of our favorites!

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 teamsHouston 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. Also check out the club leagues and soccer-inspired classes at Sphere. Their focus is all about creating community and teammates on and off the field.

Fitness studios: Most fitness studios in Houston are dedicated to creating a community for you to come back to again and again. Many studios regularly have challenges that encourage you to partner with different members to create teams and accomplish challenges. Inevitably, the more classes you go to a studio, the more likely you are to start recognizing faces and bonding over sweat seshes. We’re big fans of SoulCycle, BEYoga, and Cycle Bar for the communities they create! You might even catch us there on the reg!

Niche groups are nice friends

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.

Life Coaching Small Groups: HumanHQ is dedicated to connecting fellow Houstonians who are focused on positivity, kindness and living with intention. They curate small groups to discuss topics that cover major life domains such as opening up about relationships, talking about mindset, and your wildest, fear inducing dreams.  After a short assessment, each group is mindfully curated to consist of folks that the HumanHQ staff thinks you’ll vibe with. Discussions are moderated by people with psychology backgrounds so you know you’re going to go deep–fast! Some questions are soul deep, others are more intellectual and curious.  They tend to attract a lot of professionals, creatives, and folks with driven or entrepreneurial mindsets. They also host regular events to connect with the community, check out their events page to see what’s coming up! Here’s our reflections on their life-coaching sessionsThis post is sponsored by HumanHQ, but all opinions and recommendations are our own!

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. We’ve had friends who have had a ton of fun at improv classes at Station Theatre, where each week you learn the basics of on-stage improv with a small group and even perform at a final recital!

Use your pooch! Striking up a conversation with a rando is so easy and normal when there is a cute dog around. If you have a dog, head to one of the dog parks in Houston (Buffalo Bayou is our fav) to meet other dog loving friends. Check out our guide to dog-friendly places in Houston for more ideas!

Young Professionals unite

HYPE: 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.

Chamber of Commerce: 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. Tap into your alumni network and head to a game watch to connect with your university family!

The Urbane Society: The Urbane Society is a members-only club for young professionals aged 21-34 who are interested in experiencing affordable and approachable sophistication in dining. Members receive exclusive access to a number of benefits, events, and perks at Urbane’s partner restaurants such as 20% off the dining ticket and access to invitation-only events. Current partner restaurants include: B&B Butchers, Emmaline, The Grove, La Table, Le Colonial and Tony’s. Download the app and apply to become a member today!

Coworking Spaces: With the rise of remote work and laptop employees, Houston has seen an influx of dedicated coworking spaces dedicated to support entrepenuers, start-ups, and people who work from home. Depending on what you’re looking for you can find ones that are more events focused, targeted towards your industry, or just have a cool space that inspires collisions and spontaneous interaction. Here are some we like: WeWork (located in Downtown and the Galleria), Local Office (located in Rice Village), Sesh Coworking (Houston’s first all-female coworking group), LifeTime Fitness (CityCentre and soon Downtown), and Decatur (free coworking space at a trendy restaurant off Washington).

Non-Profit Groups:  Buffalo Bayou Currents  and Memorial Park Urban Wild host fun events that take care of our city’s parks.  Young Houstonian’s for Houston Children’s Charity always have great happy hours and raffles to benefit impoverished Houston children. Even the Houston Zoo has a young professionals group called Flock, who hosts some pretty epic events such as Feast with the Beasts and the Zoo Ball (we’ve been, it’s awesome!).

Do good to find good friends

Volunteering: You never know who you’ll meet volunteering! We’re passionate about volunteering at the Houston Food Bank (shifts are so fun!). Check out the Houston Marathon Foundation and Run for Wellness if you’re into fitness. Other great places to volunteer include: Shelters (SPCA, BARC, etc), arts groups (Alley Theatre, Houston Ballet, etc.) or health care (hospitals, Make a Wish Foundation).

Big Brothers Big Sisters: 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 have heard nothing but amazing things about Gatekeepers, Mutton Busting and Wine Garden committees. They can be hard to get a boot-clad foot in the door, uniforms can be pricey, 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 LeagueThis 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.

Muuve: Houston-based Muuve is an app that launched to connect people around town to go out and do activities — like fitness events or just someone to catch a yoga class with.

MeetUpMeetUp is a catch-all site that uses interests and hobbies to match-make friends, teams and even some couples.

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