my top | jeans | shoes | bag | sunnies
Shelbi's overalls | shoes | hat | top
photos by Ban Avenue Photography
Growing up in a very small town, making friends was an easy task. I pretty much had the same friends since birth (and I still love them all dearly to this day!) and we rarely ever even had a new transfer at our school. I also went to a fairly small university and played on the golf team, so I kept a tight circle of friends and we spent most of our time together. When I moved to Houston back in 2010, it was a very different experience than I'd ever had before. I'd never lived in a city anywhere close to the same size, and especially not one where I didn't know anyone besides my boyfriend at the time (hey, Z!). Zach introduced me to his work friends and while I enjoyed spending time with them, I still didn't feel like I really had any girlfriends I could be close to and hang out with. It took several years really, until a few months after Bear was born, that I decided to take the plunge and really try to make friends in the city. I hadn't been lonely at all up until that point- we were going through the engagement process, wedding process, honeymoon, and a big move, so I didn't think about it much honestly. But after having Bear, I was ready to get out and meet some mamas! And here are some of the best things I did:
1. Meetup App- This is probably the #1 aid in helping me make new friends in Houston. Late one night when Bear had just turned 3 months old, I got the idea that I wanted to join a playgroup. I wanted to make other mama friends and most of all, wanted Bear to be around some other babies. I searched online, found meetup.com, and immediately downloaded the app. I found a new playgroup in the area that was to meet the next afternoon and decided to give it a shot. The rest is history! That's been over 5 years ago and some of the mamas from that playgroup are still some of my very closest friends, and their kids are still some of Bear's best friends as well. What's great about meetup is that everything is tracked in the app- meetings are posted there as well as a chat with members. It's super convenient and a great way to find groups, even if you're not a mom. There are all kinds of different groups of meetup with everything from bowling clubs to people just wanting to make friends in a new city. Another app I've heard great things about is the Supper Club App- and try new great food in the process!
2. Volunteer- Don't just sign up for anything that comes along, but take time to volunteer for something you're truly passionate about. This way, you'll be doing a good deed while meeting people that share similar interests as you. In all cities, there are a ton of volunteer opportunities. Whether it's signing up for a 5K, food pantry, or an animal shelter, there are a lot of great places to volunteer. Hospitals (especially ones with a kid's unit) always love new people to come in and help with various things, and so do park restoration projects. You'll feel good about what you're doing and as a bonus, it's a great way to make new friends. Zach and I both volunteered after Hurricane Harvey and met so many amazing people that we now consider friends.
3. Weekly work-out class- Okay let me be completely honest here and say that this is not something I've done. If you know me personally you know that I'm not a big work-out person (at all), and Zach and I dropped our gym membership a year after getting it and only going a handful of times (back when we were engaged). That said, I have a TON of friends that this has worked for so I know it's a successful tactic when it comes to meeting new people! The key is scheduling a class that you're not rushed to attend, because it's key to arrive a little early and stay a little late in order to chat with people and make conversation. People who prioritize fitness automatically have a mutual interest as well as similar personality traits, so if you're one who likes yoga or spinning, this is a great way to make new friends.
4. Church- This is an obvious one if you're a church-goer because you'll already be joining a new church and the members will likely be very warm and friendly. But even if you're not a Sunday regular, sign your kids up for a Wednesday night program or check out activities a church near you hosts. Our church has a great fall festival with a carnival, rides, meals, etc. and it's an easy way to get out and meet new people in a safe, welcoming environment.
5. Hang out at public places. This sounds a bit odd, but it's worked well for me in the past and looking back I'm surprised at how many friends I've made just by hanging out at local coffee shops (Starbucks are always busy) and the swimming pool at both our old apartment and current neighborhood. Anywhere people are relaxing and lounging is a good spot to strike up conversation and meet other people that could lead to potential friendships.
Hopefully I didn't ramble too much and actually made some sense with those points! We feel really lucky to have amazing friends in Houston and it's funny how once you make a little effort, things start falling into place. Our original playgroup that we joined through the meetup app ended up branching off into a separate playgroup, where I've met other mamas who I'm really close to as well. Once you put yourself out there and just go for it, you'll be surprised at how easy it is to make friends, even in a big city. Shelbi, whom I'm pictured with above, actually reached out to me over Instagram via DM and we decided to meet up for lunch when we realized she worked close to our house. The rest is history and now she's one of my best friends. Thanks, Instagram!
Happy weekend, friends (yes, I consider y'all friends, too)!