Due to Austin’s hot job market, low cost of living, and solid reputation as a fun musical city, 151 new people move to Austin every day. Are you one of them?
When I first moved to Austin, I didn’t really think about how I was going to make friends. I had lived in the Chicago area for my entire life, and my network was big enough there that I no longer had to try to meet anyone.
But after living in Austin for a few months, I noticed that my passive “I’ll just live my life and meet people organically” approach to friendship wasn’t working. I hardly met anyone during that time.
Whether you’re new to Austin or just looking to connect with some new friendly faces, here are a few things I’ve learned about making connections in a new city:
Explore Austin’s thriving Meetup and networking scene.
You don’t need to start your friend search from scratch – there are plenty of existing meetups, Facebook groups, and communities that you can plug into.
Are you a millennial who loves to travel? Check out the Under30 Experiences Austin Travel Community.
Want to meet other transplants? Sign up for an event in the aptly-named “I love Austin, but I need some f*****g friends!” Meetup group
Do you have a freelance career? Freelance Austin offers resources and networking opportunities that will help you.
If you go to Meetup.com, search through Facebook groups, or perform a quick Google search, you’re bound to find some interesting local events that fit your schedule and interests.
Join a coworking space.
Meeting new people can be challenging enough, but working from home adds an additional layer of isolation to the mix.
If you work remotely, it’s even more crucial to find reasons to leave the house and interact with others – and coworking spaces are the ideal solution! They provide a productive workspace, office amenities, and even perks like phone booths and meeting room spaces – none of which you can find when working in a coffee shop.
Coworking spaces are designed to enhance human connection, grow your network, increase your productivity, and reduce loneliness. Most coworks also offer social and educational events where you can build relationships with fellow members.
Get out from behind the screen.
You’re in an amazing new city with the world ahead of you. Get out there and take advantage of your free time before you start to settle into a fixed daily routine.
Other than the Meetup and community ideas listed above, you could sign up for a local volunteer opportunity or take a class that you’ve always wanted to try (salsa dancing, anyone?).
Sometimes you’ll go to a class and realize it wasn’t the best fit for you. Sometimes you’ll look back and say “Well, I didn’t really click with anyone there.” But making friends is like dating: you don’t know what will be a good fit until you get out of your house, show up, and see what’s out there.
And if you’re going to invest time into growing your community, you may as well have fun along the way by starting with the activities you already enjoy.
My apartment complex started offering free yoga classes at our pool. I didn’t feel like going on the first day, but in the spirit of “saying yes” I hauled my mat to the pool and nudged myself into a few downward dogs.
After class, I walked back towards my apartment with two other students from the yoga class. We made small talk about how they had just moved to Austin, and as we got closer to my apartment we discovered that they lived in the unit directly above mine.
In a 600+ person apartment complex… I accidentally met my upstairs neighbors in a yoga class! Now we’re friends, but if we hadn’t gone to that yoga class I still wouldn’t know their names.
You can apply “say yes” to almost every social situation. Did your coworker invite your office to attend her concert? And no one else is going, and you don’t know her that well, and it could be awkward, and you’re inclined to say no…
Try something new: say yes and see what happens.
Make an effort.
Be the person who initiates things. Be the person who says “Hey – I was thinking of stopping by Spider House tomorrow for a drink, would anyone like to join me?” even if you’re worried that everyone will say no.
In the short-term, making an effort might feel uncomfortable – especially if you aren’t used to coming up with event ideas. But looking back 5 years from now and wondering why you haven’t made any close friends in Austin will be even more uncomfortable.
Don’t let that happen to you. Reach out to people, check out a coworking space, attend events, and embrace your new home in Austin. Before you know it, your phone contacts and social calendar will be brimming with new local connections.
Ready to “work from home away from home” and make new friends in our Austin coworking space?
Sign up for our email list to claim your free trial day at MELD Coworking and see if our workspace is the right fit for you. We would love to introduce you to our community, show you our amenities, and help you make friends in Austin more quickly 🙂