Where to Meet New Friends in Houston

Dial back my clock some years; I was single and ready to meet someone.  A local magazine had a big a party, and I decided to go, what better place to meet someone than at a cocktail party?  I checked in.  I got a nametag.  I looked around.  I panicked!  What had I been thinking?  I wasn’t a cocktail party kind of girl.  All I saw was a sea of people I didn’t know, and it looked to me like every single one of them was having a blast and chatting away.  I did what any brave, socially savvy person would do.  I ran for the safety of the bathroom! 

After hanging out for five minutes and giving myself a pep talk, I stood up straight, threw my shoulders back, and marched right down to the parking garage.  When I got to the safety of my car I thought about what had just happened.  I’m not a chicken, and I don’t get intimidated easily.  

But there was I was, hiding from a party in a parking garage.     

 I am happy to say that I went back to the party, searched around for someone who looked more out of place than me and struck up a  conversation.  Straightaway I  admitted how uncomfortable I was, we had a good laugh because they were too.  We’re still acquaintances and the night ended up being just fine.  I learned something important for me that evening, and from then forward I only tried to meet new people doing things that I enjoyed. 

I believe at times the bigger the city, the tougher it can be to connect.  

Plus, things happen in life.  Sometimes it's a divorce, or the kids have gone off to school, you become the caretaker of aging parents, or you just get stuck in a rut.  It’s time to turn this around! 

As the owner and manager of Bayou City Outdoors, I have introduced hundreds of people over the years.  People who fall in love, people who are looking for travel buddies, people who now have a big circle of friends.  I love helping people make connections more than anything else I do.  Other than joining Houston's Bayou City Outdoors :) here are some of my favorite suggestions to get people out and meeting! 

Ask yourself, what day-in-day-out actions put your social life in the toilet?  

All of us fall into routines that hold us back.   Work is the first place to check.  Maybe you’re the person who always seems to end up working late, sort of the office martyr?   Do you find that no matter what you do, you can’t seem to get away from the office in time to do the things you had planned?  Stop that.  If you had a meeting on your calendar, you would find a way to go.  Schedule your time to fit your life.  This is a conversation for another day, but just remember – where you put your focus is what is going to get done.  Work projects and to-do lists never get finished. 

How much time are you willingly to put towards making your social life rock?  Maybe it’s three events a week; maybe it’s only one.  Only you can decide how important this is for you and then schedule accordingly. 

Get to know your meeting people style.  

Just like me in my story, I’m not great at a cocktail party making small talk.  Put me on a bike or a hiking trail or in a kayak, and I find it’s easy for me to chat with anyone.  Personally, I think that shared experiences make the conversation flow.  What are your favorite things to do?  

Is there something that you have always wanted to try?  Something new you’d like to learn?  Start here.  Make a list.  My list was learning to kayak, finding where to hike and how to meet the people who loved being active and outdoors! 

Only do things that you want to do never do things that you think you “should” do.  If  “everyone” seems to meet biking or dancing but that not your gig, don’t do it.  One of the reasons doing things you enjoy works is because you are having fun, smiling, laughing, not uncomfortable or stifled.  

Friends are the best.  And, sometimes friends are our best enemies.  They can help you make excuses as to why you shouldn’t do something.  Cut that out.  You may just have to leave your friends at home and strike out on your own. 

Go straight from work.  

If you need a change of clothes, bring them.  If your dog needs walking, hire a sitter.  If you need to bring your bike, put it in the car and cover it up.  Going home first is going to drop your chance of actually going out by about a million percent. You know, I know, we all know once you are at home it’s hard to head back out. 


Take life less seriously and learn to be flexible.  When I meet someone who is so caught up in all the details they can’t come up for a breath of air, I worry for them.  Being flexible and not having to have everything exactly right or all answers answered helps you be a little easier to be around.  People gravitate to those who are less stressed.  Plus, worrying and stressing are just bad for your health 

Make it easy for yourself.  Of course, people do meet at the office or randomly in line for coffee.  But not as often as when they put themselves in a situation that leads to conversation and fun.  It’s a whole lot easier to strike up a conversation when you’re trying a standup paddleboard for the first time versus ordering lunch or a drink. 

Get to know people in a group situation before you get to know them intimately.   You can basically “skip the first date”.  You get the chance to see how they interact, who they are in different situations, how they treat others.  Plus, in groups like BCO, there are always Event Leaders and a few “regulars” to introduce you around and help break the ice. 

I’ll always lean into a group of like-minded people with shared interests.  

It helps remove the stress of what to talk about and may help you find activities you didn’t even know you liked.  Even if you don’t meet someone special, you still are having fun and being active.  Plus you’re getting new ideas about where to go and what to do in this big city of ours. 

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