Monday, September 21, 2009

How to Make Friends in The Heights

I find that the older I get, the harder I have to work to make new friends.

It was so easy in elementary school, and college, and even when I taught in rural Louisiana through Teach For America. In those situations, you're immersed in a sea of many like-minded individuals who are undergoing very similar life experiences. You can easily identify with each other, and friendships form quickly.

Now that I'm a verifiable grown-up, it's harder and harder to make friends (but it's no less important!). The situation is compounded by the fact that I'm married. Ideally, any friends that I make will have a corresponding partner who will want to be friends with my partner.

It's complicated.

I thought I would pull together a list of my ideas for making friends in our neighborhood, and then open it up to you for your suggestions:
  1. Get to know your neighbors: Our neighborhood saw a proliferation of neighbors getting to know each other after Hurricane Ike. Neighbors came together to cook rotting meat, share electricity via extension cords stretched across the street, and provide an extra set of hands. Why wait for a natural disaster to get out and meet each other? Consider hosting a block party on October 6, which is National Night Out for Texas. Let's get to know our neighbors proactively rather than reactively...
  2. Frequent a specific place: Folks in our neighborhood tend to have their preferred hang out spots. The more you get out and get social, the more likely you'll come across new friends. I border on the homebody side, but one of my favorite hang-out spots is Antidote. The more I spend time there, the more I start to see the same people over and over again.
  3. Get involved with the neighborhood association: I volunteered to be the newsletter editor for my neighborhood association, which is how I met Viula, which is how I got involved with this blog!
  4. Start an organization: I started the Houston Heights Time Bank to strengthen community in the Heights and to make new friends. We have a monthly potluck (see picture of homemade cake above) for members, which is a great source for new friends.
  5. Attend neighborhood events: Every Wednesday, theheightslife.com publishes a list of things going on in the 'hood. There's a neighborhood book club in Proctor Plaza, First Fridays, etc.
  6. Throw dinner parties: As hard as it can be to make time for a homecooked meal (yet alone hosting other people!), dinner parties can be a great way to meet new people. Encourage friends to invite their friends and neighbors.
  7. Hang out at impromptu dog parks: Dogs are amazing conversation starters. Enough said.
So what other strategies do you all have for making friends in The Heights?

4 comments:

  1. Hang out at the plentiful Heights Beer Club social functions!

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  2. Hang out at the Shiloh!

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  3. I thought I recognized that cake! I second the baby comment. And taking your dog for a walk is no doubt an easy way to make connections. I agree with #3 and #5 as well, especially in a community like the heights, where there is already so much going on!

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