-part Two (read part One here)
by Karen Goldsum, LPC-Intern; LMFT-Associate
Ideas for Making New Friends in Austin, TX!
Just an FYI: All of these ideas listed below are either free or really, really cheap. And as of the posting of this blog are all currently active. So, go out and explore. Find out what Austin has to offer.
Partners in Parenting is a support network for parents in Austin. Various groups meet weekly. They share resources and tips for new parents.
Have you ever yearned to go to Burning Man, but don’t want to trek all the way to Black Rock City. You are in luck. There is small burning man close to Austin called Flipside. Find out more about it here.
Despite being a laundromat, Wash Day Laundry, which has three locations, has a really cool vibe. It is part of Laundry Project. You might as well meet new people while doing your laundry.
Girls new to Austin is a free community in Austin for newcomers to have fun in a safe environment. I have heard from several friends that they love doing the events through this group.
You may not know this, but the Austin Public Library has at least ten events happening every single day. Everything from dance lessons to reading groups. They have groups for both children and adults and are a great place to meet like minded people.
You might consider volunteering. A study published in the UK earlier this year found that volunteers where two thirds less likely to report that they felt lonely. These findings have been corroborated in many studies. Volunteering helps both with social seclusion and with adding meaning and purpose to a person's life. Older adults who volunteer benefit particularly in that they tend to have fewer cognitive declines.
The Austin Humanist’s mission is to uphold the values of humanism by assisting people in need in the Austin community. Our main focus is to provide a short-term supply of basic living items at our monthly giveaways. They meet twice monthly.
Green Corn Project is one of my all time favorite organizations around Austin to volunteer. They meet both Saturday and Sunday every week during the Spring and Fall to educate and assist Central Texans in building organic food gardens so that they can have access to nutritious, affordable food.
There are too many community gardens in Austin to list them all here. I know that most work as coalitions and have weekly meetup to tend the soil. They are always looking for new volunteers. The Sustainable Food Center provides trainings for Central Texas residents to learn to grow their own food.
Filling out your Dance Card
I have found once I go to one fitness/dance event the members are so eager to share their knowledge you will quickly learn about several more free or low cost events around Austin.
So, go and check out some of these services... you will swiftly learn about more.
November Project encourages human development and community building through group workouts. The Austin location is thriving. They meet twice a week (Wednesday and Friday mornings).
The Austin Runners Club meets three times a week. To join all you need is a signed waiver and some shoes.
Team Survivor is a fitness group that encourages women who have already battled and those currently battling with cancer. They have too many events to even contemplate listing them here. Check out their events page.
I have a friend who swears by Dance Austin Studio. She reports that when you buy a package of classes that it can very affordable. She really enjoys the community at this particular space.
Oh, my, but I love Austin Swing Syndicate, They meet weekly in the historic Texas Federation of Women’s Club. You can come early (8:15) and get lessons or just show up at the regular time for the dancing.
Austin Salsa Dance is a social dance group for the beginners, intermediates, or advanced. Most weeks they have four or more dances a week. So, put on your dance shoes and learn to salsa.
Don’t let their website fool you. The Contra Dance are a thriving group. Contra dancing is a form of dancing that originated in either France or England (it is still disputed). They meet at Hancock Recreational Center every Wednesday.
Never hear of Scottish Country Dancing? Well, me neither before a friend of mine suggested it. SCD is a where groups of people weave elaborate patterns together. Think of any of your favorite Regency era films and you have probably seen it before. The Scottish Country Dance Alliance meet every Sunday at 7PM.
Good Politics is a series of events focused on bringing good people into the political process and imbuing participants with hope. They demystify politics and political leaders. They hold meeting a couple of times a month.
Austin Justice Coalition mission is to provide the tools for people of color and people who are marginalized to improve their lives by being the driving force behind their own liberation.
Austin Environmental Justice Team is a volunteer led community organizing team supporting local and regional environmental justice.
Where is your favorite place to connect in Austin?
Let us know and we will add your suggestions to our list.
If some of these ideas sound really fun, but you are struggling with social connection or anxiety and would like some individualized support, please reach out! Sometimes having a little personal help in getting over some internal barriers to connection is the first step towards living your best life. You can book a free phone consult with Karen (who is also available on weekends), or check out the rest of the team here.