Three years ago dropped everything and moved to Austin. I’ve now found myself in the position where I get to help lots of other people move to Austin. So I decided to write a series of blog posts about what it’s like moving to here. If you’re looking for help finding a new place to live, please reach out to me. I’d love to help you fall in love with the city like I have.
One of the scariest things about moving to a new city is starting over from scratch. Being lonely. Not having anybody to call or meet up for drinks or fall back on when things go wrong. It’s why most people never drum up the courage to leave their hometown. Having a good group of friends can be one of the most impactful factors in the quality of life in a new city. I probably don’t need to go on at length about why not having friends sucks.
So what’s it like in Austin? Are people friendly? What can I expect?
In my experience, it’s been very easy to meet people and make friends. Almost embarrassingly so. I don’t say this because I’m a natural extroverted socialite. I’m not. I’m more prone to being that weird guy in the corner of the bar trying to not be awkward than being the life of the party.
So why has it been easy to make friends? How is it different than other cities? How did I build my group of friends?
This post is about my thoughts on why people here are friendly and easy to make friends with.
First, hardly anyone is actually from here.
A ton of people have moved to Austin in the last few years. Probably like yourself, there are a lot of people also moving here with a blank slate. People who moved without friends of their own. It’s almost like a second, more adulty version of college. A bunch of people from a bunch of different places moving to the same place who don’t know anyone. Most people aren’t tied to old highschool or college cliques or “convenience friends”.
Unlike other transplant cities like New York where people make their money for a few years and leave, people actually stay in Austin. There’s time for roots to plant.
It’s not super expensive.
Compared to cities like New York, Los Angeles, Miami or San Francisco, Austin is way more affordable. Additionally, many people are moving to here with well-paying jobs. This means people aren’t super stressed out about their careers or spending their entire lives at work just to afford rent. What this also means is…
People have balanced lifestyles.
Since people aren’t crazy stressed about super high living costs, people actually have time to have hobbies. You can find groups for almost anything here. Running, hiking, cycling, yoga, rock climbing, board games, paddleboarding, kayaking whatever. If you’re bored, it’s probably your fault is how I think of it. Seriously, there so much shit to do in this city. If you can’t find events or things to do, it’s because you’re probably not trying that hard.
Things are more laid back here.
Austin is a city where people are likely to look at you weird if you have to dress up in a suit and tie everyday. Here, business attire is basically just not being naked. You also won’t find a lot of “high-stress-high-status” industries like finance or Hollywood or whatever shady shit people do in my hometown of Miami. Here people’s ideas of having fun isn’t buying thousand dollar bottle service at that exclusive club with other fancy high-powered people.
How did I make friends?
When I moved here, I was aggressive with going to as many meetup events as possible. I’d go to everything that seemed mildly interesting. Some were good, some were totally awkward. But I’d just keep going and going until I found ones that I liked.
Eventually, I came across the Uncle Billy’s Beer Run Club that meets every Wednesday. It’s one of Austin’s largest and most consistent groups where people get together to hang out, drink beer, and run a 5K (not necessarily in that order). Even though I hate running, I figured this was a good way to meet people. So I kept showing up. Week after week.
I would awkwardly bribe tables full of strangers with pitches of beer just so I can butt into conversations. And it worked.
Overtime the people I met here became the foundation of the group of friends I have now. This person would invite me to that thing where I would meet another person who would invite me to that other thing. So on and so forth. Within a few months I had a larger group of friends in Austin than I did back home.
Since then, I’ve found other activities like Acro Yoga, food truck events, whiskey tastings, and all sorts of activities where I can find like minded people. There’s something for everyone here.
So while my story is just that. My story. Plenty of people I know have had similar experiences of making new friends here. I’ve found that the baseline level of friendliness is much higher here than in other cities. It’s a relatively affordable city where people live balanced lifestyles.
It’s a place where people from all over the country have made it home, and not just for a few years. People actually love living here. So if you’re about to make your move and you’re worried about meeting new people and finding your own group of friends, I wouldn’t worry too much.