Editor’s note: So I don’t have to keep using the word “spouse” , and since most of my readers are female, I am going to use the word “wife” interchangeably with spouse. No offense is meant to the many male military spouses out there.
You’ve left all your friends behind, either because you just married into the military, or because you’ve just moved to a new duty station. Either way, you are going into new and unknown territory. You are going to need new friends.
Making new friends doesn’t have to be hard or scary. I realize not everyone is an extrovert like I am. They don’t talk to anyone they meet or comment on their observations. My daughters often were mortified when I would speak to someone in the line at the commissary, whether I knew them or not.
Maybe, it has something to do with teaching them not to talk to strangers and then doing that exact thing myself. However, a smile or a friendly hello goes a long way in brightening someone’s day. The Good Chaplain, pre-military days, was a salesman. Sometimes his job took him to the not-nice neighborhoods of Chicago. He found if he said hi to people, it took them off guard. They look up, so if they were planning on mugging you, you’ve seen their face. They either have to kill you so you can’t identify them or leave you alone. Luckily, he was left alone. Plus, he was friendly.
For those of you who are not uber-extroverts, if you want friends, you will have to put yourself out there. Trust me when I say that people will not come knocking on your door, seeking you out. Oh, sure, the next-door neighbor may bring you a plate of cookies and offer to help in any way. And they mean that, but they get busy with their own lives and so you need to make the first step to ask for help, or say hi, or return the plate with more cookies on it.
But how do you make friends? Well, if you are a parent, that is the easiest way. Meet the parents of your children’s friends. Because you know your children are already out on the playground, making friends of their own.
What are your interests? Reading — join a book club. Sewing — take a quilting class. Dancing, cooking, antiquing — find the group that fits your interests.
Whenever we moved, I looked for two groups, the women’s group at the chapel and the spouses’ club. These groups offered smaller clubs to get involved in that suited my interests, such as Bible study, book club, and my favorite, Lunch Bunch. They can also introduce you to new things. I had no idea what Bunko was until I joined a spouse club.
If you work outside the home, most of your new friends may come from the job. They may or may not understand your military lifestyle, but that’s okay. You still have work in common.
The saddest comment I heard was from a colonel’s wife at our first assignment. She said she doesn’t bother to make friends anymore because it hurts too much when they leave.
See this link for more on friends leaving. https://soldierswifecrazylife.com/2015/06/05/the-5-stages-of-watching-your-best-friend-move-away/
My friends don’t be like that. Even if you are only friends for the short time you are together, it is worth it. Every person you meet has the potential to become your BFF. And even if they don’t, they can bring enjoyment to your life for the time you are together.
Make a move. Put yourself out there and reap the benefits of friendship, even if only for a season.
Until next time,
How have you met some of your best friends? Share in the comment section below.