3 Things Military Spouses Learn About Making New Friends Fast
Growing up a military brat, I know the challenge of moving to a new place and making new friends, only to receive permanent change of station (PCS) orders sooner than you expected, forcing you to uproot and start all over again.
Today, as a military spouse, it isn’t much easier. In fact, it can be tougher because it’s difficult to find the people you want to befriend. Here’s what I’ve learned along the way:
Seek out other military spouses.
Some say it’s easier for military people to make friends with other military people, and I believe that to be true. We know what it’s like to relocate often so we don't usually waste any time getting to know someone. When we do find a person with whom we connect, we form deep friendships almost overnight. These relationships grow stronger over time and sometimes across thousands of miles.
Tip: To meet people in a new place, start with other spouses in the squadron, unit, battalion, or command where your significant other has been assigned. Attend their events. Also join the enlisted or officers spouses club, and get involved in their community service opportunities and social activities.
Watch your network grow.
The longer you are with the military, the easier it can be to find friends because your network is constantly growing. Even if you’re not fortunate enough to PCS to an assignment where a friend is already located (or will be locating soon), one of your friends probably knows someone and will happily introduce you through Facebook® or email. This person can then introduce you to his or her circle of friends, too.
Reach out and show up.
Making friends is not a spectator sport. You have to be willing to show up, introduce yourself and be open. If you have young children, join play groups. When your kids start school, spend some time volunteering at the school and get to know other parents and teachers. You may get lucky and your child will make friends with another child who has a parent you actually enjoy, too!
Children also open doors by getting involved in activities of their own, which in turn allows you to come into contact with more people. No children? Take a college course or some other kind of class, attend church, start a new job, volunteer, or join a gym. All of these places put you in contact with other people who probably share some common interests with you.
Tip: There’s a Facebook page for most military installations — a virtual place to connect with others who are also new to the area.
By Sierra Tervo