I cannot tell you how many times, on a daily basis, I hear military spouses complain about how difficult it is to find friends at their new duty station. It’s scary when you move to a new place and your spouse is the only one you know, most especially when you have left your support system and group of friends behind. Finding new buddies can be especially hard if you’re an introvert versus an extrovert.
Regardless of how you find your friends, finding the right kind is just as important. After all, if your spouse is gone for any length of time, you’re going to need a reliable support system from others who understand exactly what you are feeling and going through. Your new tribe of friends is who you will draw your strength from and who you will return it to when they need it. Handling the military life without any type of support system in place is near impossible. Things are going to break as soon as your spouse leaves and you will have hard times. Struggles are a little less intense with a friend by your side who gets it.
You have to invest in a friendship, just like you invested your time and energy into your relationship with your spouse. To have a friend, you need to be one in return. Friendships are not one-sided, and don’t always happen on your terms. Be patient with new friendships and understand that military life is busy. It might take a couple of tries to meet up with a new friend, so don’t give up. Put yourself out there and find friends in different groups. Don’t always count on making friends in your spouse’s unit. It’s better to find friends outside of the unit to avoid drama and a conflict of interest anyway.
How exactly can you network and find new friends?
- Search for local and national military spouse groups on Facebook
- Go to spouse events such as USO’s Spouse Reset
- Get involved in the community (this could be directly in your neighborhood or the county you live in)
- Speak to a neighbor, two, or three
- Network with other career minded and job seeking military spouses through organizations like In Gear Career
- Join a fitness group for example; Heart on a Mission Wellness Team (free), Fit4Mom (1st class is free), or on post fitness classes (prices vary)
The point is, you cannot make friends while sitting at home. Get up, get dressed, and get out of your comfort zone. Take a chance and invite a potential friend out for coffee, lunch, an exercise class, or shopping. I promise it will be worth it, and you’ll find a new friend that will make this life more bearable.
© Wendi and Strength 4 Spouses, 2017.
How did you meet new friends at your new duty station?
Feel free to share in the comments section.