Friends are an important part of life, but when you’re in the military, it’s even vital that you have friendships to provide support and care through the challenges of military life. Yet military life often means many moves, as PCS orders are always waiting around the next corner. How can you make meaningful, lasting friendships in the crazy life of the military family? Consider these ideas.
1. Meet the Neighbors
As soon as you move to a new location, go out of your way to meet the neighbors. Sometimes this is easy, because some communities work hard to embrace new residents. Sometimes it’s not so easy. If your neighbors aren’t jumping up to meet you, go knock on the door. You never know when you will meet your next soul mate who lives just down the road.
2. Find a Group
Find a group you can join that will give you the chance to meet others. It may be a mom-and-baby playgroup, a church, a civic volunteer organization or a club that involves a hobby you love. You may even find joining the local YMCA is a good way to expand your social reach and make some friends. Whatever it is, jump in and start making friends with similar interests.
3. Utilize Social Media
The great thing about being in the military today is the fact that saying “goodbye” does not mean you can’t continue to keep up with the ones you leave behind. Tap into social media, and use it to stay connected with the people who are true friends. You may need their support when you face deployment or simply need someone to chat with after landing in a new location.
4. Join the Family Readiness Group or Equivalent for Your Branch
The Family Readiness Group, Key Spouse program or other formal spouse program for your branch can be a great source of friendships, as these groups connect military spouses with other military spouses for support and care during deployment. Here you can talk to others who are navigating military life in your unit, and you just might find a particular friend at one of these meetings.
5. Get a Part-Time Job
Sometimes your best friends will be the friends you make at work. While you may not be able to devote much time to a true career, because you might have to move again soon, you can work a seasonal or part-time job. This can garner you some civilian friends and connections.
6. Initiate Contact
Sometimes, you’re going to have to be the one to initiate contact. Invite someone over for dinner, friend someone on Facebook that you’ve met in the community or host a party in your home for your neighbors or coworkers. Initiating the contact can build friendships, even when others are not taking that initiative.
It’s not easy to make friends when you’re on the move, but it is possible. Put in a little effort now, and you will find people you can connect with who will stick with you even when military life sends you packing.