Finding Meaningful Friendships In Military Spouse Life
We all need people. People we can depend on, people we can connect with, and people we can have meaningful relationships with.
We might make a new friend, and find out they are moving in three months.
We might have the perfect group of friends, knowing we will PCS in just a few months.
We might be brand new to our duty station and feel overwhelmed with starting over yet another time.
The truth is, we need to find these meaningful friendships to help us through our military spouse lives.
Having a deployment buddy makes the time go by that much faster. Knowing you have people to invite over for a pizza night when he has 24-hour CQ, your three-year-old refuses to pee in the potty, and five-month-old starts waking up every two hours again.
Finding your people will get you through some of your hardest times as a military spouse. People you can depend on, people who get this life, and people you can help in return.
Finding those meaningful friendships isn’t always easy, and sometimes they can take longer than we want to find the right person, but here are some things to think about when it comes to finding meaningful friendships in military spouse life:
Open up about your struggles
This one is hard for me, so very hard, but when you can open up about your struggles, you can bond with others who have been through them too. Maybe it is a long deployment you didn’t think you could get through, maybe you had a miscarriage last year, maybe your marriage is struggling, and you simply don’t know what to do about it.
Opening up and sharing everything to everyone you meet is not a good idea, but if you feel like you can trust the person, opening up can be a way to connect and start the journey of becoming much closer friends.
A year is still enough time
Having five to ten years or more of in-person friendship is ideal, that isn’t our reality as military spouses who move every few years. What can happen is that you can meet someone, be around them for a year, and continue your friendship across the miles.
You can text, email, and video chat. You can plan to see each other and be intentional about connecting even though you are far away. Plus, you never know when the military might bring you guys back around to the same duty station in the future.
Stay in touch
If a friend moves away, make sure you take the time to reach out to them. Send a text asking how they are doing, comment on their photos on Facebook, or send an email asking them about the next stage of their life.
This can be difficult sometimes. Life does move on. People get involved at their new duty station. But that doesn’t mean that when you say goodbye to a friend, that has to be the last time you connect with them.
Be a listening ear
Be there for people. Offer up a listening ear. Be trustworthy so that you can connect with others. Being there for others will go a long way in helping you find those meaningful relationships that you are looking for.
Make sure you are getting out there
Are you getting out of the house looking for ways to make friends? Did you try once and then said forget it? Sometimes we try to make friends once, it doesn’t work out, and we don’t want to try again.
I would encourage you to keep going. At a military installation, people are always moving in, there are always new people to meet. It is normal to get discouraged when new friends aren’t happening as soon as you want them to, but you have to keep putting yourself out there.
If you are on the shy side or can’t seem to get yourself to go places, try online. There are probably a lot of different Facebook groups out there for your duty station. Some might be more general and others hobby or age specific.
Remember, so many of the other military spouses at your duty station are looking for meaningful friendships too. You are not alone in this. Try to get out there, meet others, and do what you can to find friends, no matter where you are stationed, or how long you will be there.
Where did you meet some of your best friends???