6) We want to be your friend
For real! We’re not kidding! Don’t forget, we are military spouses just like you. We miss our friends when we PCS and long to make new connections. There’s nothing fun about sitting in a meeting with a bunch of people you know nothing about.
We want to goof around and plan our next wine night once the important business is out of the way! We’re not some untouchable faceless blob bombarding your email with updates and requests. If you swing by my house unannounced, I promise we can split a bottle of Pinot Grigio, make inappropriate jokes, and become BFFs!
7) Miscommunications happen all the time
I cannot begin to count the number of times I’ve spoken with somebody who refuses to participate in an FRG because they weren’t contacted by their leader. They feel as if they were purposely snubbed in some way and, while I sympathize, I have never heard of a situation where this wasn’t completely accidental.
In order to end up on an FRG roster, there needs to be seamless communication between a spouse’s servicemember, a liaison officer, the commander, and the FRG leader. You can imagine how often things fall between the cracks before reaching that last person…
Again, we are all human and mistakes happen. If you haven’t been contacted, it is almost certainly because your FRG leader has not been given the information or the contact information she was given was incorrect or poorly written – I’m looking at you, grown adults with sloppy handwriting!
Before assuming the worst, seek out the information you are looking for from your spouse, a friend, or even a local Facebook group. Trust us, we want to meet you!
8) Communication is key
Just as we can’t be held responsible when we don’t know you exist, we also can’t be expected to know about every problem if you don’t communicate. I have watched a lot of Long Island Medium but I’m sad to say that I still have no mind reading abilities.
Big news, like hospitalizations, pregnancies, births, etc. usually reach us by word of mouth but it’s always a good idea to connect with your leader if you require assistance of some sort. If we send out an email requesting feedback, please take a short commercial break to shoot us an email or text. It can often feel like pulling teeth figuring out what’s important to our spouses and then wind up organizing events that no one is interested in.
Whether you are happy with the way things are going or frustrated with our performance in some way, we really value your input. All too often, I have found out through word of mouth about issues a spouse has that could have easily been resolved with a simple conversation.
“Understand that our entire purpose is to support YOU. Just, whatever you do, please be polite. The verbal smackdowns we endure are well above our (non) pay grade.”
9) We are not the commander
We may be married to the commander…or we may not. Either way, we are our own person. Whatever decisions our spouse makes on the clock have nothing to do with us. It’s normal for a spouse to come home and vent about workplace frustrations. And it’s normal to feel frustrated for your spouse in those situations.
But we may be entirely unaware of whatever situation has you upset. And we almost certainly had nothing to do with it because, say it with me now – we are not the commander. Contempt and hostility can shatter group morale and breed negativity. Just commit to being positive and remember that soldier interactions are irrelevant to FRG business.
10) It’s worth your time
It really is. Even if your FRG isn’t monetarily successful or doesn’t have enough support to function at a grand scale, you will never regret giving it an honest chance. The men and women who comprise your FRG are a ready-made fountain of information when you have recently PCS’d.
Take advantage of the resources they can provide. Recognize that they have your best interests at heart. And, eventually, you may realize that you have a lot in common.
At the end of the day, we are all in this crazy, fast-paced, unpredictable military life together. It’s a life many in the civilian world can’t fully comprehend. So embrace the ones who do! The shared struggles alone can usually bridge the gap between any personality differences that may exist. So just give it a shot. I have never regretted it and I’m willing to bet you won’t either.