I’ve noticed some characteristics that seem to define milspouse friendships.
1. Jump in; the water’s fine!
We tend to close our eyes and jump feet first right into the pool of friendship!
Many of us have learned from frequent moves and separations from our spouses, that we aren’t guaranteed tons of time… or the normal stages of allowing a friendship to slowly blossom. Some of my best friends are those that I knew in real life for a YEAR. A. Year.
I’ve particularly noticed this in remote assignments.
At one tropical location, we went through several natural disasters (typhoons and earthquakes), which was a new situation for most of the military families there.
We also experienced interesting, near daily occurrences, like unexpected power outages. You become friends quickly when sharing gas rations for generators, scrubbing out laundry together with bottled water, or finding creative ways to keep toddlers cool in 100% humidity and 90+ degree temperatures- with no power!
Shared hardships seem to have a way of forging the best of friendships, especially when you have no family nearby to fall back on.
2. We get the niceties out of the way and move on.
But it’s not just hard times that bond us. While living in Germany, I met some women also on their first tour there who wished to explore Europe.
We took USO trips to Holland and Switzerland and day trips to the local markets together. Stumbling over ordering food from a German cafe or attempting to locate a restroom while on a walking tour of a small village (The bane of my existence in Europe—a sort of “Where’s Waldo?” search for a toilet!) made for LOTS of laughs and an easy transition into friendship.
I overheard a comment to another woman who’d recently moved to the area I’m currently in: “Yeah, you’ve only been here a year. It takes that long to get settled in before you get to know people.”
Obviously not military families! We tend to cut right to the chase.