By Julie Steed
When I arrived at our current duty station, I felt like I would never make a friend. I was so upset. But another military spouse reminded me that we cry as much when we leave a place as we do when we first arrive. It’s so true. We grieve when we have to leave our friends and go somewhere new, but the process always repeats itself with each duty station because new friendships are just waiting to be discovered.
Whether you’ve PCS’d once or you’re on your fifteenth move, you’ve probably had the same experience. Being the new person on the street can be un-fun to say the least, and relationships take time to develop. But the truth is, opportunities for friendship are all around if you just know where to look.
Here are 5 places to find friends:
1. How many houses or apartments can you see from your front or back door? Each of those homes represents a chance at finding friendship. Head outside during a time when other neighbors are out and about. Introduce yourself and see if you might have something in common – pets, kids or previous duty stations. If you click with someone, make plans to meet again.
2. Churches and other places of worship offer many small-group activities that happen on a recurring basis. Join a Bible study, sing in the choir or offer your time as a volunteer. Seeing people with similar values and beliefs on a regular basis will increase your chances of finding and developing lasting relationships.
3. Join a spouses’ group (or two or three) for a way to meet other milspouses in need of support, encouragement and friendship. Spouses’ groups offer a variety of opportunities, like book club, wine tasting or BUNCO. Check around your installation to see what groups might be available and appealing to you.
4. Look for groups that walk, run or ride bikes together, or form your own group (just one other person is all you need). Go to the base gym and try out aerobics classes or weight lifting. Show your skills playing dodgeball, soccer or softball — teams are often available to adults on military installations and through local recreation departments for a nominal fee. Finding exercise-minded people will help you grow friendships while honing your inner athlete. [Check out Stroller Warriors – started by Stephanie Geraghty, 2012 Marine Spouse of the Year.]
5. If you have a child, you have instant access to an entire group of people with similar interests — other parents. Go to playgrounds and initiate conversations with other moms and dads. Find a playgroup that caters to your child’s specific age group so that the little guy will be entertained while you chat with other adults. Hit it off with one parent in particular? Schedule a play date so that you can get together again.
Where are the best spots that you have found new friends? Leave a tip in the comments below and we could include it in this article.
Christine Harkness – Your Family Readiness Group. These are the families going through what you are on the same schedule as you. They are an invaluable resource from information and friendship
Jillian Geld Alexander – Taking classes at Fleet & Family and volunteering with organizations on base.