It is official.. I’ve never spent more time trying to explain my thoughts in a blog post than I have for friendships and military life.
Unfortunately, friendships are one of the more complicated sides to this unique lifestyle.
I don’t think there is really a set answer to how you should make friends, but I’m willing to share what I’ve learned in my three years as a military spouse.
Defining military spouse friendships
These are not your everyday bonding experiences. In this situation, military spouse friendships are the ones you make with other military spouses. I’m not including relationships that you form with people in your community or workplace at your duty station.
In most cases, the friends you make at work or within your neighborhood at your duty station will sort of disappear when you PCS. Don’t fault them for it. This is simply a fact of life. Not everyone you meet is supposed to be your friend for forever.
Finding your tribe
I’ve found three main ways to make amazing friendships with other military spouses. Get involved with the FRG, meet the wives of your husband’s friends, and attend community events on base.
Maybe you’ve missed my 14 other posts about how important the Family Readiness Group is, but I talk about them a lot. I started out attending FRG events, then I became a key-caller, and now I do all of those things as well as being the co-treasurer. We have a tight knit group of ladies, and I am so fond of them. We call each other about anything from fundraisers to paint colors for our house. The people you meet in your Family Readiness Group will surely become your tribe. In short, join the FRG!
Okay, so you might not like ALL of the wives in your husband’s unit.. That is totally fine. In a group of 100 people you may only like half of them! That is how the cookie crumbles. If you’re open-minded and willing to get to know people you’ll find that you’ll like a good number of the people you come into contact with. To narrow down your search, meet the wives and girlfriends of your spouse’s close group. I am very fond of all the women who are married and dating the guys that hang out with my husband. We hang out as big groups, and it makes life much more fun.
Community events on base are sparse during pandemics, but there is no shortage of activities during normal times. On our base, Hunter Army Airfield, there are an even greater number of events around holidays. They have Easter egg hunts, Christmas tree giveaways, trunk or treating events.. and the list goes on. Attending those events with your family is a great way to meet other moms and making friendships for your little ones as well.
Maintaining long distance friendships
Maintaining long distance friendships are easier when your friends are fellow military families. They’re familiar with the busy lifestyle and the constant moving. They know how often plans change and things fall through. You can meet a group of friends at your first base and leave them two years later, but if you ever end up back together down the road, things will pick back up right where they left off.
If you find yourself in the situation of being separated from your best friends, there are a couple ways to handle things. Check in on your old friends. When you truly value a friendship you check in on each other when you can. You don’t guilt the other person for not speaking to you more often because you’re just happy to be catching up. If you can’t make time for a phone call, then opt for a text! Even commenting on a Facebook family photo is considered showing some love.
Don’t make it more complicated than it has to be. Other military families understand!
Sometimes explaining how friendships and military life connect feels like staring at one big dumpster fire. How do I explain that my closest friend lives 5 states away and we only speak once or twice a month?
You see, this lifestyle doesn’t give you the opportunity to have normal friendships.
Sometimes, all of the inconveniences turn out to be a blessing in disguise.. After all, we do the most for people we love.
I truly believe that the friendships I’ve made during my time as a military spouse are wholeheartedly genuine, and well worth the work it takes to maintain them.