If you’re new in town, do you wonder: How do you make friends as a military spouse?
As an adult, friendships aren’t as easy as they were when we were kids. You can’t exactly go up to someone on the swing set and say, “Let’s be friends.”
But, you can put yourself out there.
From spouse clubs to books clubs and everything in-between, you can find your tribe as a military spouse. Here we share how to find new friends at your newest duty station without feeling like the awkward new kid in town.
Ready to learn how to make military friends?
Why Making Military Friends Matters
When you PCS to a new location, perhaps the lowest to-do item on your list is making new friends. You may just want to bump it up a few notches, though.
Not only do military friends get what you’re going through like no one else (sorry childhood BFF!), they usually turn into life-long friends, too. Psychology studies show that friendship enriches your life and can improve your health.
Authentic friendships can:
- Boost your happiness
- Minimize your stress
- Improve your self-confidence
- Increase your sense of belonging
- Help you deal with life events like illness or death
Besides, who wants to go through an entire deployment feeling alone?
Making military friends can ease the burden of loneliness and make the time pass by faster. And you never know which friends will end up at your next duty station with you! Military life is crazy like that.
How Do You Make Friends as a Military Spouse?
When it seems like you’re moving every other week, at times it can feel pointless to make new friendships. On the flip side, think about all the friendships you might be missing if you decide to keep to yourself instead.
If you’re an introvert, this can feel overwhelming and go against everything in your being. Instead, look at it as an opportunity to meet new people and get an introduction to new cultures and ideas.
When you’re always losing part of your military tribe, moving, or trying to balance life, it can also feel like making friends is a low priority. Even if you have a busy family life, demanding job, or children, carving out time for friendships is still possible for the busiest people.
Not sure where to start?
Here are a few ideas on how to find your military tribe:
- Join a spouse group – If you’re new to the area, look into on-base military spouse groups. These groups are specifically designed to help milspouses find new friends and build support networks. Sometimes you’ll meet for meals or special events. Other groups have subgroups based on interests like running, yoga, reading, etc.
- Work on a hobby – Whether you’re looking for a new hobby or want to continue an old one, there’s no time like the present. If you’re on your base’s social networking sites, ask if other spouses have similar interests and would like to join you. If you’ve been at a hobby for a long time, it’s also a good way to teach others what you know!
- Volunteer – Not only is volunteering good for the community, but it’s also good for you. Studies show volunteering lifts spirits and improves health. You can find volunteer opportunities on your base or even branch out into your local community to learn more about your new location. Soup kitchens, pet shelters, and nursing homes are a few places to start.
- Join a faith community – If you’re a spiritual or religious person, find a new faith organization to call home. Since most military bases are in good-sized cities, there’s probably no shortage of faith organizations in your area.
- Start a book club – Love to read? Then consider starting a book club with other military spouses who are book lovers. Compile a reading list and work through a new book every month. Most libraries or bases have meeting rooms you can sign up to use. Here’s a reading list to get you started!
- Log in to LinkedIn – If you’re passionate about networking, consider plumping up your LinkedIn profile. Connect with other military spouses, veterans, and join military-friendly groups. Be active in conversations and you may be able to connect quickly with other professionals in your area!
- Get involved as a military community leader – Military installations usually have built-in opportunities for military families to meet (FRGs and unit events, for example). Get out of your shell and go! If you live on base, it’s a super convenient way to meet like-minded people.
- Use Meetup.com – If you’re at a total loss for what to do, type your interests into Meetup.com. No, it’s not a dating app. You can join local groups to meet people like you. Find groups meeting up for activities like cardio tennis, writing, cooking, marathon training, kayaking, language practice, and more!
Find Military Friends to Lift You Up
Military friends don’t appear out of thin air.
You have to get up the nerve to go out there and meet them. It can feel a little uncomfortable at first, but it’s well worth it when you do find a friendship that clicks.
No matter what your lifestyle looks like — kids, no kids, working, not working — there are plenty of military peeps looking for friends like yourself. If none of the ideas above strike a chord with you, think outside the box.
A few more ideas:
- Head to a popular coffee shop
- Go to the base gym
- Set playdates at a local park
Check out your base’s MWR calendar, too. There are always tons of free movies, concerts, and entertainment events that bring out herds of people — any one of which who could turn out to be your new military BFF.
How do you make friends in your military community? We’d love to hear your ideas in the comments below. Plus, you might meet a new friend!
Feature image courtesy of Unsplash