Making friends as a military spouse is almost like speed dating.
You arrive at a location.
You put your best self out there.
You awkwardly approach new people and share personal details of your lives.
And just when you are getting comfortable with a person, you move on.
It’s weird and strange to essentially look at making friends like this, but it is strangely accurate.
The MilSpouse way of friendships is also insanely cool. My husband likes to refer to my social group as The Network or The Spouses. Once you are in, you are in and have access to all sorts of great insights and tricks of the trade.
How to build a milspouse network
For example, our upcoming move OCONUS? Yeah, it would have been a bumpy ride without The Spouses behind us!
So, do you want in? Get ready to create your own awesome MilSpouse network coast to coast, or around the globe.
1. Put yourself out there!
No seriously, do it.
It will feel slightly uncomfortable for a few minutes while you are the newbie and jumping into the deep end. But in the end it will be worth it!
Look around your base or current duty station for groups or activities that you enjoy. Into running? Check out Stroller Warriors or Stroller Strides for an insta-community of other like minded people.
There are countless ways to do good in our community, too. From the USO to unit family readiness groups to service organizations like the Red Cross, there is a spot for everyone.
Or just walk up to random people in your new neighborhood and introduce yourself. Find a mom or dad with kids the same-ish ages as yours. Or approach a family with a sweet pup for doggie playdates.
Or just put up a flyer: New to Area MilSpouse Seeks Friends.
2. Join the Social Media groups
Our grandparents had letters and whoever they could find on-base. We have the world-wide web and thousands of other people ready to share advice, tips, and tricks gleaned from collective decades of military experience.
Find the spouse’s page(s) for your current duty station, neighborhood, or housing area. Watch for events like movie nights, swim lessons, or recreational sports leagues.
Or join a branch or situation specific page, like New Marine Corps Moms or Navy Chief Spouses. Then ask your questions! I’ve asked about everything from PCS moves to military ball etiquette. I’ve seen posts about housing options for different areas, best school choices, and stories about ridiculous moves.
No questions are too off the wall!
3. Find the Bloggers
Congrats! You already did this one! You have found a great website and blog that shares awesome tips, tricks, and stories from the home front of this military life.
Bloggers are a great source of knowledge, and sometimes freebies. The military blogging community is growing quickly, and represents almost every group in the military community: married, dating, engaged, kids, no kids, fur kids, religious, non-religious, conservative, liberal, gay, straight, male, and female.
This awesome group of writers is here to share info about everything involved in military life. From boot camp tales to deployment care packages, PCS tricks to school tips. There is a page or post just for what you need right now.
4. Share your knowledge
If you have been around the block a time or two, chances are that you have learned something new. Spread the love and pass that information along to the newer spouses, or even “experienced” ones. We all like to learn a different way to get things accomplished more smoothly or easily!
If you see a Facebook question posted, and you know the answer, go ahead and respond respectfully. If there is a gap in the blogging community, pitch an idea to your favorite blogs and write an article.
Or start your own blog! That’s exactly what I did when I saw a gap between what our community knew about K-12 school issues, what K-12 legal statues are, and what non-military connected teachers knew about working with military families. So I created MilKids Ed, a resource for parents AND teachers of military children!
We all benefit when we share our resources.
5. Repeat at each new duty station
Some of the ways that we connect in the military are constant, like blogs and service-wide Facebook pages. Others are duty station specific, like pages just for Okinawa or volunteer groups just on Fort Bragg. And we can’t always take our core group of friends with us.
So we have to create new connections each and every time we move. Luckily, it does get easier with every move. If you have done the awkward meet and greet once, the second and hundredth times become that much less weird. It starts to become routine, like moving to a new table at speed dating.
We are currently in the process of moving, and thanks to my network of resources, I already have connections at our new location! I am all set up with Stroller Warriors, joined some local spouse Facebook pages, and (luckily) get to take a few of my very dear friends with me this time. So many of my questions about base housing, pet stuff, and jobs have already been answered. I feel moderately confident about this transition as a result.
All because I built a deep and wide network of other spouses to draw from!
How do you grow your personal MilSpouse network?
Meg Flanagan is a teacher, blogger, and freelance writer/editor. She is published on Homefront United Network, National Military Family Association, NextGen MilSpouse and the Education Tourist. Meg currently writes about all things education at MilKids Education Consulting.
Want more on military life?
- 21 Long Distance Friendship Truths Only a Military Spouse Would Understand
- 43 Awesome Tips Every New Military Wife Needs to Know
- Military Girlfriend to Military Wife: One Important Lesson You’ll Never Forget
- Military Base Etiquette: 10 Small Ways to Avoid a Giant SNAFU