“Let’s go sit in the driveway with our firepit and drink a beer,” he said.
With that one simple suggestion, we were searching (sitting 😉) to find some new friends after PCSing.
Grab the dog and the kids and make them come out there too.
We’re like a display at a mall. We should’ve made a sign that read, “In search of friends. We aren’t creepy at all. Just desperate.”
But apparently totally effective.
These are my all-time favorite ways to make friends after PCSing.
After 45 minutes, we had several families that stopped for a quick chat and one who sat down around our fire to stay for a bit.
And so it begins…a season of new friendships in military life. It’s almost like dating. Sort of.
1. Host a Bunco night (or any game night).
Bunco parties are easy icebreakers because they combine an activity with socialization. Lull in the conversation? Simply keep playing Bunco and roll the dice.
Then follow up with a personal get-to-know-you type question. Conversations are more casual and feel less awkward than simply going out for a one-on-one lunch or coffee.
2. Head to the playground (or the dog park).
I like to head to the parks as much as we can. My kids can play with other kids, and I can say ‘Hi’ to other parents. It’s another great way to feel like you are doing something (i.e. keeping busy watching your kids) while fitting in some casual conversation intermittently.
If I run into someone a few times at the playground, this is usually another time that I may say, “Hey, I’ll shot you a text with my number in case you want to meet up again!”
Again, it feels very casual, while still making some sort of connection and having a way to contact a person in the future.
3. Invite your neighbors over for dinner.
We LOVE inviting our neighbors over for dinner. They don’t necessarily have to be right next door, they could even been neighbors down the road. If I see one of my neighbors in passing, I will just say, “Hey my husband and I would love to have your family over for dinner next week. Is there a night that would work for you?”
If they say yes, I try set a tentative date and plan.
4. Invite your service member’s co-workers over for dinner.
Basically the same as above, except I ask my husband to invite a co-worker and his family over for dinner one night the following week. Works the same way, just a different group of people.
5. Start a weekly playgroup.
In my last post I talked about joining a Facebook group in your area, such as ‘Spouses of such and such military base.’ Using a Facebook group, I may ask if anyone is interested in starting a weekly playgroup for kids similar to my kids’ ages. Being specific with a weekly day and time that you would like to host helps. I am often surprised at how many parents are looking for this opportunity as well.
6. Join a stroller group.
There are groups like stroller warriors or walking groups around many military base areas. If there are none nearby, I simply start my own. Using a Facebook group to reach out to other spouses is a super easy way to get the ball rolling.
7. Say “Hi” to others.
Being a friendly helps build friendships. I always try to say ‘hi’ and wave when I see someone. This opens the door for a potential conversation. It could be at the grocery store, the playground, or while out for a walk in the neighborhood. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Just a simple hello.
8. Volunteer with for your Family Readiness Officer.
A family readiness officer (FRO) is only as strong as her volunteers, and more often than not, they are looking for people just like you. Events or meetings that a FRO holds are often child friendly since in the many of us in the military community have small children. Explore if he or she has an opportunities for you. It could be a great way to meet other military spouses just like yourself.
18 Military Spouses Share Their Favorite Ways to Make Friends After PCSing.
These are tips and ideas military spouses shared after being asked their favorite ways to make new friends when you know noone at your next duty station.
1. “Sit home alone with my 1 year old waiting for an extrovert to adopt me as their new friend “
2. “PWOC (Protestant women of the chapel) or CWOC (Catholic women of the Chapel). There is in one at almost every military installation! It’s always my first stop!”
3. “The local (MFRC) Military Family Resource Center in your area. The serving spouse can help find out where it is.”
4. “Walks with kids exploring market for free events or mom groups. I loved mom workout groups they inspired me and gave me some of the greatest people to meet!”
5. “I made friends at the high school football games. I volunteered for the touchdown club.”
6. “Randomly talk to people at the bx, shoppette, and commissary. Take the kids to the park and let them work their cuteness. My kids also play sports so we meet people at the practices and games.”
7. “Kickball! Best way to meet spouses in your husbands unit and other spouses, and get out of the house! So much fun. Also plugging into a church. I’ve met a lot of wives at gym classes and stroller warriors as well (as long as I find another walker as I don’t run )”
8. “Volunteer, part time job, spouses club or random interest clubs, PTA at your child’s school, ask current friends if they know anyone where I am headed to that would vibe with me or show me the ropes in my new town, join a fitness/yoga class at community centers, church, attend craft fairs/farmers markets, go out for yard sales “
9. “Volunteering, jointing the local Girl Scouts and also participating with the LINKS program or spouse clubs.”
10. “Bowling or join a league! Meet people at the local proshop.“
11. “My sister and brother-in-law had bunch of his work over. They were all talking about work so she posted in the wives group that she had “pizza and wine if anyone wants to hang” out! and one girl came over to hang now they are friends!”
12. “Sitting in the driveway with a beer and hoping someone comes by that also enjoys sitting in the driveway with a beer.”
13. “Tell an awkward joke amongst a large group then befriend the ones that get my sense of humor.”
14. “Go to the park with the kids and start talking to moms! Ask if they want to get together same time next week! Made the best of mom friends that way.”
15. “Attend housing events-crafts, movies, check out the local Chick-fil-A for others with kids your kids age “
16. “We have only had one PCS in 6 years and I met most of them from Facebook.”
17. “The library. Always comfy , story time for kids, books , magazines & info to entertain you for ages and the librarians themselves are some of the friendliest & most knowledgeable on post . Then you join ( or create) a book club & instant circle of friends.”
18. “It was so much easier when kids were little – but spouses club, SFRG, soccer games and neighbors.”
We are all in the same situation, looking for new friendships to build. Making the effort and trying a few of these tips can really make all the difference in the world. It’s helped me immensely!
What are your best ways for making new friends in military life?
Want more on military life?
- 21 Long Distance Friendship Truths Only a Military Spouse Will Understand
- The One Thing You’ll Miss Most During Deployment
- 47 Things No One Tells You About Being a Military Wife
- 3 Telltale Signs You’re Friends With an Awesome Military Spouse
- To My Military Spouse Friends…You’ll Never Know
- 9 Reasons Why Making Military Spouse Friends Is Exactly Like Dating