Moving every few years in military life can put a real dent in your friendships. After a move, it’s very common to be back at square one in the friends department. A big fat ZERO starring you in the face when it comes friends and family nearby. That can be really tough.
I’ve moved twice in the past 5 years, so if you are feeling in need of a good friendship, I know how you feel. My husband and I just moved overseas, so it’s not like I can simply fly to visit a friend or family member as easily as before. And after traveling internationally with a baby, it’s not something I’m very eager to do any time soon.
This means making friends is incredibly important to help myself build a support network. My husband will be gone quite a bit on and off, which emphasizes the point that I need friends FAST. Over the years, I’ve learned some really awesome ways to meet friends quickly. I hope these tips will help you make new friends quickly and help you feel encouraged after a military PCS move.
1. Smile – fake it until you can make it.
People who appear friendly (i.e. a smiling person) are more likely to be approached by potential friends than those who do not smile. Even if you aren’t super happy on a given day, it’s important to smile and have a good attitude.
Others will recognize this and will feel more comfortable approaching you when you are out and about in your community.
2. Introduce yourself to your neighbors.
Being friends with your neighbors is really a dying art form. When you move somewhere new, always knock on your neighbor’s door, tell them a bit about yourself, and invite them to stop over sometime. Even if you are skeptical about becoming friends with your neighbors, I would really stress the importance of at least having some relationship with them.
If you are flying solo while your husband is away, and you find yourself in a real pinch, being able to rely on your neighbors is so, so important.
3. Join a Facebook group.
If you live in a military community, it is very likely there is a Facebook group for your given area. If there isn’t, I would start one. Wives of such and such military base is a great place to start a search on Facebook. These groups allow for easy and frequent communication without feeling like to you are being “too much” with people whom you don’t know very well. If you have a quick question, such as where to find good child care or what are some great restaurants in this area, the Facebook group is a great resource.
Additionally, military spouses love to help other military spouses. You could also say, “I’m new to the area, does anyone have suggestions for places to meet new friends?” You might be surprised at how informative and friendly many of the spouses are towards you. You may just get invited over for lunch somewhere or asked to join a mom group in the area.
4. Seek out the military community resources in your area.
Every military branch has a community services department that host lots of family friendly events. Even if you’re weary about this, I would get on the website and mark down a few events to attend. This helps you put yourself out there, and you never know when and how you will meet other moms, who are looking to form friendships too.
One of the things I did when we first moved to Okinawa was join the New Parents Support Group, and I’m so glad I did. This is for all mamas. You don’t need to be a mom who is struggling or in need.
Simply put, this group is for everyday mamas looking for potential new friends and a little bit of socialization for their child. It is run by a facilitator with experience in child development. We do activities for small children, read, and sing songs. Afterward, moms can talk and network amongst each other. An easy, friendly environment for moms to make friends.
5. Keep on truckin’.
Everyone is in the same boat as you. Literally everyone. All military spouses are all too familiar with picking up and moving every few years. We all need to make new friends all the time.
So if you are ever feeling discouraged, remember this: there is another military spouse out there who is feeling the exact same way. Probably hundreds actually. We are all dying to make new friends with each other. So next time you see someone that looks friendly, go ahead and smile, say hi, and invite them over for a cup of coffee or tea.
What are your best tips for meeting new friends in military life? Please share in the comments so we can all learn your awesome ideas!
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