A couple weeks ago a friend of mine and fellow military spouse asked me if it was easy for me to make friends. And I responded with, “I think so?”. I definitely had to think about it a little bit and then I went on and shared my many experiences when it came to making friends every time we moved. Let me just say it wasn’t always the happiest of memories when it came to making friends.
After I graduated from college in 2011, I moved cross-country to live with the mister during his training before he was officially assigned to a submarine. The first place we lived was Charleston, South Carolina, the first few months was quite the transition for me. Believe it or not, I didn’t have my license at the time, so I was stuck in our house for those first couple of months. Getting a little house crazy and eager to find a job, I flew back home for a week to get my license; success! I met a few people during our time in SC, one got me into Mary Kay and I quickly learned that it wasn’t my niche at all. I applied for my first restaurant job and got it, which was extremely exciting, and the pay was nice. Yet again, I didn’t really like the job and I didn’t take well to rude customers … no one gets paid enough to deal with that crap, so props to all of you that work in the food industry! Not too long after that, I got a job working retail and that’s where I made most of my friends at.
Sometimes making friends in the military community is a go-to, but it didn’t quite work out for me in Charleston. Everyone has different personalities and I didn’t exactly find someone that I connected with. There was one of the wives from A’s class that I got along with and hung out with quite bit. Being in Charleston was a huge learning experience for me, it was my first time away from home, major learning driving experience was gained, so everyday was a growing experience.
I spent most of my time at work and grew close to a few of my co-workers. We’d hang out after our work shifts or make ways downtown to dance the night away. I loved it. And that’s when I realized, you won’t always make friends in the military community, but that’s perfectly OK.
I made good friends with a few of A’s academy friends that were in Charleston as well. I was like their adopted sister, so we’d always hang out every now and then. During our last couple of months in Charleston, that’s when I started going out more and hanging out with my friends. And that was me stepping out of my comfort zone and actually getting out there to make friends.
Next up was Upstate New York, we lived in a small town and I took that as another great opportunity to make new friends. Naturally, we hung out with a few of the guys from A’s class from prototype just about every weekend. Bar hopping, more dancing, going out to dinners. There was a great group of military spouses here, but I only hung out with them a couple of times. There are a few that I still kept in contact with while we were on Oahu.
I tried making friends in the volleyball community, but it was a small one and it was tough laying down some roots to really form those relationships. And then we were off to Oahu.
Our boat’s wardroom especially my fellow spouses, we all clicked right away. We were kind of a tight knit group, which was something I wasn’t expecting at all. Weeks before I arrived, a few them reached out to via Facebook and I appreciated it quite a bit. And this made it extremely easy to get through our first deployment.
One thing I was extremely thankful for was my volleyball friends that I’ve made on Oahu. There was a friend from college that brought me to a few open gyms and that’s where new friendships were formed. Volleyball was one of my constants and has been my best experience when it came to making new friends.
Something I always tell other military spouses is to make friends outside of the military community. Military life can get hectic and frustrating, so it’s nice to have that group of friends to bring you some sort of normalcy away from the military world.
x | be yourself; I have my weird quirks, find someone who accepts you for you.
x | make friends outside of the military spouse community
x | step out of your comfort zone
x | join a group with same interests; tennis club, hiking group, etc.
x | and remember it’s okay if you don’t quite click with other military spouses
Making new friends can be tough sometimes, most of the time you start from square one every time you move around. That’s why I like calling them new adventures, making new friends in a new place definitely falls under that category. This post was a lot longer than I expected it to, if you made it to the end, thanks for reading!
Have you had any struggles when it came to making new friends or was it pretty easy for you?