If there’s one thing being an Army spouse of 14 years has taught me, it’s how to find what you need from what you’ve got.
Sure, we all have spouses and partners, but depending on assignments we don’t always know when our service members will be home each day. Or even when will be the next time we’ll both have the energy for a date night that doesn’t consist of Netflix and chilling on the sofa.
Military spouses need friends outside of our partners and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
The reality is, we military spouses sometimes get so caught up with ensuring that our service members, children, fur babies and jobs are alright that we neglect that we need people too!
We need people who check in and on us.
We need people who don’t need anything other than our winsome personalities.
With so many variables in our military lives, friendship is essential to practice regular self-care no matter where Uncle Sam has sent you and your loved ones.
Developing friendships and support systems outside of your spouse is a healthy way to fight burn out and to live your best life!
Now, there’s no guarantee that each move will result in lifelong friendships, in fact, most won’t. That’s just not how people or the world works. But each locale does bring new opportunities to meet like-minded folks.
The trick is being willing to put yourself out there and FRINGLE (friends + mingle)!
For your long-term mental health and over-all enjoyment of this military life, a military spouse needs to look for these 4 types of friends:
The Trustworthy Ride-or-Die Friend
This person may be a childhood friend, sibling or military spouse friend. Either way you NEED a ride-or-die friend in your life. Cherish and nourish this relationship because this person always has your back, will listen to you talk shit about any and everything, let you cry, and knows where the bodies are buried.
When the odds are in your favor this person is local, but even when your ride-or-die friend isn’t next door, you know they’re just a phone call away.
But don’t get it twisted, every new pal is NOT a Ride-or-Die friend.
Where can I find a ride-or-die friend? Military spouse may meet them at any military installation, a social club, elementary or high school, college, your mother’s womb…when it happens you just know.
The Explorer Friend
This person either knows the locale or is willing to learn. Groupon is their friend and an explorer friend loves to try new things. This is the pal that will enthusiastically join you for a jaunt, host a cooking class or invite you to a wine tasting.
Nothing beats the blues like getting out of the house and seeing something new. Sometimes we all need a nudge. Cultivating a friendship with an adventurous soul can be empowering and great fun in this military life.
Where can I find an explore friend? Military spouses may meet them at an interest specific MeetUp group, a local 5k charity run, newcomer’s brief, museum, park, special interest club, an area/installation Facebook group or page.
The Wine Down Friend
Ah yes, third on the list but of vital importance. Whether your beverage of choice is chai tea, Riesling, lager or a diet Coke everyone needs and deserves a kick back and small talk buddy.
Your wine down friend doesn’t need to know your whole life story, become your kid’s godparent or even share a love of your favorite color. But they should be pleasant to be around and willing to share a drink and possibility some appetizers too! Oftentimes your ride-or-die and explorer friends fit into this category as well.
The wine down friend deserves its own spot on the friendship list because we don’t always have ALL-IN-ONE friends at every military installation.
Where can I find a wine down friend? Military spouses may meet them at a mom’s coffee group, on the J.O.B., the PTO/PTA meetings, the gym, Starbucks, in a spouses’ club or in your neighborhood.
The Same Interest Friend
Do you have snorkeling skills, reading skills, public speaking skills, coloring skills, singing skills, drumming skills, crafting skills…..? Chances are there is another spouse or civilian a stone’s throw away with the same hobby or passion.
Explore the world, you aren’t the only Muggle around!
The same interest friend may already be part of a group or club that actively celebrates your interests. However, if you can’t find a group consider starting one yourself. You’ll be amazed at how many others are out there longing for book, hiking or puzzle-building clubs. If you build it, they will come.
Where can I meet a same interest friend? Military spouses may find them at a MeetUp group, the installation’s hobby shop, at the beach, local craft stores, Facebook special interest pages, fitness stores and meetings for special interest groups.
For however long your partner serves in the military, military life is your life. Make the most of this grand adventure with these 4 friends by your side. We all get by with a little help from our friends.