By Guest Contributor, Jodi Vetter
1. Never assume anything.
The old saying goes, “when you assume, you make an ass out of you and me.” That’s the number one mistake I think people make when it comes to relating to others. Additionally, most of my other “rules” go back to not making assumptions.
2. Smile and be positive.
It takes more muscles to frown, than it does to smile. A smile can even disarm your biggest abuser, bully, or critic. One of my rules for going to a new base is—the base I am at is the best base in the world and it’s now my hometown. I was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minn., but my hometown is Niceville, Fla. If someone asks where I am from—I am from Niceville, Fla.
3. There’s always someone who has it worse. Be mindful.
One thing my husband always tells me is that pilots like to whine. I think everyone in the military likes to whine. It just makes the long hours, horrible pay, and outstanding living conditions all the more bearable. But keep in mind that there are others who have it worse.
4. Everyone has ideas and opinions.
Every person in the military, including spouses and family members have ideas and opinions, and each and every one of those opinions and ideas should be valued whether you agree with them or not. There is nothing more demoralizing than going into a spouse’s meeting with this grand new idea that would make contacting other spouses easier, only to have it systematically shot down.
5. Treat people how you would like to be treated.
People live up or down to whatever your expectations of them are. If you meet me, and see that I’m your boss’ spouse, if you come up to me roll your eyes and behave in a manner that you expect me to be rude, condescending, and mean. I will live up to your expectations. If you are introduced to me, and you treat me like I could be your next best friend forever, I probably will be your next best friend forever. Treat people with respect, and you will get respect right back. Now if only I could teach my father-in-law that!
Good friends, bad trips image via CC by 2.o on Flickr by Artriarch.
Jodi Vetter is a veteran and military spouse. She has been married 16 years and has two wonderful children. In 2011, Jodi was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, a high functioning form of autism. Her son, Ryan (9), also has autism. She has made it her life’s work to advocate for adults and children on the autism spectrum. She is currently working on a memoir documenting her experiences as a veteran, military spouse, and woman with autism. She is also published in Chicken Soup For Soul: Raising Kids On The Spectrum and her poetry has been published in different magazines and college publications. In her spare time she enjoys running marathons, half marathons, and other endurance sports, stand up paddleboarding, and Crossfit. Read more of her work on her blog!