The Do's & Dont's of Meeting New People | Anchors Aweigh


The Do's & Dont's of Meeting New People

When it comes to military life, you uproot your lives about as often as Joey uses the catch phrase "How you doin?". We move all. the. time. We've lived in 5 homes in 3 years, which is exhausting just typing. With the moving, we are constantly making new friends. We had amazing friends in Pensacola, and then the Navy made us move. We had amazing friends in Kingsville, and then Corpus Christi, and the Navy made us move. We have amazing friends here, and I am fairly confident the Navy will see another opportunity and make us move again, but you never know. The point is, we have to step out of our comfort zones and meet people if we don't want to go nuts. 

I didn't try to meet anyone the first couple of months in Pensacola, which was our first duty station, and that was a mistake. I was just new to the military life and didn't want to put myself out there. Once I finally did, those people became some of the best friends we have ever had. Meeting new people can be awkward or it can be really easy and fun. I realized that I can dictate how the experience goes based on how willing I am to get out of my comfort zone and say hello. I credit being in a sorority for 4 years for being able to talk to a tree stump. I'm a pretty extroverted person once I make myself leave the house and go hang out with people. 

This list uses examples from my experience as a military spouse, but I think it can really be applied to anyone.

  • Get out of your comfort zone. My comfort zone = Parker. I can't hang out with him 24/7 though. I need girlfriends. Parker is my best friend, but he shouldn't be my only friend.
  • Talk about what you have in common. Hey, we are military spouses. You know what that means? It means we have a ton in common with each other. Seriously, we are going through the same stuff or have gone through the same stuff before.
  • Go to ice cream. Because really, all new friendships start over food. At least the ones between girls do. And if it's over ice cream, you'll probably be besties for the resties. 

  • Complain the entire time. Yes, military life is difficult. Yes, we need to vent to each other. We also need to help each other focus on the positives of this lifestyle, because there are so many positives. Venting is encouraged because if anyone understands what you're going through, it's the girl going through the exact same thing. However, there is a difference between venting when you need to and being a negative Nancy.
  • Just talk about your husbands. Talk about what you have in common, but don't spend an hour talking about what your husbands do. My husband is a pilot, and I think he has the coolest job in the world, but that doesn't mean we should spend an hour talking about it. We have a lot in common- more than just what our husbands do every day.
  • Wear your husband's rank. Okay, this one really doesn't relate to non military spouses, but it's my biggest pet peeve in the military world. My husband has a rank because he is in the military. I am a military spouse. I have no rank. The biggest turn-off to me is when someone starts talking about their husband's position or rank like they earned it.
So there are my two cents. Do you like meeting new people?

Friends from our first duty station in Pensacola. Love and miss these people. Also, Emily, Ryan's face.

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Carly said...

What a great picture & some great tips. Stepping out of my comfort zone is the hardest thing for me to do in just about any situation. But most of the time it's always worth it in the end :)

Pamela {Sequins and Sea Breezes} said...

I'm horrible at meeting new people. I get so awkward and shy... I don't know why, I just kinda close up LOL. I do agree with your don'ts! Definitely not good things to chat about all night the first time meeting someone!

<3, Pamela

Jen said...

Meeting new people can be scary and exciting at the same time. These are great tips.

Semper Ag said...

Agree with all of these. I've had to sever ties with some ladies who wore their husbands was just starting to get awkward and uncomfortable. I'm horrible at meeting new people!

Emily Stewart said...

This is perfection and everything you said was on point! It makes me miss our Chili's and Sweet Frog's dates. Ahhhh take me back!

Also, I sincerely apologize for my husband's face ruining this picture. What was he even thinking?! Good thing we are the only ones that have the sorority squat down though. Blue Wahoos for the win!

Bailey Kay said...

Great tips! My two cents: I think military spouses have an easier time making friends because they have something in common and they're always moving around. I'm really struggling to make friends now that I'm back in Owensboro because the majority of people my age either have kids and/or a boyfriend that they are always with or like to go out and party. I did just join a "Young Professionals" group here in Owensboro and I'm hoping to make some friends that way!

Melzie at Ribbons and Rotor Blades said...

I kind of agree with Bailey's comment that we have an easier time. We understand what it's like to move and start over so frequently so we're much more likely to open our group to new women. And moving so much gets you used to opening up and meeting new people. However, I sometimes feel it's harder. I'm sure you've experienced or at least no someone who has. I think there's a lot of room for competition among some military wives. I feel some turn their noses up at me when they realize we haven't done a deployment yet. Or even because my husband is a junior officer. I've met some who act better than others because they have a career while others don't have/can't find a job. I hate it. Granted, I don't WANT to hang out with those type of people but I do feel encountering those type of women, or a group like that, makes it harder. I've never encountered more "competitive", one-upping (in good and bad things) women than I do now (and a lot of it is in the Facebook groups for duty stations, etc.)
Thankfully, I've found my own groups in each city that have become my best friends.
I'm kind of in that place right now and it sucks. Nick finished the FRS and is now in his new squadron. He checked in two weeks ago. He's the new job. Thus, makes me the new wife. I went to his soccer game last night and all the women knew each other so well and I felt the odd man out. It was hard to join the conversations or even follow them because I didn't know any of the people or things they were talking about. I know it takes time but I hate this beginning awkwardness of being new :(

Melissa said...

I love this, Chelsea! I've always been an independent person, so I don't feel the NEED to make new friends, but I do love meeting new people with my hubs. I think we have an easier go of it because military spouses generally understand the complexities of the military life, which is awesome :)

Jenny @ Creatively Blooming said...

I totally agree with these! I attended a spouses luncheon fall kickoff yesterday. It was definitely different than most wives events I've been to (there are A LOT older spouses and retiree spouses here), but it was neat talking to people in all different stages of life/military careers.

Did y'all stay up to watch the whole game on Saturday. One half was all that I could keep my eyes open for!

The Jessa Olson Blog said...

I agree with you on so many points. I'm going through the staying inside and not going anywhere phase right now. I don't know why but I am. I hope that I break out of it soon though.

Unknown said...

LOVE this post and all very true! I moved in with the mister right after I graduated from college. And we moved 3 times within a year and half. When we lived in SC, I didn't connect with the few military SOs that I did meet, but became close friends with my co-workers. After SC, we moved to NY and it was the same situation, but had one close friend. And finally it was off to our first duty station, which I was extremely nervous about. I was preparing for the worst! Our wardroom gets along extremely well and I wasn't expecting that at all. I guess you can't believe everything you here, so I've learned to take things as they come. But I also try to make non-military friends, as much as I love my military friends, it's good to have other friends that aren't associated with the military. I play volleyball, so I've made a small volleyball family and it's made my time at our new home even more amazing.

I love your tips cause it's so true! After getting through our first year at our duty station, I learned a lot of what not to do. And you mentioned it all. Sorry for the lengthy comment ;)

Ashley said...

I agree with this. But I imagine I will feel awkward trying to get out there, but I'm sure when the time comes, I will surely try to make new friends.

Amy said...

such good "do-s"
seriously! its always nice meeting new people!

Lisa C said...

Alumni chapters are also great ways to meet new people. I've made sure to get involved with Alpha Gam and Virginia Tech groups everywhere we've moved.

Always in a Southern State of Mind said...

AMEN! I hate trying to meet new couples on base. I vowed not to once my husband came back from deployment. Most of the spouses I meet are 3 gallons of crazy in a 2 gallon bucket and that makes things tough.


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