After 4 duty stations in 4 years (why do we even unpack?), we have had to start over a lot. We have been lucky in some locations and known people going in, and we have had some where we've had to start from scratch. Here's the skinny: meeting new people can be awkward and uncomfortable, but nobody understands what you're going through quite like other military wives. We need each other.
As for advice, here are my top 5 tips for making friends in the military:
1. Everyone is just as desperate for friendship as you are
99% of the people you meet are living away from their families. The new place you are in is also new to them, and they crave companionship just as much as you do. Remembering this makes meeting new people a little less intimidating. They want a friend as much as you do!
2. Make your husband do the dirty work
Almost every one of my close friends, I met through my husband. It's easy for the guys to make friends because they all work together. They spend every day together and form natural friendships. Have your husband suggest a double date so you can get to know the wives, or you and your husband host a dinner and invite his friends and their spouses. Your husband sets up the event and you meet your new bestie... done and done.
3. Go to spouse events
If you are in a fleet squadron, go to spouse events. It's really hard to get to know the other wives if you don't go to spouse events. My squadron does a monthly get-together, and it's such a good way to meet the new wives and get to know each other better. If these events are an option for you, go!
4. Join Facebook groups
There are hundreds of Facebook groups out there for military spouses. I am a part of one specific for Naval Aviator wives and another specific for military wives in my area. It's a great place to ask general information, but you can also see if anyone would want to go to lunch, have a playdate, etc.
5. Say yes
Ah, the most generic yet the most effective. If someone asks you to hang out, say yes. Forget the awkward and anxious feelings of meeting new people and just say yes. About a year ago, a girl I had just met texted and asked if I wanted to go see a movie. It was last minute and I really didn't feel like going, but I decided to get over it and say yes. She is now one of my closest friends. If you repeatedly turn people down, they will eventually stop asking. There is always going to be a reason to say no, but say yes.
Hopefully this is helpful to someone out there. Ultimately, you get out of it what you put into it. Get out of your comfort zone and go meet the women that will be your backbone through this phase of life! The girls I have met through the military are some of the best friends I have ever had, and I am so thankful that life threw us all together.