Being a military spouse/significant other does NOT mean you have to live on base. It also does NOT mean you have to ONLY have military friends.
But regardless of where you find your friends, or their connection to the military, creating and maintaining strong friendships will provide you with a support system that can lift you and help you when you need it the most.
An idea that works for one may not work for another. So be willing to try different things and put yourself in different places to find your people.
Meet your neighbors
Go out on walks, get your mail, and be willing to strike up a conversation.
Take this chance to ask open-ended questions about the area, such as favorite restaurants, places to visit, or the best grocery store.
Chances are you’ll see them often, especially if you go out frequently to walk the dog or let your kids play.
You don’t have to be best friends, but knowing and trusting your neighbors can be a game changer through military life.
Deployed spouse? Your neighbor could mow your lawn after they do their own. Or even watch pets while you renew your ID (because let’s face it, sometimes those lines take FOREVER).
Find a church
If you are religious, find a church in your local area!
It may take a few tries to find the right church for you, and that’s ok.
You do not have to have the same beliefs as someone to foster a great friendship with them. But if friendships already begin with knowing their beliefs and boundaries, it makes it that much easier to connect and relate.
Having someone to discuss religion with in an understanding and safe environment creates strong friendships of mutual respect, even if you walk away still believing different things.
Join a local group
You can find local groups a few different ways.
1. Do an internet search for the type of group and city you’re in. For example, if you want to meet other bookworms in your town, start with “book groups in my city”. You might be surprised at how many groups you can find!
2. Visit local businesses and community areas. Many times, the city library or community pool will have signs up for groups in the local area that are open to new people.
3. Ask around. If you’ve met your neighbors or found a friend already, ask if they know of any local groups you could join!
Volunteer opportunities range all the way from distributing flowers at a nursing home to performing cleanup after a natural disaster.
And the best part is you can do in person service or volunteer remotely. It’s all up to YOU.
There are many organizations that allow you to sign up online, such as JustServe. You filter out what type of volunteer work, the time of day you’re available, and your location.
In return, you are given a giant list of available volunteer opportunities in your area!
This is another excellent way to meet others in your area – both those you are helping and those you are serving with!
Take a class
Once you know what kind of class you want to take, do a google or Facebook search.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
Dancing, photography, shooting, cooking, pottery, dog training, coding, baking, sewing, pregnancy and parenthood.
These types of classes are a great way to meet people who have the same interests as you! This is a perfect avenue for striking up a conversation with someone new.
Meet mutual friends
The longer you’re part of the military, the more you realize just how small of a world it is.
Chances are you already have a friend who knows someone in the area where you’re living.
Tell your friends and family where you’re headed, and see if anyone knows people that are already there.
This works best with military families, because cities that have a base nearby are usually full of military families anyways!
Visit the base
Ok, I know. I read the title. Heck, I wrote it.
BUT, if all else fails, you really will be able to find friends on base.
Look into the programs that are offered on your base for dependents and families. You can do this by going to the base’s website and looking for a tab or section that lists available programs. Sometimes the resources are linked under “newcomer info”, “family info”, or “community”.
Here’s a huge list of programs by branch.
Still struggling? Reach out to me! I am here to help!