Being a military spouse can be painfully isolating. You've either just moved to a new town or haven't had the time and motivation to socialize with all of the changes in your life. If you have kids, you're rarely alone but can feel super lonely with little time for YOU. If you don't have kids you feel like everyone around you has kids and there is little chance in meeting someone with a similar lifestyle!
We regularly preach the importance of cultivating friendships in our community because heading into a deployment or temporary duty assignment, girl you gotta have your TRIBE. The best part is... your tribe can be you+one! One person to lean on through all of the military stuff your girls from afar just don’t get. One person you'll learn to trust with your kids when you inevitably need a *minute* to yourself. Girl talk on the couch with a coffee, glass of wine, or heck, even a soda water is unmatched; Phone calls do not fill that void! DIY’s aren't the same if you can’t laugh about the bloopers with someone. You might see family over the big holidays, but what about National Donut Day? And sometimes… you need A HUG. A big squeeze from a big person who get’s it.
Here are a few different things I’ve done that have ACTUALLY helped me form friendships!
Host a cookout (or cook-in) with husband's co-workers and wives/girlfriends/dates.
Make sure your husband extends the offer to more than just the married guys and tells them you want to meet women. Sometimes an unsuspected Tinder date could be your new bestie! Tip: Have an icebreaker as these can be a little awkward initially. We’ve had success with Catch Phrase and Pictionary on a dry erase board, every man for himself for both games, super relaxed rules just to get everyone talking.
Ask your husband to give you a list of spouse/girlfriend phone numbers/emails and host something at your place or a local coffee shop.
Even if one or two ladies show up that is a HUGE success! Planning an actual activity with a set date like an upcoming event, a craft night, or book club gives ladies something REAL to put into their calendars. Not just, who wants to get together sometime?
Ask for social media instead of phone number.
I’ve met women at coffees and didn’t quite feel ready for their phone number, but wanted to make sure we had a way to connect when the time came! I love this because you don’t have to debate following them later if you do look them up & it gives you a chance to learn about their interests! You can start growing this relationship by tagging them in funny memes, inspirational posts, and common interests. An easy way to approach it is chatting a bit and when they tell you they have kids starting school, are training for a race, are pregnant… simply say “Awesome! What is your IG name? I’d love to follow your journey it sounds incredible.” Direct? Maybe. But they are likely thinking about it too!
Ladies… I attended my first ever bible study at our first base and felt SO UNCOMFORTABLE walking into the room. I was praying nobody asked me a SINGLE thing about my thoughts on a verse because I didn’t feel confident in my *bible talk*. I met some of my CLOSEST friends since starting our military journey in that room. Even if you haven’t spent much time in a church, you no doubt will meet some of the kindest, welcoming, loyal, and supportive women in one. I'm still not a pro at bible talk, but now I know that nobody is judging me in that setting! (BONUS: They often have childcare! Thank the Lord.)
Attend a couple of workout classes at your gym.
These automatically put you into a group with ladies who have a similar interest. If you’re not a class girl, I’ve even made friends in the LOCKER room. I’m not creepy I promise! Find a gym with childcare and plan workout dates with your new gym buddy or invite her (and her kids if she has them) over for an at home workout!
Not into organizing something yourself? Attend your husband’s company gatherings.
Picnics, spouse only stuff, even the dreaded hail & farewells are an opportunity! Don’t be afraid to show up to a woman’s house for a coffee night. I know easier said than done but this REALLY is a place to meet women.
This one might sound weird… but you’ll know when to use it. Have a couple of pick up lines in your back pocket!
For example, if you are at a coffee shop with your laptop and you see someone you think you’d be friends with (I'm not the only one who thinks that, right?), ask her to watch your stuff or to plug your laptop charger in if the outlet is closer to her. This is something EASY to say without being too personal. You can continue small talk or totally abort mission if you get nervous! Same thing goes for a company picnic… try to get in the food line after a potential friend and tell her she has to try your baked ziti because it's the bomb.com! From there ask her what she made then invite her family to sit with you! Two weeks later... besties.
In all of these, it's incredibly important to remember you are not wearing your husbands rank and to be YOURSELF. Sure, some company organized events are for certain ranks, but you might meet someone you are compatible with whose husband is ranked way higher or lower. Don't start acting nervous when you find out it's the colonel's wife after 20 minutes of easy conversation and don't write a super cool girl off if her husband just enlisted! Try not to ignore women who do/don't have kids if you do/don't. Some of my closest "military friends" don't have kids and LOVE spending time with mine. Most of them have nieces and nephews they miss dearly. I promise, moms don't only talk about kids and PTO meetings... we love fashion, snap chat, and are still figuring out what we want to be when we grow up too. =)