Making New Friends And Meeting New People After A PCS
As Navy wives, it’s hard to always be making new friends every time we move. It’s tough to start over. It takes a lot of effort at first. Here are a few thoughts on how to put yourself out there and why you should keep at it.
Spouse Clubs & FRG
A good place to start making new friends is the spouse’s club or FRG (Family Readiness Group). Have your spouse connect you if needed. One way to start is to go to a social event or the monthly meeting. While there, be sure to get on email list and introduce yourself to others.
If you hit it off with anyone at the event, ask for their number and maybe invite them to coffee. If asking for digits sounds too forward, pay attention to their last names and find them on facebook. You can even pull out your phone and ask if they’re on FB right then. That way you’ll be sure to find them.
Once you’ve gotten to know them through FB comments or likes, etc, you’ll feel more familiar with them the next time you see them. You could also see if the group has a facebook page where you can learn about various activities.
Also, if you don’t want to only get to know your command spouses, some bases have a base-wide OSC (if you’re an officer’s wife) that you can join.
Volunteering is a fabulous way to get to start making new friends, both military and civilian. I’ve done a few volunteer activities in the past few years. I used to help at a local animal shelter in Newport, RI. Here in Washington, I’ve been a Young Life leader and volunteered in the schools. I recently decided to volunteer for a spouse board position– Secretary of the FRG.
I have met a lot of great people by volunteering. You may not become best friends with everyone you meet, of course. But it will expand your horizons and get you into a setting where making new friends is possible.
Besides the above, you could volunteer at a habitat for humanity, read to kids at a library, visit people in a nursing home, you name it. Find something that interests you and jump in.
Join a Group
There are so many types of groups out there. You could join a Bible study, book club, knitting club, hiking group, dog walkers, running club… you get the idea. If there’s not one you like, start one.
Get a Job
Ok, I know getting a job as a military spouse is easier said than done. I could write a whole blog post or two on my journeys in un-employment. But I will say that if you can find a job you enjoy, even if it’s not in your field, you can meet some great people.
I was blessed to find a job here at a coffee shop. I must say, it was a total “God thing” to get the job. I really can’t go into that right now, but trust me. But the job was perfect for the past year.
Through the job, I became very good friends with my boss Lisa. She’s also doula, photographer, ViSalus rep, and a very caring and wonderful person. She’s awesome! I ended up asking her to be my doula and I was so glad to have her support throughout my pregnancy and delivery.
Ok so that’s how to go about making new friends. But what if it’s just too hard? What if you’re shy? What if you’ve done it a million times and you just don’t want to make any more new friends!
Ok, let’s all just take a one-second “I just want my old friends” pity party.
Ok. Pity party over.
I’ll give you two stories as to why you shouldn’t give up trying to make new friends. I know it’s always hard to start over and make new friends. We all have to do it and it’s easier for some than others. It’s hard to leave that closeness and familiarity you have with one group to feel uncomfortable and awkward with another group. But sometimes you just have to make yourself!
#1 – You Truly Could Meet A Lifelong Friend
When I graduated from college, I moved to Seattle. I didn’t have many friends and I decided to go to my church’s young adult evening group. I sat in my apartment and thought of a million reasons why I wasn’t going to go. But I finally got up and made myself go.
At that event, I met a girl who ended up becoming one of my best friends. We were roommates in a house of girls for the next three years, and she was in my wedding. And it all was made possible because I made myself get up and attend that first time.
#2 – You Can Avoid A Lot Of Misery
When I got here to Whidbey, I had just been in Jax for 5 months and Newport, RI for a year. I had spent a lot of time and energy making friends in those places. When I first got here, I was kind of burned out on putting myself out there. I just didn’t try very hard.
We had a deployment just a few months after arriving, and I was miserable. But it was my own fault for not trying. It WASN’T my fault that it was so hard. I was understandably worn out. But I CHOSE my rotten attitude.
Halfway through deployment, I said “enough whining” to myself and got back out there. I’ve made some awesome friends here. I think I would have saved myself some misery if I’d just kept at it.
I know it’s hard. But the friends you’ll make and develop will be worth it.
Good luck and hang in there! You can do it. I will pray that you start to make some connections soon that could turn out to be great friends. You just have to take one step at a time.