Before I start, let me make it clear: I love my military friends. They are more than friends, they are instant family! They are the people you will always have a connection with, no matter what. A decade from now even if you don’t talk on the regular, you will see them and be able to pick up right where you left off. The bonds are strong because you go through hell together and can understand the ups and down of military life.
Sadly, though, every few years military members move. Which means you’re on the look out for new friends; which can be a bummer. Especially if you are stationed in a place for a long time. This was the case for me when we spent over 5 years in Little Rock, AR. All my amazing friends had moved and went on to other bases and we stayed behind. I knew we would be leaving soon so I didn’t even bother trying to find other friends.Want to make friends right now? Click To Tweet
My solution? Civilian friends!
Yes, you heard right. They aren’t going anywhere so no chance of them leaving you behind. And when you leave them, they still have the roots and life they’ve built up before you. Plus, you can talk about something other than deployments. That’s what your military friends are for. It’s a win, win situation. Here is the tricky part: where do you meet these people? In a military town, it seems that everyone is associated with the military in one way or another (Bonus points if you can find friends who are ex-military). I swear, they are out there and I’m going to tell you how you can find them.
Community Gyms and Fitness Classes
I can’t tell how many amazing friendships I’ve made just by getting in shape. Friends both in and out of the military. I take Pole and Ariel classes at Vertical Pole Fitness and workout with UpLift Fitness both located in Navarre. It’s really the best way to meet new people and form long-lasting relationships.
Doing for others and making friends? Sounds like a winning combination, if you ask me! In addition to doing things for your spouse’s base and squadron, try to do some volunteer work in your local community. Homeless shelters, retirement homes, and animal rescue centers are all worthy causes. Pick one that speaks to you and you’ll meet like-minded people who may become your next BFF.
Church and Places of Worship
I know not everyone is religious or goes to church, but if you have in the past and are thinking about going back, there’s no better time than if you are looking for friends. Most places of worship have bible study groups and other fun activities where you can socialize. Some even have marriage building workshop so you and your spouse can make friends with other couples. Even if it’s just getting a donut after service, there’s opportunity for social interaction.
Not all places have adult recreational sports leagues like softball, soccer, or kick ball. If they do where you live – run, don’t walk, to join them. Not only is it a good time but there is usually lots of socializing after the games at local restaurants or pubs. The best part is it’s usually locals that join these leagues so lots and lots of friendship potential with non-military folks!
Dance classes like swing and salsa are now a super social event! One night a week, they will do a one-hour dance class and teach you some basics. You switch partners, meet new people, and right after, it’s dancing and fun for the rest of the night! Once you go a few times, people will start to get to know you as a regular and boom, friendships are made. So much fun for you and your spouse and again, you can meet other couples.
This one isn’t for everyone I understand but, I’ve made some of the best friends I’ll ever have while doing a theater production. Many hours are spent rehearsing lines, learning music, and dance routines which form bonds right off the bat. Not to mention all the down time you have while waiting for your scene or cue. Trust me, if you have any inclination for this; you’ll love it.
So, now that you are in the know, get out there! Your new friends are waiting to meet you.