Military life can be a chaotic, lonely adventure at times. That means having a supportive community can be crucial for military spouses. They’ll need to rely on friends and family more than ever, but what happens when the military life moves you miles apart from your main sources of comfort? Trying to tough it out alone is nearly impossible, but knowing where to meet new friends can be tough.
Here are some good places to consider when looking for companionship:
Organized Interest Groups
Your public library more than likely offers organized book clubs. Not only can you entertain your brain, but you can also have regularly scheduled social interaction.
Churches commonly offer Bible studies, women and men’s groups, youth groups and multiple volunteer opportunities in and outside the church. You can explore the choir and band or do outreach while meeting others with similar interests.
Check out your local craft store, YMCA or other local community building for postings on hobby groups or classes. Even if you don’t have a specific hobby you love, you can learn a new craft and meet friends by joining a group.
If you have children, you can find other parents through websites like Mommy and Me and Daddy and Me. There are age-specific groups such as Mothers of Preschoolers to draw even more similarities to others parents. Do a search for your area and start networking. Perhaps you can even work out a babysitting deal for those special date nights with your spouse!
Gym or Sports League
The gym can be more of a social place than most think. There are often exercise classes you can attend, or you can strike up a conversation while stretching or lifting weights. Put yourself out there—chances are, you’ll see the same people as you continue your membership.
Join a bowling league or some other sports league offered in your community. The competitive camaraderie can be a great bonding experience.
MilServe and Serve.gov are two sources for volunteer opportunities in and outside of the military. Participate in a great cause while meeting great people.
The military offers financial benefits when it comes to getting a higher education. You can earn your degree and use your classes to meet new friends. Extend those social interactions by joining study groups or discussions outside the classroom.
The military also offers classes and groups around military base actions, such as deployment. Participate in all that’s offered and use your Family Readiness Groups and briefings to meet people in similar situations.
Jobs are a way to bond with coworkers, but choosing a social environment such as a coffee shop is a way to create even more social opportunities.
Just by walking your dog or going to a park gets you out in the community. Greet your neighbors and introduce yourself to everyone you meet. Chances are they’re in or were in the same position as you.
Adrienne May is a military spouse. Her husband is an Army soldier and now is serving in the Army National Guard. Together they have three children from preschool to pre-teen. Adrienne is actively involved in family readiness and disaster preparedness on the state level and advocating for military family programs, homecoming transition programs and adequate veterans benefits.
Military Spouse Central aims to be a resource for military spouses as they deal with overseas deployment, sudden PCS orders and everything else that comes with marrying a member of the Armed Forces.
Adrienne May maintains Military Spouse Central for Veterans United Home Loans, the nation's leading VA-approved lender. Adrienne is wife to a National Guard solider and has built up a massive library of resources, tips, articles and contributors for military spouses from all branches!