PCS season means that many military families are moving around the world. Many are starting over because they are at new duty stations. Many are starting over because their friends have moved and left them behind. Either way, at some point, military families will have to make new friends, especially for that all-important emergency contact that all the new forms require. It is overwhelming to have so many things to do after a move, here are five ways to get plugged in and make new friends.
As expected, the first place to start is social media. Look up neighborhood groups or post-specific groups to get a lay of the new ground. Perhaps there is an unofficial unit page where people meet for book club, or there is a kickball league you can join. Finding out about this before you move means you can plan accordingly and get signed up or complete all the required forms.
Don’t neglect other websites beyond the base. Search local travel websites for the best restaurants, museums, zoos, or other attractions in the area. This may lead you to meet other people or be able to plan an outing with new friends you meet.
Once you arrive at your new base, don’t forget to say hi to your new neighbors. It isn’t easy to go next door and ring a doorbell, but if you see your neighbors out and about, don’t forget to say hello and wave. This may lead to a conversation. Make it a goal to say hi to someone new each time you are walking the neighborhood in your first month in your new home. This is usually easier in military housing, where people are used to transient families and want to say hello to learn about the new family. It may be more challenging in civilian or more established neighborhoods, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. Gauge others’ interest and comfort levels in talking as you say hello.
Find Small Groups
If you were involved in a bible study, organized sport, or hobby at your last home, now is the time to look for and establish a link in your new community. Having a common interest is an easy and simple way to get plugged in and find new friends. If your kids are used to doing a certain sport, make sure to find that next group, so you get plugged in there. There may be community groups with fellow parents to help in getting acquainted with the new area.
Check out the events calendar on base through Morale and Welfare (MWR) – there are often trips to local parks or theme parks with cheaper costs and parking! It’s a great way to explore a new area while meeting others with similar interests and backgrounds.
Try Something New
If you have always wanted to learn a certain cooking style, or always wanted to do bonsai cutting, and your new community has a center where you can take those classes – now is your chance! Check out your local library to see if they have adult-only classes or sessions. Check the local community center or recreation center for classes. Local community colleges may even offer a sewing or cooking class. Having a common interest will bring you together with other people with that interest. The local library may even have classes or sessions for kids that allow for age-appropriate fun and learning where the kids and adults will make friends.
Don’t Forget to Ask
When on social media groups, at community events, or at an information session for your child’s activity session, don’t forget to ask for what you are looking for. Perhaps you are looking for the best farmer’s market or where you can find a martial arts class for adults, your favorite search engine can help, but so can other people. Reach out on the neighborhood page for what you are looking for, that may connect you with others in addition to giving you the information you need. While the urge to unpack all the things is strong after a move, part of settling in is meeting others and getting connected. Add it to your to-do list and make it h