“It takes a village to raise a child.”
While I wholeheartedly agree with that statement, I also think that we can just drop the whole “to raise a child” bit. For me, it just takes a village. By village, I mean friends. Especially a best friend.
Yes, we all have that one best best friend. The guy or gal who knows all of your secrets since the beginning of time. Who has been with you through the best and worst of times.
As military spouses, we can also benefit from having a best friend at each duty station.
It’s so comforting to have someone that gets you. When your spouse is gone or working late, it’s nice to have someone to explore your new location with. It’s great for trying out all those cutesy cafes, wandering around historic districts and even watching that rom-com for the millionth time.
Finding that best friend over and over and over again is just plain hard though!
First you have to put yourself out there in a serious way. It means meeting the neighbors, mingling with other military spouses in the new unit and trying out new clubs or groups.
Then you have to follow-up. Send texts, become Facebook friends or send out smoke signals. Sometimes, even that isn’t enough.
After you find a friend, then begins the vetting process to determine best friend potential. You need to dig into shared interests, common agreements about life and a joint love of wacky jokes (or whatever your thing might be).
If it’s not a good match, you’re stuck starting over again!
Sometimes, finding a new best friend can seem like climbing Everest: worthwhile, but a battle to accomplish. Just doing this a few times in a lifetime is unbelievably hard. Finding a new best friend every 3 years, or less, can seem nearly insurmountable! It’s almost enough to want to give up on the whole idea of a bestie and just stick to casual acquaintances.
You still have people to hang with, but without all the stress of being joined at the hip. Or having to “replace” your friend when one of you moves.
It’s tough finding a new best friend, yes, but it is so worth it!
Your new best friend could be where you least expect. I’ve found best friends while running, in my spouse’s office and through friends. She or he could be the person right across the street!
Part of finding a new best friend is going to involve putting yourself out there, yes. So many friend-finding opportunities are just part of the military life!
Mandatory fun days, pre-deployment briefs and living on-base are all chances to bump into someone who could be your PERSON.
Before you know it, you are swapping salty military spouse stories, sharing recipes and are inseparable.
There are also other great ways to find your next best friend. Check out a local fitness meet-up, like Stroller Warriors or a cross-fit box.
If you are religious, seek out a church, temple or Bible study in your neck of the woods.
When you come with youngsters, find a preschool support group like MOPS or a gym with a child care co-op program.
For those heading to work, your new pal could be your desk mate or office neighbor.
No matter how you found your new best friend, having one is important.
When the going gets tough, military spouses need someone to rely on. With our spouses gone often, or mostly in-and-out, a best friend becomes the person I rely on.
When I’m sick, she brings me medicine or chicken soup or takes the kids for the afternoon. We swap date night child care duties or have weekly dinner/play dates when the guys are gone. If the car breaks down, I know I have someone to call from the mechanic. I always have a dinner partner when cookie dough a la tube is on the menu too.
It’s why I need to have a best friend at every duty station.
I need a village to help get me through the tough times and to celebrate the best times. My best friends, no matter where I am or where they are, have helped me to survive and thrive in this military life.