Sunday, March 15, 2009

Circle of Friends

As a military spouse I've noticed that many people talk about what wonderful friends they've found in the military, at various duty stations around the world and how they've become life-long friends with them.

I've also noticed this happens on the show Army Wives. Women are randomly thrown together in a variety of good and bad circumstances and no matter how different, they are good friends. Not that I'm quoting this as a stellar example of Army life...I'm just saying.

I'm not doubting that this is true for some. I however, have yet to really experience it.

Quite honestly, there are only two women that are associated with the military that I would call my friends. Those being two ladies I met off of Blogger, not at some FRG meeting or spouses club function.

At times it makes me sad that my short military wife existence has been void of any really close friends (minus the ladies I mentioned earlier). That's not to say I don't still have close friends back home, because I do, but there are days that it would just be great to know that I could call up a friend here and have a partner-in-crime.

I've tried to figure out why I don't have many military wife friends and I've come up with a few reasons.

1. Sean and I aren't really friends with couples, generally he has single friends which makes for double dates or couples functions hard to come by.

2. Sean and I can sometimes be a bit reclusive. As in, we like to be at home, watching a movie, eating and curled up on the couch together.

3. I don't have children. No playgroups or the million programs that ACS offers for parents and their children. At my age, finding military wives without children is somewhat more difficult. Not to say I don't want to be friends with only those that don't have children, but I think you know what I'm saying.

Other than that I don't really know what the problem is. I'm a friendly person, I've never had a problem making friends (honestly!) at least until I became an Army wife.

What I wouldn't give for a good friend here!

So here's my question, is anyone else out there like me? Or do you instantly find friends wherever the military takes you?


The Undomestic Army Wife said...

I am completely with you. When I read this post, it was great to know that I wasn't the only one who feels this way!

Sarah said...

Girl, you are preaching to the choir! I am completely in the same boat for pretty much the exact same reasons. Sometimes it gets me down, but I know I won't be here forever and at least I've got my family!

I think my big problem is not being able to find someone "like me". Everyone is from different parts of the country with different values, morals and mindsets that I may or may not share. It's hard to find someone who relates to my West Texas southern upbringing.

I wish us both luck in finding partners in crime in this crazy Army world. I'll let you know if I ever find one. :)

Megan said...

Wow I couldn't have said it any better myself. I thought I was the only one. :)

Tasha said...

I have to say, you definitely aren't the only one. I'm very friendly too, but I just clash with most military wives to be honest. Either they wear their husband's rank, gossip like nobodies business, or other much more nasty habits (and DRA-MA!). I have TWO really good friends I have made in the past 6 years as a military wife.

I've learned that I will be friends with them, be there for them as much as I can, but I know I will be moving on later so I don't form a bosom buddy attachment easily. I just try to get along and enjoy whatever friendships I strike up along the way, knowing later it may or may not pass.

Mary Teresa said...

I'm a relatively new Army wife. He's been in for 14 months and I have been at our duty station in Germany for about 8. It's nice to know that other more "experienced" spouses have the same problem. My husband is also an MP which makes it hard because you'd be amazed at all the people that are not fond of the cops. =D

Thanks for posting about this and letting others know they're not alone!

Allison said...

Umm, I could have written this post :) Seriously.

I don't have ANY armywife friends. Not one. I have a few close friends who are air force wives, but we met because we work together as nurses - not because of anything military related.

My husband's company is small and is filled with mostly single guys, and the ones who are married are either VERY young and VERY immature, or have several children already.

The whole officer/enlisted separation also makes it hard, because Paul and I are both almost 30, both have educations (well Paul ALMOST has his!) yet Paul is we can't hang out with the officer couples.

Anyhow...I'm with ya girl :)

MRS Jen McNeil said...

i understand where you are coming from. in my experience, there are a lot of military wives that are shady. cheating, back stabbing VERY picky with who i choose as my friends. as to date ive had 4 great friend in the army.(my husband has been in for 5 years) 2 were in his first duty station( fort lewis) and 2 have been at my current one. its hard for me to get so close b/c i know one of us will be PCSing sooner or later, but i realize that this army lifestyle is my life now and i cannot not form great frienships with the few i choose. its a tough life but when you find the right girl, the frienships are AMAZING!!! my advice: BR VERYYYYY picky! Good luck!

tootie said...

I find that it usually takes me a year at a place to feel like I have "close friends."

My husband and I are like you and Sean - we usually stay in on the weekends, watch movies, etc. But we are making an effort to have more people over, and that is definitely helping the friend situation!

And I've joined a few groups. Meeting people with similar interests seems to create a quicker bond.

But don't feel bad because I think we have all been in your shoes!

Jon and Steph said...

I am completely 100% with you. I have been in Germany for 7 months and have yet to find any girlfriends with whom I feel comfortable calling or hanging out with.

Dude it's SO lonely some days. Jon and I are a lot like you and Sean. We tend to spend a lot of time at home watching movies and hanging out together.
So many days I miss my girlfriends back home. I am with Sarah, it's hard to find someone that is "like me" to spend time with.

I'm super friendly and love people, I mean come on, I am a hairstylists so I've got to be great with people. No luck finding good friends here though. Plus I'm not a military wife so there are just a small portion of civilians like me overseas.

Hang in there girl. Maybe this new job will help you find some fun people to hang out with! Too bad I don't live in Italy!! ;)

Anonymous said...

I know exactly what you mean. Being a child-less couple (for vicenza really) you kinda get left in the cold a bit, and thats cool I get it. But at the same time James and I are not the ones to go out to the strip clubs with the single guys so we do our own thing.

Plus the USO is a great jump point for meeting new people/couples. Your new name is going to be USO Chick. LOL. You will be walking in the px and hear...hey? are you the chick that works at the USO?

Get ready!

Full of Heart said...

I am REALLY hoping I'll (we'll!) be able to make friend when we move. Honestly, I'm really worried about it though!

Suzanne said...

Just a few more months and you'll have a "partner in crime!" I'm all about traveling all over Italy and anywhere else that even sounds fun.

Hang in there! I'll see you in June!

d.a.r. said...

I just got really lucky at our post, I think. I am so nervous for moving in the fall though, I am afraid I won't know how to make friends!!

Jessica said...

Thank you so much for your sweet comment.. I'm hanging on to that email, I'm sure I'll need it!
This is one of my worst fears! I really do think that I'm very friendly and have always made friends easily, but I'm afraid that I won't be able to do it in this lifestyle.
It was good to hear that I'm not the only one fealing like this. I do wish you luck though and really hope you meet a great group of girls!!

Nicole said...

Wow, you are not alone!!! I have found many wives here lack true friendships. Most of my husbands Co-workers are married, but they all hate each other so little friendships happening there. My husband also has many single friends, or young married couple friends... but they are into getting wasted every night and going to strip clubs, so again... nothing there. It sucks. I feel your pain :/
Hopefully things will change for you, with you working in the USO.
I wish you the best!

Abbie said...

Okay, I really have no say in this conversation because I'm not a military wife, but you seem like a friendly person! I wouldn't beat yourself up about it too much...judging by the other girls' comments it seems like this is a pretty common occurence. I wish you the best of luck in making friends in Italy:)

Kebi Cedawna said...

I know that this has been a struggle for the past year and have to say it's nice to hear that so many women are in the same boat.
I know for a fact that you're a fabulous girl, and maybe starting this new job will be get the ball rolling.
Matt and I are also pretty reclusive (that's probably why we only have one couple that we're really close to), and it's hard to give up the comfort of just being together to mingle and find new friends.
I'll guess I'm just going to have to sacrifice and move to Italy so you can have a friend, I mean it's crucial that you have a partner in crime and all. :)

Tania said...

I don't make friends easily. I'm quiet (always have been, but not so bad now) and I'm kind of lacking in the self-confidence department. I'm still convinced that these antisocial researchers have rubbed off some of their ways on me!

Dana said...

I'll admit, I've made a few more friends now that I've had a baby, thanks to playgroup, etc. But I have maybe one or two here that I can call and say, "Hey, let's meet up at the winery" or go see a movie with. It's not easy to broaden your circle of friends because, like Jen said, some military wives are shady and unfaithful...who wants to be friends with them? So yeah, you have to be picky. It's weird; you can be totally surrounded by Army wives and still feel really lonely.

Michelle in Italy said...

Hey- I've been in Vicenza for over 6 years. It took 2 or 3 years to find some best friends. This is the first time I've made Army wife friends. I've been through a lot of sort of friends. I think what really makes the friends I've made here forever friends is that we have been through too many deployments together and have had no one other than ourselves to stay sane. I hope that you will find some friends. Just keep trying, get out and don't give up.

Lindsay said...

I think you may have gotten the idea that you aren't alone on this one, but just for further proof. ME TOO!!!

Things will get better, just give it time and be the wonderful person that you are. I'm not worried, I know you will find your niche.

Lindsey said...

Well, I just wanted to make a couple recommendations, which are by no means the letter of the law, but they have seemed to work in my relatively short time as an Army Spouse.

1. Find at least one person at your new duty station that you enjoy (you said you had a couple). I met my first friend at a ball, of all things, we bonded over making fun of some of the other wives dresses and behavior.

2. If you like the person, jump right into that new friendship, find out what you have in common, and then hang out...even if it's a little awkward at first. If you end up deciding they suck...stop hanging out. But without putting yourself out can you say "they aren't like me, or we won't get along"

3. Invite new people that you meet to hang out with you and your new friend...not all new people will make the cut, but who knows, that new person may be awesome, and if that new person has a friend as are now up to 3 friends.

4. In my experience it spirals from seems like everyone has at least one friend. When you continually add one friend, your group will grow exponentially.

5. The thing to keep in mind if you are shy, or worried about someone saying they don't want to hang out...look at all of the comments that your readers have left - the majority of women feel the same way! Almost everyone wants to make friends at each new post they visit.

From my first friend at Ft. Campbell, we have grown to a group of 11 women. We don't all hang out every night, nor do we seldom all have schedules that work out for everyone to get together, but it's really nice having those people around and having a big pool of friends to hang out with. Do we each have smaller groups that hang out more often? Of course...but each woman brings something special to our large group, and we always have a blast when we are all able to get together.

Making friends at a new post requires some effort, but most of the time, I think it's definitely worth it.

Becky said...

Let me just add my 2 cents here. I have been married to the military forever and a part of the military for a short time, although we are Air Force.
I do believe you are right on. Some of us are just more "choosey" in those we decide to become friends with. I can say I have probably made 1 good friend at each assignment, but many of those have absolutely no ties to the military themselves.
Overseas has been different, and if I weren't in the military now, I would probably have no real friends here.
Also, don't narrow your search so much. I get the children/no children thing, that is tough, but there are a lot of older spouses out there whose kids may be grown. You can learn a lot from a spouse who has been a part of the military for awhile. Most of my friends are around 10 yrs older to 10 yrs younger.
I have also found that being overseas is very different from being in the states and women who are normally very out-going and friendly tend to be a little more reserved- Don't give up, you will find a buddy, probably when you least expect it!