As military spouses, we have conditioned ourselves to be self-sufficient, independent super-women. We can handle whatever the military and life throws at us and come out on top. But sometimes, being the independent superwoman can be exhausting. Sometimes it can be lonely, especially when our spouse is away for weeks or months at a time. Sometimes our spouse doesn’t get away enough, and we need a break and a friend to call up.
But finding new friends can be a challenge, and as military spouses we tend to be too hard on ourselves and each other when it comes to making new friends. We like to test each other out, interviewing each other like we’re filling a job position, and when the answers don’t match up to our idea of a perfect friend, we’re quick to turn them away. We seem to use two main test questions to ‘weed out’ our would-be besties:
- What does your husband/wife do?
If he/she is not in the same branch, rank, division, battalion, company, etc. your chances are looking pretty slim. Only one question can redeem you…..
- How many kids do you have?
The only acceptable answer is a prompt recollection of your progeny, their ages, likes, dislikes, etc. No kids, just us? Watch in bewilderment as the other woman beats a hasty retreat-usually under the guise of naptime, lunchtime, bedtime, or playtime.
Although it may seem as though no one wants to be our friend, it’s not true at all. We may just have to stop being so hard on ourselves, and each other. We need to get out of our shells and make a real effort to reach out to people.
So the next time that you’re feeling alone, instead of wishing you had friends-take your dog to the dog park, join a fitness class, volunteer for an organization, get involved in your church, meet a co-worker for coffee, or bake your neighbor cookies just because. We might be looking for the perfect friend in the wrong places-sometimes the people we connect with the best aren’t just like us-they’re different! Maybe they’re older than we are, maybe they have several children, maybe they’re single or divorced, and maybe they have different beliefs than we do. We’ll never know if we don’t reach out and give them a chance to be our friend.