What would military life be without the women who start out as friends and become our sisters? You know what I’m talking about — those friendships that make or break an assignment. The women who help you laugh at this crazy lifestyle and find joy despite the challenges. The ones who let you cry on their shoulders and lend a helping hand when you just can’t even.
Those friendships will come to you in this lifestyle no matter what, but here are four rules that will make all of your friendships better.
1 – Be real.
Surely you already know how challenging friendship can be when you move frequently. It’s a catch 22 because there really just isn’t time for fake, surface-level friendships. But there’s also not much time to bond or get to know people. By the time you finally chip through the facade, you’re about to leave again and you missed a year or two of the closeness and support that we all need. Being real often makes saying goodbye much harder, but it also makes saying hello so much easier. Being real from the very beginning opens the door for more authentic friendships.
2 – Be there.
This one almost doesn’t even need to be on the list. The level of support that military spouses offer each other is something that continually amazes me about this community. But sometimes, when we get really settled into our routines or we’re about to leave an assignment, it’s easy to shrink back from people. But we are truly stronger together. Show up for your fellow spouses, even when it’s hard because you know that when the day comes, they’ll do the same for you.
3 – Accept help.
I have found that military spouses tend to be fearlessly independent in their own ways. But none of us can live this life alone on an island. It’s okay to not have it all together all the time. In fact, none of us do, and when you pretend you never need help, you make the rest of us look bad and suffer alone. You are NOT an inconvenience. For you, our plates are NEVER too full. Let others help you and ask for help when you need it.You're NOT an inconvenience. Our plates are NEVER too full. #Milspouses ask for help when you need it!Click To Tweet
4 – Don’t wear rank.
The simple reality is that social media, and the clubs/organizations/events it facilitates, bring spouses together in an unprecedented way. When you are with other spouses, there’s really no reason to talk about your husband’s rank or his job, unless you are specifically asked to do so. You are an important person in our community no matter who your husband is — you are one of us. More years as a military spouse may give you more experience in facing this crazy lifestyle and your husband’s rank may give you some leadership responsibilities. However, leadership among friends looks very different from military leadership where rank matters.
On the opposite side of things, if you ask another spouse about her husband’s rank or find out he has a job that indicates his rank, don’t hold it against her. That information alone isn’t a reason to avoid a potentially awesome friendship. At the end of the day we share many common experiences and goals — our community is stronger when we all face them together.
5 – Have fun.
Last, but most certainly not least, have fun. We all need someone to help us laugh at how ridiculous military life can be. Honestly when something crazy happens, that’s all there is to do. We all need adventure buddies, second moms, and fellow mamas to walk alongside us as we raise our children.