Blogger Biography: Cecelia Curtis is a marketing and communications professional and a proud military spouse. Cecelia’s husband of 12 years, Bryan, serves in the U.S. Air Force and is currently stationed in Miami, Fla. In Miami, Cecelia enjoys singing, writing, jogging, water sports and lots of sunshine.
There are countless quotes about friendship. “Friends are the family we choose for ourselves,” “Friends are angels here on earth,” and my personal favorite, “Good friends are like bras — supportive, never leave you hanging, make you look good and are always close to your heart.” The point is that most people recognize that true friendship is one of life’s greatest gifts.
Friendship is especially important for military families since we often live far from family. Our friends become our family. Yet, making friends can be challenging for some. Building true friendship might be a bit tricky at times, but it is definitely worth it. After all, everyone needs a good friend, or two or three, who we can share this crazy, fun military life with from time to time (because, let’s face it — at least one friend will PCS before you do).
If you’re new to an area or you’re just looking to make new friends, consider the tips below:
- Open up. Opening up to someone new can be scary and you may feel a bit vulnerable. It is mutual openness and vulnerability that ultimately creates the lasting bond of friendship, though. Should you open yourself to everyone? No. When making new friends, be wise.
- Go. It can be really tough to make new friends if you never meet new people or if you don’t interact with the people you already know. So, get out of your comfort zone. Try a new restaurant, join a book club, go to the gym, or check out your church’s Bible study. And, if someone invites you to something, go.
- Make the first move. Someone has to. If you meet someone who seems nice, fun or interesting, ask him or her out. Don’t waste time with, “We should get together some time.” Go straight for the invite, and make a solid plan.
- Don’t judge. Do you have a long list of things you’re looking for in a friend — married, between the ages of 28 and 32, has 2.5 children, works in your unit or your spouse’s unit, etc.? Oh, live a little. It might be fun to be around someone who’s not exactly like you. Plus, your differences might actually be opportunities to grow and to complement one another.
- Don’t move too fast. As tempting as it might be, it’s not always a good idea to share your most intimate thoughts with a brand new friend. Don’t hide who you are. Again, just use wisdom.
- Skip comparisons. Do you often find yourself comparing yourself to others? That can make things a bit awkward if you do so out loud. Instead of comparing yourself to others, learn to appreciate the differences in others.
- Be thoughtful. Does your new friend have a birthday coming up? Go out and celebrate. Did your new friend just get a new job? Congratulate him or her. We all know how great it feels to be recognized on our special day. So, share the love.
- Reciprocate. Don’t just take, give. If someone always calls, emails or texts you, it’s time for you to reciprocate. If your new friend has repeatedly cared for your children so that you can have a date night with your husband, consider repaying her kindness. It’s not about keeping score. It really just goes back to being thoughtful.
- Be loyal. The quickest way to lose a friend — new or old — is by gossiping or otherwise failing the loyalty test. As your friendship grows, you will learn what your friend is most sensitive about, what type of humor he or she has, what you can share with others and even which photos you can share on social media. Until then, play it safe. Keep what happens between the two of you between the two of you.
- Have fun. If there’s no fun, there’s no friendship. Yes, each friend is different and each friend will likely meet a different friendship need or bring out a different side of your personality. However, you should genuinely enjoy being around your friends. So, relax, laugh, take a few selfies and have some fun.
Friendship is one of life’s greatest gifts. Making new friends might take a bit of work, but once you have found someone who is supportive, never leaves you hanging, makes you look good and is always close to your heart, you’ll know that true friendship is always worth the effort.