Guardians of our hearts, speakers of hard truths and reminders of our blessings – that’s what sisters are. The importance of the relationships with our sisters (whether biological or shaped with other women over time) are magnified by the changes military life throws our way every 18 months. August 6 is National Sister’s Day – the perfect time to celebrate the friendships you have and learn how to make new ones as you embark on different duty stations.
Expand your circle. When you first arrive at a new duty station, it can feel like you are speed dating to build a network of support. There are many places to meet fellow military spouses, including:
- Base housing or civilian neighborhoods
- Commissary lines
- Volunteer or hobby groups
- Morale, Welfare and Recreation activities
- Spouse groups
- Parent groups
- Religious functions
Break the ice. Here are a few icebreakers that can help you make a connection in many different situations:
- Give a genuine compliment.
- Ask where to find the best local restaurant or shop.
- Bring a dessert, a plant or dinner to neighbors to introduce yourself.
- Offer to help when you see someone struggling.
Be supportive. My sisters set the bar high and I try to follow their example by finding similar ways to help or bless them. Here’s a brief list of some of my favorite ways we can help each other:
- Help with cleaning or chores when a friend is overwhelmed.
- Lend your talents or labor for home improvement projects.
- Take turns babysitting each other’s kids for much needed alone time.
- Invite your friend over for dinner while her spouse is deployed.
- Celebrate victories together like hitting a deployment milestone, having a good hair day, etc.
- Listen (sometimes that’s all someone needs).
Celebrate each other. Our sisters join us in our crazy moments, embrace us when we are blue and motivate us to be better people. I consider myself beyond blessed to have many women in my life who I consider sisters – through biology, marriage and friendship. Don’t forget to tell them how much they mean to you from time to time.
Not every woman you meet will become a close friend, and even fewer will reach sister status. But, the ones who do will stand by you through it all – PCS moves, changing orders, deployments, parenting, personal triumphs (and failures). So make sure to celebrate the special women in your life today and take advantage of opportunities to develop new friendships when you get the chance. After all, everyone needs a home team, and we’re all in this together.