Kristi and her friend

Quick Ways to Make New Friends

One of the hardest things about moving to a new duty station is finding a new community. As a seasoned military spouse, this is by far the most difficult thing for me… closing the door on friendships and support systems that took time and effort to build, only to open new doors with strange new faces.  Doing this every few years can be emotionally exhausting.

As we find ourselves preparing for our fourth move as a family, I am already thinking about ways I can get quickly plugged in at our next duty station. This will be extra important for our next assignment because we will be on the other side of the country away from our family, and we are expecting that my husband will be gone more than he is home.

I will share the ways that have worked for me in making new friends wherever we go.

Workout Groups

One of the quickest ways I plug into duty stations is through the stroller workout groups you can find within the military community. I prefer the more relaxed groups where kids are allowed out of the strollers, and the workouts aren’t as strenuous. I joke to my workout friends that I go half for the exercise and half for the adult interaction. But it’s true. With three young kids at home, the best thing I can do for myself is get out of our bubble and interact with other moms. Staying at home day after day can get lonely and isolating.


If you are a believer and a regular church attendee, you already know this can be a wonderful way to make friends. This has been without fail, the place where I’ve met some of my best Army spouse friends.  Church is a great place to meet like-minded people in the same stage of life. It can also become the community that serves you when you need extra support; for example, the birth of a baby or the loss of a loved one. My church family has always been the ones to step up first in these times… bringing meals, offering to help with my lawn when my husband is away, and more.


Before I had my first child, I worked as a teacher and a tutor at our first duty station. This is where I met my very best Army spouse friend. We happened to work at the same job and got pregnant with our first baby at the same time. We found out our husbands were in the same brigade and would be deploying together shortly after our babies were born. This friend ended up convincing me to move on post just a few houses down from her. She was the one in the delivery room with me when my son was born because my husband was at NTC and unable to come home. I share this story just to encourage those who don’t think they’ll ever make a best friend. Sometimes you’ll meet someone and find that you have so much in common and you get close quickly. Friendships within the military community are not deepened by the test of time, but by the things you go through together.

Community Recreational Areas

We find ourselves at playgrounds a lot these days. I am always meeting other moms of young children. If you are a mom, a park can be a great casual way to talk and connect with other mothers. Don’t be afraid to offer your number and suggest a playdate. Oftentimes, “playdates” for your children can end up being playdates for a friendship and are a great way to form familial connections.

Your Spouse’s Unit / FRG

I’m sure some are rolling their eyes at this one. This can certainly be a hit or miss, depending on the unit your spouse is in. I’ve been involved in very active and supportive FRGs, and I’ve been horrified by the lack of FRG activity and involvement in others. I do suggest always reaching out and trying to get involved with the FRG. The worst thing that can happen is you don’t meet anyone, but I always think it’s worth a try at getting plugged in. Even if you don’t click with the other spouses, it will still be nice to know the people your spouse works with and get connected with the spouses going through the same separations as you.

Take Initiative

Lastly, be an initiator. Military life is too short to wait around for others to invite you places or make the first move. If you are interested in building friendships, be willing to open your home, get out of your comfort zone and be vulnerable. I find that the more open I am with others, the more they open back – and it isn’t until you get to that point that your relationship crosses over the line from acquaintanceship to friendship.

Now, this can all sound easier said than done. As we all know, just because you find people everywhere you go doesn’t mean you’ll instantly connect and become friends with all of them. I’ve come to learn that you won’t make a best friend at every duty station. You won’t always have a “person” wherever you go. But when you do find people you click with, don’t be reluctant to deepen those connections as much as you can in your short time. It can be tempting to get by with superficial relationships with others, so you don’t get close enough to be devastated when it’s time to part in a few years. If you don’t invest in the people surrounding you, you aren’t fully living your life. My best advice is to dig your heels in wherever you are. Plant those roots and put effort into finding your circle. Goodbyes will be hard, but you’ll never regret friendships. I can promise you that.

Written By Sydney Smith
Army Spouse

Sydney has been an Army wife for four years and has two children. She often writes on the raw experiences military spouses face during challenging times, striving to be a voice of encouragement and validation among the military spouse community.

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