Guest post written by Jessica Bowman

It’s Time to Move…Again

Doesn’t it always seem like as soon as you find those friends who click with you, Uncle Sam sends orders for you or them to move? You get 6 wonderful months of barbecues, playdates, and tailgating with people who put up with your unhealthy obsession with TikTok stars while you deal with their gloating about their Fantasy Football win through mid-summer. These people are the ones who you call in an emergency and the ones who celebrate promotions and birthdays with you because your family is thousands of miles away.

It always happens. You finally find your people and then someone sends the text, “We have orders.” What are you going to do? What are they going to do? Good friends are irreplaceable, but here are five ways you can meet people and make new friends while you wait on the “framily” reunion next year.

1. Join a Workout Group

Nearly every installation has workout groups. Check with Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) for a list of gym programs for adults. Some installations have “mommy and me” groups. Often, you’ll find independent workout groups led by other military spouses in base housing communities. Ask around and get to know folks nearby.

There are also a number of off-base gyms committed to building communities with their members. CrossFit, Orange Theory, and Burn Boot Camp are just a few. Get to know these people outside of the gym! You probably have more in common than your love of a good workout to start the day.

2. Join a Club for Military Spouses

Spouses’ Clubs have been around for decades. These groups meet for programs, meals, and activities every month. Nearly every installation has one of these clubs that welcomes wives, husbands, and partners of service members (typically all duty statuses). Nowadays, most are all ranks clubs, too. An annual membership fee is usually required to join.

You will probably find that they have sub-clubs within their organization for people with common interests. For example, clubs in the National Capital Region have sightseeing sub-clubs who take monthly trips to landmarks and places of interest in the area. Fort Knox recently had a thriving bourbon tasting sub-club! Other popular sub-clubs you might find are book clubs, a lunch bunch, and bunco group.

While there are a few that are strictly social clubs, many Spouses’ Clubs also have a philanthropy and welfare program to support their local military families and organizations in their community.  At the monthly spouses’ club meetings, some collect donations for area nonprofits such as women’s shelters, the food bank, and Toys for Tots. Some have scholarship programs for military children and spouses, too! Spouses’ Clubs are a great way to meet new friends, serve your community, and give to worthy causes.

3. Join a Playgroup

Parents with little children sometimes find it difficult to get out and socialize with other adults in group settings. One way for everyone to get out and make new friends is by joining a playgroup! Google your installation name and playdate to find any groups sponsored by your base. You can also find playgroups sponsored by Mom’s Clubs and Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) on and off base. 

If you can’t find a playgroup or discover existing groups don’t fit your age ranges, start your own group. You don’t have to plan regularly scheduled playdates. Sending an invitation to an impromptu meetup in a group text works, too!

*Are you a furbaby mom or dad? Dog parks are also a great place to meet new people!

4. Join a Religious or Spiritual Organization

Churches, synagogues, mosques, and other religious organizations are great places to make new friends who share the same faith as you. In addition to their regularly weekly services, many of these organizations offer opportunities to gather in more intimate groups for study and prayer.

Religious organizations also offer opportunities for you to serve your community and get to know more neighbors. For instance, your church might host Vacation Bible School during the summer where you can get to know other families with children. Your local mosque might be holding a food or household goods giveaway for new families in your area.

5. Start a Neighborhood Social Group

What do you do if none of the aforementioned groups or organizations are a good fit for you and your family? Start your own social group! You don’t need an official sponsor or organization to host a neighborhood group. Think about your interests. Think about your family’s interests. You could host a monthly movie on the lawn gathering during mild weather months. Plan an adults-only foodie night and have guests bring themed dishes and a bottle of wine to share. The possibilities are endless! Take the initiative and kick off a new social group yourself!

Do you have other ideas about where to meet new friends at your duty location? Share with us in the comments below. Also, let us know how you stay in touch with “framily.” After all, we only say, “See ya later!” in this military life!

Jessica Bowman, MPP is a freelance communication and development strategist and the owner of Blue Ridge Content & Strategy. She is an Army wife of 13 years and lives in the National Capital Region with her husband and two young sons.

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Looking for a military-friendly real estate agent in your area to buy or sell a home? Click here to fill out our Military Real Estate Questionnaire and we will help find you an agent that is a great fit or send a us a message.