CONTRIBUTED BY ALEXIS TUCKER
It’s really important to have people you can talk to when you live far from home and need someone to trust that will help you with your kids, house, or pet when you are away or sick. Sometimes you just need someone to lend an ear, or someone that you can lend an ear as well.
A few weeks after arriving in Germany I got locked out of our apartment. The German doors lock from both sides and do not have a deadbolt. It’s very easy to lock yourself out. I had to walk up the stairs to our neighbors to ask for some help, because I was not only without a phone, but I was barefoot! Luckily, I was able to use their phone to message my husband and he drove home about an hour later and unlocked the door for me before returning to work.
I always find myself in awkward situations like that. I met the neighbors at least, haha! So how does one make friends when you move so often and jobs are hard to find? First of all, be open minded and don’t be afraid to ask someone to hang out first. Take initiative!
I have found friendships with a few military spouses through Instagram when the military support accounts do roll call. I have not hung out with any of these girls yet. However, I noticed if stationed in the states it is a lot easier to meet people on Instagram versus Germany.
Most of the people I have met were on Facebook groups for the location where we are stationed at here in Bavaria. You’d be surprised how many other wives are seeking friendships with commonality. I have met a ton of great women through these groups. I have had the pleasure of hanging out with them and I have really clicked with a few of them.
It can be slightly awkward initially. I feel that I pick three common things to talk about besides traveling and the military and I try to talk about those first and my fall back conversations are traveling and the military.
I hosted a meet and greet at our home with the girls that I met on Facebook. I had 10 girls over for snacks and for a game of Guesstures. I gave the group that won a gift card to the PX for 5 bucks. It kept everybody competitive and brought people out of their shells.
Afterwards we did a game of speed friending to a music playlist. I paused it every time the girls had to rotate. It was so much fun getting to know everyone and having a girls’ day. After the girls left I compared the speed friending sheets and sent the girls the information of the girls that they mutually connected with.
The girls really seemed to enjoy it and I don’t think anybody felt awkward because I tried to keep everyone constantly moving from one game to the next. Afterwards, the girls all sat and talked for about half of an hour before they made take home plates and headed out.
I have a friend that volunteered in a play and she has made great friends with the cast. If you can volunteer I strongly believe that this will help you meet people with a common interest.
Besides the kind neighbors that let us in, we have also met the other neighbors while walking our dog or in passing. You never know if a friendship could bloom. I found out that one set of neighbors are actually from Georgia and had similar interests as my husband and me, including our like for rocakbilly music. The other neighbor likes similar house decoration as me and has a dog that my dog adores.
My husband’s unit is tiny. There are only two other wives where he works and although I have met one and we are not close, I think it is a good way to make friends. I actually clicked with one of the civilian wives, which leads me to that point that you should try to make friends outside of the military, as well. It’s great for emotional support when both of your husbands leave together to have military wife friends, but sometimes you need someone you can talk about other things as well.
Do you go to the gym a lot, the dog park, or the craft store? Strike up a conversation with someone! You never know where it may lead. I’ve met a few people at the dog park by simply chatting. One girl even invited us to church with her.
Have fun and be safe! Always let someone know where you are meeting and when. It’s smart to meet in a public place. Do you live in Bavaria? Let’s hang out!