How to Make Friends as a Military Spouse

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A few weeks ago, we asked our readers to share their favorite ways to make new friends when they move to a new duty station.

Many people expressed how difficult it is to make new friends when they are constantly moving around. And many others talked about how it seems almost pointless to put in the effort into making new friends when one of you is inevitably going to move away.

I totally understand both of those sentiments. I’ve thought them many times. But when I think about my 10 years as a military spouse, the friendships I’ve made are some of the best parts.

There is a cliche that says that “some people are put into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime,” and that has held true for me. If I’m going to live somewhere for a few years, I don’t want to spend the entire time without any friends.  And you never know when your paths may cross again.

There are only so many places that submariners go for shore duty. I’ve made friends, been stationed away from them for a while, and then a few years later, we’re stationed in the same place again! That’s one of the cool things about being in sub life. After reconnecting with them, I’ve been introduced to their friends, too.

Okay, now that I’ve (hopefully) convinced you to put yourself out there, let’s talk about how to do that.

Someone on our page said, “I have patience. Sometimes making friends is a marathon, not a sprint,” and I have to agree! It takes time and patience to build a friendship. That can be difficult when we move somewhere new and we crave connection immediately. I want to share some things that have worked for me over the years as well as some ideas our community sent it.

Another person said, “Just generally putting yourself out there and seeing who else has your vibe early on…no wasting time with small talk friends.” I’ve found that being upfront and honest goes a long way. Whenever I have outright told someone that I want to be their friend and asked their number, that has been well received. Most other military spouses are also eager to make new friends. They are just too shy to make the first move!

Another person replied saying, “It’s all about being yourself and sometimes showing up when you don’t want to. Never know what or who is in store!” If there is an opportunity to attend an event or workout class or event, take it! You never know who you might meet.   Some people expressed how difficult it is to make friends when you don’t have kids. Others validated this by telling us that they make friends through their kids.

So for the purposes of this article, I’m not going to include any of the kid-centric ways that people generally make friends.  Here are some suggestions:

Friends of Friends

One reader shared a genius tip: “You hang out with the 1 or 2 people you do know and ask them to invite a friend or 2. Rinse and repeat. It just grows from there.” Once you find one or two friends, you could try organizing a meet up! Or you could start a Facebook Group just for friends and friends of friends in your neighborhood. Then you can start posting meet ups, like a trip to the movies, hikes, a book club, park night, or drinks. Whoever is interested can join! In my current duty station, I was lucky enough to make a friend who invited me to join her neighborhood friend facebook group, and I was able to make more friends that way.

Friend Blind Date

I met one of my best friends in Hawaii through another friend! Whenever I am moving, I reach out to my friends and ask them if they have any friends or family members in my new duty station. My friend wasn’t stationed in Hawaii, but she connected me to her best friend, and we became fast friends. I’m currently stationed in Colorado, in the same area one of my friends from Hawaii is from. She connected me with her mom! I met up with her a few times for a walk, and she introduced me to the teenager who became our babysitter!

Workout Classes

What type of workouts do you enjoy? Yoga? Crossfit? Rock climbing? If you go to a yoga studio, Crossfit gym, or rock climbing gym, you’re bound to run into people. Small talk can easily lead to something more when you have at least one thing in common with someone.

Book Club

I’m a sucker for a good book club. Many times, local libraries and local independent bookstores will have their own monthly book clubs. Again, this is a great way to meet people who you have at least one thing in common with and to get into some good conversations right away. You’ll probably get a sense of who you connect with after just one or two book clubs!

Military Wild

Have you heard of Military Wild? They connect military families who enjoy exploring the outdoors. It’s a great way to not only meet new people but also to explore your duty station! You can find them on Instagram and on Facebook or click here to find your local chapter.


When I lived in Hawaii, I volunteered at the Navy Marine Corps Relief Society (NMCRS). Depending on your interests, you can work in the office or in the thrift shop. One thing I learned about volunteering was that many other volunteers also started volunteering as a way to make friends. It’s a perfect way to meet people who are also looking to meet other people. Learn more about the NMCRS resources here.

Church/Religious Groups

Many people said one of their favorite things about finding a new church in their new duty station is the sense of community and people they meet. Through all of the different activities and volunteer opportunities that churches offer, you can meet like-minded people who share your faith.

FRG/Boat Events

Okay, I know that this is controversial and that people have widely varying opinions on the Family Readiness Group (FRG) and boat events, but going back to one of our reader’s words of wisdom, you really don’t know who is out there unless you put yourself out there! I met a really good friend through the FRG in Hawaii. We had a lot of fun at boat events together and eventually started hanging out outside boat events. It’s worth a shot!  

What do you think? Have you tried any of these? What are your tried-and-true tips for making new friends?      

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