March 29, 2014

PCS Issues: 16 Ways to Make New Friends

Whenever I move to a new place, I always wish I could pack my friends in a suitcase and carry them with me. But of course, that's not possible. As military spouses, we're making new friends every few years and always hoping that some of our old ones will be stationed with us again.

Some of the peeps I wish would be stationed near us again! 

I can't stand leaving people behind. Our bonds form fast, and they stick. Like superglue! Though we leave friends behind physically, I find the relationships last. In this electronic age, it's so easy to keep track of all your friends and family. Between phone calls, texts, Facebook, Skype… you only lose touch if you want to.

Of course, finding friends in your new place can often be difficult. But don't worry! Naturally, I'm here for you. If you're a loyal reader, you know I love my lists and you know I love giving out my ArmyLife tips.

True story.

SO, here goes nothing. I hope this helps you someday on your quest to meet new and interesting people.

1. Join your FRG - I totally know that lots of you won't want to do this. And that's ok! The FRG might not be for you. However, I put this at the top of the list because it's the easiest and fastest way to meet spouses in the unit. It's also the best supply of information you'll find (at least, it should be). Even if you don't find your new BFF here, at least you'll have some people to call in case of emergency, yes? Give it a chance, peeps.

2. Facebook - I know what you're thinking… say what?  But Facebook is actually a fabulous tool to find new people in your area. As always, be cautious. However use this tool and find the FB pages for all your local interests and army info. Join your post's ACS (Army Community Service) page. Find the spouses page(s) for your installation. Do this before your move. Not only do you get great information, but you may find spouses you have lots in common with. On our most recent PCS move, I met several great ladies before I even arrived. It's awesome to have a small support system in place before you even get to your new location, seriously.

3. Sign Up for ACS Classes/Trips - Since we were already talking about ACS above… sign up for some stuff, people! ACS nearly always offers a newcomers class, and this is a fantastic way to learn about your new area and to meet people. They often offer fun day trips too.

4. Meet Your Neighbors - Knock on the door, bring a plate of brownies, and say hey! Right after our move to Germany, I was lucky enough to meet most of my neighbors. Many of us arrived within days of each other, so we had that in common already. We bonded quickly, and BUNCO games and bbqs have ensued.
Our latest BUNCO game 

5. Join a Club - There are clubs everywhere which might pique your interest. Look for photo clubs, book clubs, sewing clubs. Anything you consider a hobby, I bet there's a group for it. Check the flyers on post and search social media. Check out the community pages for whatever your local town is. There is a ton of information out there, you only need look.

6. Outdoor Rec - I didn't actually discover outdoor recreation until we moved to Germany. But they are everywhere, on every post! Find their office at your location and see what cool trips they have to offer. So far, I went to Budapest with them, and I'm going to Bratislava this weekend. They always seem to have hiking and biking trips available, and tons of other outdoor activities as well.

7. Check Out Your Library - The library usually has all sorts of great programs available, everything from book clubs to reading hours. This is especially good if you have smaller children and wish to meet other parents. Here in Germany, our library also sponsors a "conversation club" to help us learn the language. It won't hurt to see what is available in your area.

8. Walk Your Dog - Or go to a dog park. I meet so many people through my Lucy! Everyone wants to pet her, or see her tricks. The kids all want to give her biscuits. A dog is an easy introduction to new people, especially if they have dogs themselves. Honestly, almost 75% of people I meet have been through our puppy.

My Lucy dog

9. Take a Class at the Gym - The gyms and pools on post offer so many classes. Try yoga, or zumba, or water aerobics. Get in there and meet people!

10. Spouse Clubs - every post has spouse clubs, in one form or another. Join the NCO Spouses club, or the Officer Spouses club. Attend their luncheons and outings. Strike up conversation, and see what you have in common.

11. Get Your Kids Involved - For those of you with children, there are endless avenues to meet other parents. Take your kid to the playground, join playdate groups, the PTA, Girl/Boy Scouts, etc. Chat with the other parents, get involved, volunteer. All these things help you meet new people, and feel less alone in your new town.

12.  Volunteer - There are volunteer opportunities no matter where you are, whether on post or off. Try ACS first to see what options are available on post. Volunteer at the schools, in church, at local nursing homes and hospitals. Volunteer for your FRG!

13. Church - If you're a person of faith, find a local church or group that meets your needs. Join in for bible studies, youth groups, and attend services. Like to sing? Join the choir!

14. Get a Job - I've made so many great friends at various jobs through the years. Look for work both on the economy and on post. If nothing is available, try being a consultant for companies like Pampered Chef, Lia Sofia, etc. If you already run a home-based business, get your name out there. Leave cards everywhere you go, and advertise on post (and installation FB pages!) if you can.

15. Network with Other Spouses - I guarantee someone you are already friends with knows people at your new duty station. The military is a small world, and we bump into each other everywhere. Let your existing friends hook you up with some of their existing friends. Spread the word among all your spouse pals and see who knows who. You'd be surprised how many people you know that also know each other.

16. DON'T BE AFRAID TO PUT YOURSELF OUT THERE! This is the most important suggestion of all. You can't be afraid to introduce yourself to someone knew, or to ask people if they want to get together sometime. Be bold, my friends, be bold.

What are your suggestions for meeting new friends? Feel free to comment below. Until next time, happy hunting (friend hunting, that is)!

Thanks for reading, everyone!
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  1. Wish you could pack me in your suitcase too!!! This is such a great list! I have done or still doing 8/16 of them!! Miss you!!!

    1. Miss you too! At the risk of repeating myself, come visit soon, lol!!!

  2. I agree with Laura, pack me up, too! Great list, Allie :)