Starting over is hard, but there are resources to help you plug into your new community
Sometimes it’s difficult starting over. There are so many firsts again: new dentist, doctors, hairdressers and barbers, dry cleaners, and everything else that comes along with a new move. Finding friends can be even trickier, but if you follow these tips and tricks, you just may find adjusting a whole lot easier.
1. Facebook Pages: Many of us are on Facebook these days, but if you really do some digging you can find answers in advance of a move, or simply connect with pages you like. Some businesses have Facebook pages; check out ours: Military1. Branch out and start with “liking” your local Chamber of Commerce page and Parks and Recreation page. If you have a favorite activity, Google the name of your current city plus the activity (city + activity) and you’ll discover websites that also have Facebook Pages which you may not have known to originally look for. “Like” these pages and even make a comment or two so that you can count on the information getting on your feed.
2. Facebook Groups: Groups are great for actually meeting and interacting with people. While you may not have a specific group name to search for, start by clicking on a group you already belong to which contains the name of the new city you’re living in (if you’re not already in a group, find one with your city name in it). Facebook will automatically suggest other groups for you to join based on groups your friends are in (left side of screenshot) and your interests and profile (right side of screenshot). Keep checking the right column each time you log into Facebook.
3. Office Base/Post Resources: Stop by your Military Relocation Office and ask for a relocation packet. Chances are there are a ton of flyers and guides that will pique your interest. Ask if they do any formal training classes. Marine Corps bases sponsor a LINKS program (Lifestyles, Insight, Networking, Knowledge, and Skills) put on by other military spouses that is phenomenal. Even though I’m a seasoned military spouse, I always walk away with new information when I attend LINKS.
4. Your Local Base Clubs: Stop by and frequent your Enlisted Club or Officer Club. Watch for when they are doing large events, and chances are you’ll meet someone interesting. If you’re a military spouse, join the Officer Spouses Club, Enlisted Spouses Club, or a running club like Stroller Warriors. This is a surefire way to meet people who can share pieces of advice and recommendations for local hot spots.
5. Have Young Children? Join MOPS: For those of you with kids five and under, I highly suggest that you join MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers). Don’t let the name fool you — you can be pregnant or have kids in Kindergarten to join. It’s a fantastic way to bond with other moms, discuss parenting dilemmas, and more.
6. School-Aged Children? Parks and Rec: Finding new friends for our kids can be difficult. I highly recommend signing them up for local camps or sports through the city’s Department of Recreation. There they will meet kids their own age and have a chance to interact while you run some errands or unpack the house. Once school begins, start a conversation with another mom or dad at the bus stop or school. It can be difficult to get the conversation started, but even something along the lines of “Gosh, we just moved here. Does it always rain this much?” is an easy way to break the ice. Many parents are happy to offer advice and recommendations, especially when they know that they’re helping out someone who just moved to their town. If you had a good feeling about them, ask for their phone number and follow up with a play date.
Wherever your military journey takes you, find the positives. Put yourself out there even if you’re uncomfortable doing so. Your duty station will be a lot more enjoyable if you plug in. Good luck!