It’s hard to make friends.
It’s hard to make friends when you’re an introvert, a generally awkward person, a young & childless military spouse in a place that is new to you, and a liberal & not religious military spouse at that.
I have learned so. dang. much. about adulting in the past year since we moved to Ohio. I’m in that post-grad identity crisis stage still, which is weird enough on its own, but pile on the desire to make friends in a completely new environment where you don’t know anyone, and still being a newlywed, and you’ve got a LOT OF FEELINGS ALL THE TIME.
When I say that I’m not great at making friends, I mean long-lasting, deep friendships. I’m the kind of person who has a lot of acquaintances and people that I can talk to, chat with, enjoy spending time with at social events. Don’t get me wrong, I love getting to know people on this level, but sometimes I want something more complete. I often end up with just a few close friends, and unless I’m living near those friends, those friendships tend to be more distant than I’d like. I’m not the best at keeping up communication – just ask my mom when I last called her! 😫
Some people are so lucky to be able to form fast friendships that last and have depth, closeness, and heavy meaning, no matter where they go. I envy religious people who can connect through their faith to people and use that as a basis to form friendships, and develop those deeply through fellowship and study. I think that is a beautiful thing, but I’m not a part of a faith that allows me to have that right now. Mothers also instantly have something in common, a shared experience of giving life & raising children, and that can help form fast friendships. I don’t have kids yet, and understand that having kids majorly changes your life, your focus and your priorities, and that it might be harder to become friends with women that don’t yet share those experiences. I can still keep my fingers crossed that I’m just making up that idea though!!
I put such a focus on military spouses because that’s one of the most prominent parts of my identity at the moment. I don’t have a life-defining career, so the main way that I can find and make friends is through the group of Air Force spouses that I am a part of here in Dayton. There’s a shared experience that military spouses have that gives us a way to feel instantly connected to each other, and allows us to explore friendship – but many of us have big differences! I am a liberal, pro-choice feminist, and just by typing those few words, I might instantly alienate a lot of military spouses that I’d hope to be close friends with. I don’t generally have a problem being friends with people who don’t share all of my views, but I know that other people might find it more difficult, and that the closeness I’m looking for sometimes comes from sharing those types of views and ideals. Of course, maybe it’s not “worth it” to pursue friendships with people that would be turned off by big parts of my identity, but it still feels so discouraging to mentally cross more names off the list of potential friends.
Lately, I’ve been putting myself out there a little more, have been more active in these groups, and have been putting more of an effort into the chances that I do have to connect with other women and make friends. And I think it could be starting to pay off! I’m continuing to meet more women that I’m excited to get to know better and to see more often, and I think that feeling is mutual with some of them! I know that building lasting friendships takes work, a spark, effort, and that it won’t always work out the way I might hope – but here’s to hoping.
Also, I am totally aware of how freaking cheesy this whole post sounds, but sometimes my brain just really likes to write cheesy-ass things. #sorrynotsorry