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A Military Wife’s 5 Steps to Making Mom Friends

I am a military wife. In our short 5 years of marriage, we have packed up and moved 4 times. And I have made, deep, meaningful, lasting friendships in EVERY place we’ve lived. Is it hard? Heck yeah. But I can attest that it is so worthwhile and so important to live in community.

When I tell people these stats about my life, the single most common response is, “How did you do it?” In these five {not so easy} steps. That’s how.

And I promise you. If I can make long, lasting, meaningful friendships, so can you. 

1. Put yourself out there.

Take risks. Talk to strangers. Strike up a conversation with the mom next to you at the grocery store. Introduce yourself to someone new at church. Join a mom’s playgroup on Facebook and actually go to one of the get togethers. Is it scary? Yes. But everyone else is hesitant too. Remember: you’ll never meet new people unless you meet new people

2. Don’t date. Just decide.

Anyone affiliated with the military will be the first to tell you this. We may only have a year, or six months (and yes, we still need friends for these short durations!), so we don’t have time to beat around the bush to see if we click with you. I’m not saying ditch your new friend after the first 5 minutes of conversation. Did you know your spouse was the one after the first date? Probably not. But after the third mommy date, you’ll have a pretty good idea if this is a person you want a deeper relationship with. 

3. Be vulnerable.

Maybe not tell your whole sob story on the first park playdate (there’s a time and place for each story), but transparency incites transparency. Model the level of friendship you want. No relationship can flourish and thrive with shallow roots.
Don’t feel comfortable being vulnerable? Revisit Step One. Not sure if you feel comfortable being vulnerable with a specific person? Go back to Step Two.

4. Invite others alongside your life.

Going to the zoo? Ask your neighbor to join you. Walking your kids to the park? Ask someone to meet you there. Craving a caffeine kick from your favorite coffee house? Ask a friend what she wants and then bring it to her. Having alone time with your kids is needed, but so is adult conversation. And if you find yourself with no time to devote to relationships outside your home, maybe you need to reevaluate your commitments (and don’t forget to look for ways to connect deeper with people you already come in contact with, like the mom who always sits near you at soccer practice. See Step One). Because I can’t explain enough how important community is. So often we go about our business, each sticking to our own lives. But when we invite someone to join us, even on simple adventures or in simple conversations, bonds are formed and are allowed to grow. 

5. Keep in touch.

How did people live before Facebook?!? But seriously, it’s an amazing resource for the modern mama. It’s a one-stop shop for brief updates on those people you don’t see much anymore. Maybe it’s because they got a new job, or sickness has swept through their house for months on end. Or maybe they moved. Lasting friendships don’t have to be within close proximity. They just need to have intentionality. Let me say that again. 

All it takes to create and maintain friendships is intentionality. 

Send a text. Shoot an email. Comment on a post. Let them know you’re thinking about them. And carve out time to connect on a semi-regular basis. Whether it’s a kid playdate (which let’s be real, is more like a mama playdate), a night out, or a quick phone call while you’re folding laundry, just make time to catch up on life. 

Now, I’m not saying to go through these 5 steps with every friend every time. I understand there are different friends for different seasons and occasions. I have ‘Church Friends’ who understand my spirituality. I have ‘Military Friends’ who understand deployments. I have ‘Running Friends’ who challenge me to go the extra mile. I have ‘Older Mom Friends‘ who’ve already raised babies and can help guide me. I have ‘Younger Mom Friends’ who are new to motherhood and come to me for guidance.

All these friendships are so important in my growth and development as a wife, mother, and as a woman. So, I’ve made sure they all have a place in my life, somehow.
And I’ve made 100% of these friendships by using these 5 steps. 

They’ve worked time and time again for me. I hope they work for you too. 

Did you make a new friend using my advice? Let me know! I want to hear your story! 

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