This might sound crazy (as potentially are most of my unfiltered thoughts), but I love PCSing. Not so much the packing (I’m only so crazy) and definitely not the friends I leave behind (to be reunited with at later duty stations, of course), but I love the adventures of encountering a new culture and new people. Every state has its own culture, and every duty station comes with the potential for meeting great new friends–people you would never otherwise have the good fortune to encounter.
We truly are a lucky group.
Most people never move beyond their hometown, let alone their state or country! We make that move over and over again.
Yes, it can get exhausting. You move all of your belongings, your family, your pets, and your job, but they all (usually) arrive in one piece (mostly). The one thing you can’t move, though, is your support group. Sometimes it’s tough looking at friends from back home on Facebook; they’re surrounded by family and fellow childhood friends, creating a tight support group to help them through the good and bad times. It’s particularly tough seeing those close connections while you’re toughing it out through a deployment, illness or pregnancy thousands of miles away.
For these reasons, it’s critical that you make building your support group one of your TOP priorities when you PCS. Now, the traditional means of building a support group used to be through spouse’s groups (AKA the wives’ clubs), but those definitely aren’t for everyone.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve joined them and currently belong to one; some spouse groups just make for better personal support and friendships than others. But I get it — sometimes they smack a little bit too much of mandatory fun, so they’re definitely not the only route you’ll want to pursue when looking for your support group.
The best way to take advantage of the friendships you can glean from the spouses’ groups is to go on sign-up day (usually in September), check out the small group offerings (book club, hiking, lunch bunch, mama’s groups, mahjongg, quilting, wine groups, etc.), find the one or two that suits your personality and interests, and likely you’ll find a like-minded friend or two among the bunch!
Another great way you can build your support group is through the unofficial spouse clubs on Facebook. Make sure to check out our regularly updated list of the most engaged spouse clubs on Facebook. Be your bravest self, and post that you’re moving to the area and you’re looking for friends. In your post include the general area of town you will live in (not the specific neighborhood–safety first, my friends!) and what type of friend you’re looking for (a running buddy, a shopping friend, or just someone to have coffee with).
Your post might look like this:
Hey y’all! I’m moving to San Antonio next month and will be living on the Northwest side outside the 1604 loop. Looking to find a running buddy who loves coffee just as much as I do! Would love to meet up a couple of times a week. P.S. When I say run, I mean jog. Slowly.
So, yeah, it’s sort of like asking out complete strangers on a date. That’s why I said you need to be your bravest self. You’d be amazed at how effective it is, though!!
Another great option is through church groups. In larger cities, you’ll have more options to find a faith group that best suits your particular groups. We’ve found great friends through small groups and bible studies at non-denominational Christian churches at each duty station.
Finally, if you’re a military spouse business owner (or aspiring entrepreneur!), check out MilSpo Project. This is a support group for entrepreneurs and business owners. They host monthly meetings where you can find like-minded spouses to share your hopes, (big!) dreams, and concerns.
If you’ve got more tips for creating a support group at your next duty station, please share in the comments below! We can’t wait to hear what ideas you have to share!
For more tips on MilSpo life, read our blogs. We’ve been there, we can help.