The other day someone asked me how I go about making friends when we move. You know, finding proper friends, she said, finding your people. It got me thinking, when we move how do I find my people on the Patch?
Yes, I know we are in military housing and that we are surrounded by military types on the Patch and we all share a bond in that we live and breathe this military spouse life but it doesn’t mean we are all besties. That would be amazing though wouldn’t it? If you moved somewhere and got on with everyone and it was all lovely and happy and friendly and awesome (apologies that sounds like part of the Trolls script). However, the reality is that whilst we share the military spouse bond you will never get on with everyone, or maybe that’s just me? If there is anyone out there who does get on with everyone they meet please let me know your secret.
Anyway, finding your people can take time, patience and the ability to drink a lot of tea/coffee. If you are really lucky it will take days, sometimes weeks, or it could take a few months to find those people who will keep you sane, listen to you moan or open a bottle of wine early if the going gets tough (you know who you are!).
You know the saying you kiss a lot of frogs before you find your Prince (or in my case soldier)? Well for military spouses you drink many cups of tea/coffee before you find your people.
Depending on where you are posted depends on what’s out there to get to know people. I don’t know about you but I am not very good at enforced fun or bonding. I absolutely loathe walking in to a room and having to talk to people I don’t know, it’s the small talk, the awkward silences and occasionally, dare I say it, the judginess (is that even a word?).
That sounds like I am really anti-social, I’m not, I’m just impatient. I would like to bypass the first few small talk questions ‘What does your husband do?’, ‘Where have you moved from?’ or ‘Do you have Children?’ and get straight on to the important stuff. When I say important I mean ‘Where can I get a decent coffee?’, ‘Who is going to win [insert reality TV show here]?’ or ‘Which is the best Chinese takeaway round here?’. On my mission to make friends over the years I’ve been to coffee mornings, tots groups, play groups, more coffee mornings, I’ve been to Family Days, Women’s groups and yes, you guessed it more coffee mornings.
Every 2 years I have done this. That’s a lot of small talk and a lot of coffee.
So, I had a thought. Maybe I’ve been going about making friends on the Patch the wrong way this whole time. Perhaps there is a way I could avoid the coffee and small talk. So, whilst aimlessly scrolling through Instagram waiting for the kettle to boil I was inspired. I could be like The Dude with a Sign except female, British and worse handwriting.
When we’d moved and unpacked the boxes I could use a box to make a sign. Once I’d found the kids felt tips I would use my best handwriting to make signs saying things like ‘Looking for my people, are you one?’, ‘It’s 6 o’clock somewhere, fancy a drink?’, ‘Great chat and I make awesome brews’ or ‘Save my sanity, be my friend’.
Then, picture this. You’re sitting in your lounge drinking your morning cuppa listening to Phil and Holly giggle their way through This Morning when you look out the window and see someone (me) walking past holding up a sign. You are curious, so you go to the window to have a proper look, but not too close to the window in case I see you. You stand to the side and have a peek. You are intrigued, what on earth is this woman doing? No-one walks around the Patch with a sign, how very strange!
Aha! That’s it I’ve made you look, then you read the sign and it goes either way. You come out and say Hi, this says to me you get me and my sense of humour and we become friends. Or, you stay peeking through your window trying not to be seen and make the decision to avoid the sign holding woman at all costs, after all, who does that? Definitely not your type of person.
Hmmmm, not sure if it’s a good idea but if you do see a woman walking round the Patch with a sign, it might be me, so please come and say Hi (but only if you want to).
Or maybe I should just continue drinking all the coffee and making all the small talk, after all, good things come to those who wait.