Fostering military friendships

by Neriah Mitchener
Stripes Europe

For some people, it is so hard to leave your friends and family behind as you embark on your military career or you move to be with a servicemember. It can be difficult to travel and see the ones you love due to work or financial circumstances, so you try your best to find comforts at your duty station that give you the same feeling as being home.

Quite often, you are thankful for the new friends you make because they understand the expectations, pressure and stress that military life instills in you. It is encouraging to know that you have someone you can lean on. If you have yet to meet the types of people that I am talking about, just give it time. Your military friends become your family.

As a significant other, we also find our circle. We look to each other for guidance and wisdom in the hard times of deployments or family crisis that our hometown friends may not quite understand. We also share the good times of watching each other grow into the kind of person we want to be. We use our friendships and the circumstances we are placed in to rise above the average girlfriend, boyfriend, husband or wife so that we may be who we need for our servicemember.

The friend that you can call on to make sure you have a safe ride home on a night out may be the same friend that gets to hold your newborn baby. When biological family is absent, your military family steps in. You have that wingman, spouse or coworker who you know that you can count on to pet sit, watch your house or even discuss your wellbeing.

The time comes when you are needed at another base to fulfill the mission and you must leave these newfound comforts behind and start over. Leaving those you have now deemed as family can be difficult. Hopefully these friendships stick with you and in the future your paths cross again.

The military lifestyle can make you strong and resilient but just like any other situation, sometimes the friendships can fade. Please don’t let the trial and error of some friendships determine what all future friendships will be like. It is important to remember that you have learned the type of friend you want and know the type of friend you want to be.

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