Good friends are hard to find. In military life, they're both hard to find and hard to keep. What's not hard is appreciating the ones we have.
Like most aspects of military life, military friendships are unique, life-altering and often subject to change. It seems that once you find that one special person who shares your love for romance novels and overlooks your tendency for tardiness, her husband is assigned orders to move halfway around the world, leaving you back to friendship square one and wondering if you'll ever find someone to replace her.
Some military friendships don't survive the separations and fizzle out. Other friends remain on your annual Christmas card list, but are otherwise lost in your list of Facebook friends. And then there are the chosen few who stick around long after they held your hand as you delivered your second baby without your husband, long after you stopped by with ice cream and tissues on day one of deployment, long after your last hug good-bye.
From the military spouse you befriended simply because she was in the right place at the right time to the friend you've known and cherished through a combined dozen PCS moves, all types of military friends play an essential role in our lives. These people are what make this military life extraordinary.
Here are 6 reasons to love and appreciate those very special people we call our military friends:
1. Military friends are mind readers. They may not have certified psychic abilities, but they do intrinsically understand what you're going through as a military spouse. As one of our SpouseBuzz readers, Crystal, said, "Bottom line: They just get it. There is no explaining things in detail, there is no need to have to call out for help, Mil Spouses just know, they understand, they empathize and they will listen and try to help without being asked."
2. Military friends are on call 24/7. One of our readers, Angie, said that she is most thankful for the help her friends provide when she's in "crisis mode." "Moving? Need a sitter? Having a baby? Call a Mil Spouse. She will be there." Even geographically-challenged friends are just a phone call or Skype session or text message away to provide support from afar.
3. Military friends are the comic relief amidst the drama. Military life isn't always funny. But it shouldn't be all drama either. Sometimes you need a hearty, cleansing belly laugh just as a reminder not to take yourself so seriously all the time. Plus, if you're looking for an emotional release, laughing is way more fun than crying.
4. The support military friends offer is unconditional. True friends see the good, the bad and the ugly. They cheer for you when you're up, they pick you up when you're down, and then they meet you in the middle to help you move forward. They don't care if you're not wearing makeup or if you've gained a few pounds or if you confide that the deployment is taking more of a toll on you than you expected. "We love each other on good days and bad days. We support each other when we hear from our husbands and when we don't," said Jennifer, another military spouse.
5. The strength of our military friends is contagious. No one can be mentally tough every minute of the day. That's why you lean on your friends to borrow some of their strength when your reserves are running low. Because military friends have a mutual understanding of the challenges this life presents, they're also aware of which muscles you need to flex to get going again. As reader Laura said, "We use our experiences to empower each other." Empower away!
6. Military friends have been there, done that, and bought the t-shirt. But they don't keep that t-shirt for themselves. They pass the t-shirt along, with all the holes, wrinkles and stains they picked up along the way. They act as mentors, wise teachers imparting their sage knowledge of military life that can only be gained through the blood, sweat and tears of experience.
For more on the military spouse experience, visit Spousebuzz.
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