Friends. They’re basically essential for surviving military life. Whether it’s to keep you sane during a year-long deployment or from dying of boredom when you’re stationed in the middle of the woods, good friends are a must.
With as quickly as military friendships seem to develop, it’s no surprise that many of these friendships evolve into lifelong bonds. These are just a few examples of the signs that your friends are no longer just friends, but family.
You feel at home.
..at their home. And they feel at home at yours. No more politely asking for a glass of water. You know where the glasses are, help yourself! But honestly, I think the telltale sign for me, is that I stop obsessively cleaning before a visit. Toys scattered on the floor, dishes piled up in the sink, and thank you, for not noticing the grass that maybe hasn’t been mowed in a month. This is a judgement-free zone. I may also steal the last soda in your fridge. Sorry.
There’s no more you; it’s we.
As in, “What are we doing this weekend?” At this point, it’s pretty much assumed that weekend plans will be joint. Maybe not the entire weekend, but if I don’t see the framily at least once, there’s a tiny space in my heart that feels empty.
You vacation together.
With military families constantly moving all over the country, it’s likely that you’ll one day be permanently separated from your close military friends. The only logical solution to fix this is to vacation together! Luckily, up until moving to Hawaii, we were always able to meet up in a reasonable central location. Although, we have journeyed to New York, California, and the Caribbean together. And of course, they’ve come to visit in Hawaii and most recently, we vacationed to the Big Island together. Family reunion!
You stay at their place on cross-country moves.
This one is kinda along the same lines as the vacation one. When it comes time to pack up and head to your next duty station, why pay for a hotel, when you can camp out on a dear friend’s extra bed for free?! Before coming to Hawaii, we made the road trip from Missouri, back home to Florida. You know where we strategically planned a stop? Fort Stewart, GA! I got to spend a night catching up with a friend and had many of the conveniences that hotels just don’t offer.
They literally become your family.
In our case, Adri’s God parents are our very best friends from our first duty station. Never did I think I’d allow people who I had only known for a short period of time take on such an important role in my child’s life. Military life almost forces you to develop friendships at a breakneck pace, so even after knowing these guys for only two or three years, we knew we wanted to be connected to them permanently. Ironically, we weren’t even huge fans of each other when we first met!