They always do. They always will. And while some people find solace in saying, “It’s not ‘goodbye,’ it’s ‘see you later,’” the truth is that it’s often goodbye.
Many military families do find themselves bumping into other military folks they know as they move around the globe, but civilian coworkers, the people who lived next door, or the kids’ babysitter? You’ll probably have to make a concerted effort to stay in touch once you leave for a new duty station.
And even in the world of constant communication and instant gratification, that can be tough.
We’re busy. Life moves on. People fall in and out of your life. You fall in and out of people’s lives. But if it’s important to you to keep in touch, there are so many tools at your fingertips to make it happen.
Everyone’s life is hectic. If you need to, schedule time to call a friend. Set an alarm on your phone to write a note or shoot them a random email. Those little gestures can make a friendship continue to blossom, even when there’s a span of hundreds or thousands of miles in between.
Use Social Media
Social media has revolutionized the way military spouses stay in contact… so use it to your advantage. Will you miss the conversation from your weekly meet-ups with at the playground with your moms group? Create a secret group on Facebook and interact virtually. Make sure that you see your friends’ updates—Facebook can weed them out of your newsfeed—by tagging them as a close friend or interacting with their content. When you do this, Facebook’s algorithm will continue to show their stuff in your newsfeed.
Send a card. Write a letter. Pack up a care package. It’s more fun (and more thoughtful) than writing “HBD” on someone’s Facebook wall, and it’ll make your recipient feel loved and cared for too.
Plan a Getaway
Have a special group of friends who feed your soul? Who you just need to be around? Plan a getaway with them, even if it’s not to an exotic locale. A reunion every few years may just be thing to keep in touch and grow your friendship through the years.
Find an App for That
There are tons of apps available that can shrink the miles and make it easier to keep in touch. Share goofy pictures on Snap Chat, playing Words With Friends with your friends, or posting photos on Instagram. If you’re overseas, there’s a fantastic app called Viber. As long as your other recipient has it, you can text and call for free from wifi (or if you’re not, pay just a few cents a minute)—perfect if you don’t have iMessage.
Create a Newsletter
As a kid, did you ever create a neighborhood newsletter? Revive those pre-internet days and get your kids involved. Create a family newsletter and send it to friends and family to keep them up-to-date with the goings on in your home. Just be careful—make sure that you’re not spamming people and that you’re being careful with PERSEC and OPSEC.
Make Time on Vacation
If you’re coming back to the area on vacation or business, make sure that you let your friends know ahead of time so they can adjust their schedules to see you. It might not always be possible to do this, so make sure you carpe diem when there is time in your travel plans!
We’re truly lucky to be alive in the golden era of communication and transportation. It’s easy to get places… and getting in touch with people has never been easier! How do you harness these tools to keep your friends close after you PCS?