21 Sep
Lookin’ for Friends in All the Wrong Places

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

My husband is in the military, and we live on base. He is gone a majority of the day, and sometimes I get bored.   Usually I do chores and go on the internet or play video games. I am applying for jobs, but don’t have one yet.

So sometimes, I like to walk around my house and look outside and such. Sometimes, when I look outside, my neighbors happen to be out. I don’t, like, stare at them. But I do look for a second and then go back to what I was doing. I was kinda doing that today, but this time I believe they saw me looking. Now I’m worried that they believe I’m some creepy loser who just watches them from the window. I don’t mean to be creepy. I just get bored and get curious what people are doing. Do I just avoid them or tell them I just look outside sometimes?

Signed,

Peeping Penelope

___________________________________

Dear Peeping Penelope,

::sets down binoculars::

Listen, it’s perfectly normal for you to look out your damn window. All of us do it when we’re bored or daydreaming or worried that there’s a serial killer lurking in the bushes. In fact, when I go for walks around my neighborhood, I am compelled to look in everyone’s garage, should it happen to be open. I can inventory half my block’s lawn equipment. AND THAT’S OKAY.

What’s more worrisome is the fact that you seem trapped indoors. And that when you see these neighbors of yours, you hide behind the curtains rather than wave hello. As for approaching them with an explanation, you may come off like a lunatic if you try to rationalize your anti-social behavior. (Been there, done that, Penelope. Trust me.)

As a woman whose husband is in the military, I can attest to how difficult it can be to meet people on base, especially if you don’t have any children to use as social pawns at the playground. But as difficult as it is to put yourself out there, it’s absolutely essential for survival, Penelope. SO ::smack:: PULL ::smack:: YOURSELF ::smack:: TOGETHER!

A few ideas!

1. Ask your husband to invite some of his friends or co-workers (and their spouses) over for a dinner party. Talk about anything other than how much you like staring at people from the window.

2. Look up and contact your base’s Family Readiness coordinator. This is often a spouse that can put you in contact with social groups and gatherings in your community. (I’d steer clear of the Neighborhood Crime Watch.)

3. GO OUTSIDE. Looking wistfully out the window is a very clear sign that you want to be out, interacting with others. Go for a walk, read a book at the park, anything! (Just leave the binoculars at home.)

You’ll need some patience with the process and confidence in yourself, but you’re bound to make friends as long as you’re not holed up inside.

Good luck!

Kristine, TMH

12 Responses to “Lookin’ for Friends in All the Wrong Places”

09.21.11#1

Comment by Wendi.

Great advice!

I was a notorious Gladys Kravitz when we had freaky next-door neighbors. It was like a free reality show.

09.21.11#2

Comment by Bean.

Huh. I had a much easier time meeting people on base than I have living off base. You’re kind of all in the same boat on base.

What about inviting some of the other at-homes over for coffee, lemonade, or adult beverages? Or play newbie and ask questions like “Hey, how do I find the library” to break the ice? But girlfriend, get out of the house.

Kristine Reply:

I think that’s a great point!

For some personality types (read “shy” and “antisocial”), it can be more challenging because…let’s be honest…it can be cliquey on a base. And if you’re childless, it’s easier to feel out of place, it seems.

But I’m awesome at generalizing, so there’s THAT too.

09.21.11#3

Comment by Erica.

Oh girlfriend, get out of the house! I promise you no one on base thinks you are creepy for watching, and in fact, they are just as curious about you. Remember, everyone was the new kid when they first moved on base, and most spouses are looking for friends just loke you. If walking outside and saying hello is a bit daunting, (been there, felt that), then why don’t you look for a volunteer opportunity that interests you? All bases have museums, hospitals, animal shelters, etc. If you are crafty, some bases even have gift shops where you can sell your handmade items. Attend your FRG meetings! Most of those your DH should attend as well, and he can introduce you to others. Remember this, I met my BFF on base through a woman we mutually agree is a total cow. However, if I hadn’t sucked it up and hung out with her a bit, I never would have met my BFF. Usually there are also new spouses coffees. If so, that is the perfect way to meet women who are in the same shoes, (I prefer flip flops), as you. So go put on your favorite “I love me” outfit and get out of the house! (Most base housing sucks anyway, so what do you have to lose???)

09.21.11#4

Comment by Plano Mom.

Bake some cookies. Leave them on your neighbors’ doorstep, or even better knock on the door and hand them to whomever answers. Put a note on it that says “I’m new and I’d like to meet my neighbors.” Put some general information on the note, whatever you are comfortable with. And then give them a way to politely contact you, be it a phone number or an invitation to wave and stop by. Reverse welcome wagon.

Kristine Reply:

I *love* that idea!

Plano Mom Reply:

Thanks, and I forgot to point out that I have a huge picture window in my dining room, and I regularly wave at my neighbors from it. Everyone checks out their neighbors, it’s why curtains and walls were invented.

09.21.11#5

Comment by Meredith L..

Just go outside. If you stand around looking clueless and lost long enough, chances are some overly chatty and annoyingly outgoing person like me will approach you and make you be her newest BFF.

09.21.11#6

Comment by dusty earth mother.

Make the first move, however you want to do it. I guarantee, no one will say “oh, that’s the freaky lady who looked at me through her window for five seconds.”

09.22.11#7

Comment by HerMelness Speaks.

It’s only gone too far when you break into their house and are watching them from THEIR Sitting Room window. You haven’t done that…have you?

09.23.11#8

Comment by danielle.

When we were stationed in Japan I taught cooking classes and english. I went to yoga and took numerous walks every day. I was involved in every single activity my husbands squadron ever did. After trying to off myself with a crochet needle I finally got a crappy job on base at the bowling alley. Best thing I ever did. Really, nothing can compare to getting out of the house and being paid for it.

04.25.13#9

Comment by I Confided in My Friend, Not Her Husband | The Mouthy Housewives.

[…] give her a chance.  Making new friends is so time consuming.  Maybe she did nothing wrong. Maybe she will change her ways. Maybe […]

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