Who is your Buddy?
We rarely come into Army (or military) life knowing what to do and how to act.
Our first duty station profoundly shapes us whether it is by the location, mission, or the people that serve with us. As we think back to that first unit function, the first FRG meeting, or the first deployment; we might remember the deep gulf of “unknowns” we were faced with as we started this journey.
We may also remember that first spouse with whom we felt that “instant connection” or that jolt of energy when we meet someone else who simply “gets us”. This phenomenon of instant attraction occurs because, in the Military, we measure our our time differently our civilian counterparts do.
Meeting a new person in the world of the military is not a slow, crockpot simmer of our thoughts and interests. It is more like the intense heat of an Instant Pot…. fast, hot, and ready to be tested quickly.
In our special world, friendship is measured similar to dog years: one month is equal to about seven, and by the time December comes around, that new friendship we made in June is now 42 months old.
That’s how we roll.
So when the time comes to form those really important relationships known as “Battle Buddies”, its no wonder that we rarely hesitate to fill those spots.
The first truth about finding a Battle Buddy is that no matter how emotionally intelligent we think we are; we often fail to realize how much we mean to someone else. Even the most accidental meeting can result in a lifelong friendship that survives time, PCS moves, and various forms of stress.
The next truth we need to face is that there isn’t just one type of Battle Buddy. Some of us have relied on the same one over the years, while others have experienced a revolving door of different types of these amazing people. What helps us survive this challenging life is the simple reality that there is ALWAYS a battle buddy lined up and ready to serve. So when it is time to deploy them to duty, we know exactly who to call!
1. The Drill SGT: This Battle Buddy is the one who makes us face the truth and sometimes, the truth isn’t pretty! They are always ready to give us the kick we need to start that diet, get to the gym, volunteer, or apply for the job. They keep us from doing too much, motivate us when we try and hide, and they make sure we don’t go to the commissary in our sweats. This Battle Buddy can be found in a variety of places, but someone this disciplined is often found in their native habitat of the fitness center.
2. The Alexa BB: - This BB can answer almost any question and keeps us squared away with reminders of when permission slips, tax
es, or any other important things are due. This BB is all over current events and places we need to be. They are up to date on everything from local events to the latest TRICARE policies. They know obscure things from how long we can leave a child unsupervised to the best place to order gifts. The Alexa can be found anywhere and everywhere as they tend to be super involved and need very little sleep!
3. The Spiritual GURU BB: – Battle Buddies also keep tabs on each other’s behavior. There are times when loneliness and stress get the better of us and when we are feeling overwhelmed, we can always fill up our cups with the help of our GURU BB. Whether armed with some inspirational scripture or a cup of green tea and some essential oils, this BB recognizes your need for a little self care. Self care is not the same for everyone and your GURU BB knows what you need. This BB feeds the soul!
4. The “Will you be My Lorelei Gilmore” BB: – This Buddy is ready at any moment to grab a cup of coffee and offer witty repertoire to take our minds of the problem. The talk can be serious or lighthearted, but there is always constant chatter and the latest coffee infusion. And by infusion, we mean strong coffee with NO side of judgment. And just like a good Gilmore Girl, “If you lead, she will follow”.
5. The Mary Poppins BB: - That person that takes our kids when we are ready to sell them on EBAY. That angel of a friend, who still loves to hold babies or loves to plan outings for surly teenagers. They show up when we are craving solitude or just need time to run an errand. They never complain or expect a favor in return. Yes, it may not be fair that our kids love them more than us right now, but we will win them back after the deployment.
6. The Ted Talker BB:- Like most Ted Talks, the time spent with these BB’s may not be long but the powerful thought provoking time is just enough! These are the inquisitive buddies we go to when need an “out of the box” approach to some of the same old problems. This is the BB we need when we are stuck for fundraising ideas or a theme for a unit event. They are excited about new ideas and projects and their message is always REAL. They may not have all the answers, but these charismatic BBs can help us find our grit.
7. The “Real Housewife BB” – When we need to focus on something a little less serious than everyday life. Who else but a “Real Housewife BB” can get us out of the house and focus on shopping! Whether it’s a run to the local outlet mall or just hitting a flea market or thrift store to hunt for a bargain, this buddy doesn’t disappoint (or discourage). This is the buddy (if stationed in Germany) that convinces us that a 6-hour drive across the border to Poland (to get yet another piece of pottery) is the best idea ever, and they will be at our door (passport in hand) by 4 AM the next day.
8. The “Fat Amy” BB– Our Rebel Wilson worthy friend who knows that sometimes we need more than a little shopping to decompress and they are more than happy to plan it! They organize the party, make sure we let our hair down, and provides at least 25 ways to laugh. Whether the event is a movie, dinner, night of dancing, or a weekend away, this BB is there to make sure we let off some steam.
9. Netflix and Chill BB- Shows up on our doorstep with milk duds and a bottle of our favorite beverage and lets us pick the binge fest. There is no judgment on how many episodes or the genre. They are down with whatever we need to escape.
10. The Break Glass BB- The ultimate in Battle Buddies. This BB is 1-9 rolled into one. The “Break Glass BB” is the fire extinguisher behind the glass. We all will eventually need to “break the glass. Whether it is an ER visit, kid pick up, or just an unforeseen emergency, this “ride or die” buddy is there. No questions asked, just immediate response in any and every situation. No problem is too big (or too small), and no distance too great. They may not be involved in much of our day to day, but when we need them, they never flinch when we say things like “My water just broke, can you be in the room with me?” or “I can’t find my car”. They are simply indispensable.
Over the years, we have built our own force of people who support us. We may have just one or many Battle Buddies in our own army, but we must remember to hold them close to our hearts. Military Life is much better when we bring our Battle Buddies along for the ride.