Communal living conditions, long waiting lines and briefings can cause time to go by so slow when you first arrive at your respective military reception area. When you first enlisted, you might have expected to get right to the exciting warrior stuff when you arrived at your training location and new temporary home. Most times that is not the case. You must do paperwork, get uniforms, learn certain movements and procedures, as well as sit in long briefing sessions.
In your in-between time you are meeting new people from all walks of life. There is plenty of time to get aquainted and have conversations. For some people, this may come easy. One thing I would like to warn you against is to NOT put all your business out there. Yes you are going through similar experiences now, and might really click with this person at first. This does not mean it is ok to share your deep, dark secrets with a total stranger. They might seem nice at first, but who is to say that despite their great first impression, that they're not a blabbermouth? You can still be cool with them but you do not discuss your personal issues. There are ways to have a great conversation and get to know somebody without making your business become theirs.
Here Are Some Tips:
- Get to know them - ask about their interests and hobbies. What kind of music do they listen to? Do they have favorite Internet sites? Magazines? Food?
- Make comments about the present day's events - this can range from the food at the dining facililty to the scratchy wool blankets on the bunk beds. Try not to complain unless you can also be funny about it.
- General interest topics - talk about the weather or how you heard that your branch of service is issuing a new style of uniforms next year.
- Ask open questions - like about where they used to work before they enlisted
- Ask follow up questions - if you asked what city they are from and they respond with a single word answer, ask them if they ever visited their city's landmarks.
- Be pleasant - if someone makes a joke try to laugh. If they share some information that they find fascinating, try to mirror their enthusiasm about it.
- Listen - this is very important. Avoid interrupting them or attempting to over-talk them. You both have plenty of time to talk so make sure you take the time to show them that what they are saying is being heard.
Enjoy the Present
You have just embarked on a new chapter in your life. Embrace it and be excited through the mundane times. There is nothing wrong with sharing tidbits of your life with new acquaintances. Just make sure you also allow them to talk and that you don't share too much personal info. Enjoy your new experiences and new (possibly lifelong) friends.