So let me start by saying, anyone can be friends with a police wife, obviously. There is no secret police wife group or tribe. I realize that may also be implied by the title, but I write this post to let you know that a friendship with a police wife is different. It is one that will be treated slightly differently and for good reason.
Yes, police wives tend to stick together, but we do have friends outside of police wife life, too. I have gone through many friendships in my 33 years of life and all of them are different. However, the hardest friendships seem to be the ones that don’t understand police wife life. I don’t expect them to fully understand, really, I don’t. But friendships always seem easier when there is understanding at some level.
I can also say, I have amazing friends that do not live in the first responder life. What makes them so amazing? One reason is (& really only one reason because they are amazing for a ton of other reasons, too), they have tried to understand what we go through. I feel lucky that I have those relationships, because I know they are hard to come by. They help make my (at-times) crazy life, a little easier.
How to be friends with a police wife, if you are not one yourself
Honestly, be just like any other friend EXCEPT be more flexible and understanding. A little flexibility and compassion goes a long way for your police wife friend.
Understand that your police wife friend may have less flexibility in her schedule. We often have to change or cancel plans last minute. Due to our lifestyle, we may see you less than you may see your non-law enforcement family friends.
Just know, we are trying. We really are. Our lives and schedules are often unpredictable and quality time with our family comes first. Our friends come second, just as yours do, I am sure.
This is not to sound “oh woe is me” but it is a real explanation of why our friendships are just a tad harder, at times.
We need our friends to not be upset if we suddenly cancel plans because our husband hasn’t slept in 2 days and we can’t swing one more event alone. We ask that you understand why we choose not to go out with friends on a Friday night when it is the only night our spouse is off work. Please just accept that we love and treasure our friendships, but we may not always show you in person. We sometimes have to show you in others way, because time is not always on our side.
If you are a police wife, too
If you are a police wife and you also have police wife friends then you understand a little more what it is like. You understand the shift life, the schedule changes, the need to be with family over friends, etc. But what I want to say is this:
I mean this in the nicest way possible and I fully realize not everyone will agree with me, that is okay.
As police wives, we understand this life all too well. When other police wives are venting, we often think “yeah, I go through that, too”. Like what they are saying is no big deal. Maybe they are new to police wife life and what they are saying seems silly to you, as a veteran wife of 15 years. Or what you really want to say is “suck it up”.
While, at times, it is okay to say, “yes, those things will happen”. We do not need to get our message across in a harsh way or by saying things like “get over it”. You have been where they are now- don’t forget that. Be gentle and get your point across in a subtle way. If you are going to respond to whatever it is that they are saying, then take the time to say things nicely. Explain things to them, because, maybe they truly don’t know any differently. Maybe they are 2 weeks into police wife life and really didn’t know what to expect? Maybe they are experiencing a scary situation for the first time and are looking for advice.
They know you understand– that is why they came to you for advice or to express themselves! Use what you know and share it in a way that will help them not make them feel bad about their experience, as fellow police wives.
As police wives, I know many of us are gentle and subtle. Not all police wives do this and I am placing no judgement- truly! I just hate for the one bad apple to represent police wives as a whole, so I feel like it had to be said.
I know that your friendships, police wife or not, mean the world to you. Mine do, too. It just really takes a special friend to understand the secret to having a successful police wife friendship. Flexibility and understanding are essential.
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