Laura's Dish :: To FRG or to not FRG

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To FRG or to not FRG…
This is a question that every spouse has to make when their husband transfers to a new unit. The unit FRG is a way of getting information about the unit, the base, the community & to meet new people.

It is supposed to be the primary support system for spouse when their husbands are deployed, TDY or training. It is group that helps support the unit & helps take care of the soldiers. So why are there still questions about whether to get involved or not? Well…I think this is because of several things…There are many myths & rumors out there about FRGs and I am gonna try to address a few of them here.

MYTH 1: The FRG is nothing but drama.
This is probably the one I hear the most. Honestly I find it sort of humorous. Any time there is any gathering in which multiple females are forced to interact for any length of time there will be drama. It is inevitable. Everyone has different personalities, values & lifestyles which sometimes makes it difficult to get along with every single person. Plus, women are, by nature, dramatic people. So for anyone to honestly believe that there will not be ANY drama seems just plain silly. However for someone to characterize entire group of people just because there are a few drama queens also seems pretty ridiculous. There are drama inducing people car insurance quotes everywhere. The key is to minimize contact with those that seem to thrive off of the drama. There just is no point of missing out on all of the important information, support & companionship that the FRG could offer just because of those people.

MYTH 2: The whole group is just one big popularity cliché.

I think the primary reason that I hear this from women is because they haven’t taken the time to get involved & get to know the people that are in their FRG. Of course when you are coming in to an FRG for the first time or so you are going to feel like an outsider. You don’t know anyone and those that do know each other are already going to have bonded together & be friends. This is where I believe this myth is based. Some people may expect to have FRG members to fall over themselves to greet & welcome new members and when that does not happen, a person automatically feels that they are not welcome because this is nothing but a cliché. The reality of the situation is that as a new person in your FRG you must take an initiative to introduce yourself to people. If you sit there and not even attempt to talk to anyone you make yourself appear to be someone that is not sociable and therefore unapproachable. A little understanding & initiative can help you break through this myth.

MYTH 3 – The FRG never does anything fun!
The FRG is a volunteer driven group. This means that the FRG is limited by the help given to them by its members. So many times I have seen or been a part of trying to plan activities or events that have eventually had to be abandoned or tamed down due to a lack of volunteer help. Nothing happens by itself. In order for your FRG to be able to function you need to take an active part in the group. If there is something “fun” you would

like to do with the FRG…SPEAK UP! Let your FRG leader know about your idea. Chances are your FRG leader will be happy for the suggestion.

MYTH 4 – The FRG is all about wives wearing their husband’s rank.

Again, for me to sit her and just try to ignore that this NEVER happens and that women NEVER act this way would be wrong for me. Instead let me just say this…while there may be “those women” out there, it is unfair to say that everyone out there is like this. Let me try to give you a little insight into the mind of a “senior spouse” in hopes that you may realize that what you see “wearing their husband’s rank” may just be displays of experience & confidence. Most often soldiers that are in leadership positions or that have attained higher ranks have dragged their spouses up through the rank structure with them. I mean, of course, that soldiers that have attained the higher ranks and been in the army for quite a long time and that means their spouse has been through a lot as well. So this often makes them a “subject manner expert” on many issues that often come up simply because they have “been there, done that”. Often times this “know it all” outlook on things is seen not as experience, but as “wearing rank.” Along with “time in service” comes a confidence that may often come off as if someone is “better” than another. In actuality that persona you are picking up is most likely nothing more than comfortability with the situation. Again I say that there always IS that person who is just a general snob but hopefully this may help you stop & really evaluate the situation first before automatically judging.

MYTH 5: I tried doing the FRG thing at my last base and it was awful.

Wow! Been there, Done that!! The thing to realize is that with each PCS move, or each new FRG leader comes the potential for a greater FRG experience. To automatically write off an FRG because of a sour experience at a previous seems rather silly. You may very well be robbing yourself

of one of the best experiences ever. Every FRG is different, with different members, different leadership & different challenges to overcome. Before you write it all of you need to give every new FRG a fair chance before writing them off.
So the whole point that I have been trying to make here is to not jump to any conclusions before you decide to opt out of participating in the FRG. Like everything in life give it the fair chance that it deserves. Then if after “giving it a go” you find out that it is not your “cup of tea” politely bow out & pass on your regards on to the FRG leader. Once you are out resist the urge to try to influence others against the FRG based solely on your bad experience. Let others make their own choices as you made yours.

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  1. I was involved with the FRG, at our very first duty station. I will say that there were some serious issues in it. After 4 months of the soldiers being deployed, they still didn’t have the right phone numbers, addresses, or emails of the next of kin to contact them…or correct spelling of some people’s names. The soldier wrote these things out by hand, and some people have chicken scratch handwriting, but I’m used to it, as my hubby does too. :-)

    ((I found out this the hard way when I contacted a soldier’s brother–his next of kin–about an FRG meeting…when the soldier put on his information not to contact him unless it was important…and it wasn’t on my paper. Thankfully the soldier’s brother was very nice and after I apologized for the billionth time, made sure we didn’t call him anymore.))

    And, someone can correct me if I’m wrong, but the FRG is supposed to have some help from the officer’s wives. That’s the word I got when we were at this FRG. At this FRG too, it was quite clear several officer’s wives didn’t want to do it. And that is fine, as everyone has soo much to do in life, but why keep on volunteering when you do NOT want to do it.

    I don’t know how to run an FRG, so I won’t lie and say I do. But I do know that if I volunteer for something, I will do my darnedest to do everything to help. As well, if you want your FRG to turn around, pick up the phone and give a buzz to the correct chain of command and let them know you want to help in any way possible. I assure you they will not turn you down.

    And yes, any new post is going to be different. Don’t judge the last FRG on your new one. Get involved, and help everyone.

    P.S. If you do help, you may just get a cute little certificate like mine. 😉 I still have it and it may just be a piece of paper to some people, but I feel like I helped 14 families while their loved one was gone; and gave them some comfort. I will gladly do it again at our next duty station too. 😀

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