Author Topic: Friendship and social life in the CAF  (Read 40705 times)

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Offline Pre-flight

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Re: Camaraderie
« Reply #50 on: August 11, 2014, 23:43:48 »
* Or, even better, people you don't work with so you don't get stovepiped into just your unit.

I rather avoid getting stovepiped in the army as a whole. I'm at work 9 out of 24 hours in garrison and 24 out of 24 hours about 2 months of the year. Sorry to break the bubble of some of the 3rd marriage RSMs out there but I'd rather spend time with my 1st wife then listen to other people complain about their work or homelife.

Offline George Wallace

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Re: Camaraderie
« Reply #51 on: August 12, 2014, 07:15:26 »
I rather avoid getting stovepiped in the army as a whole. I'm at work 9 out of 24 hours in garrison and 24 out of 24 hours about 2 months of the year. Sorry to break the bubble of some of the 3rd marriage RSMs out there but I'd rather spend time with my 1st wife then listen to other people complain about their work or homelife.

Not to be derogatory, but why did you join the military with such an attitude?
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Offline Pre-flight

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Re: Camaraderie
« Reply #52 on: August 12, 2014, 07:37:45 »
Not to be derogatory, but why did you join the military with such an attitude?

Joined for the fun, benefits, and the challange. Doesn't mean I want to bury myself in the army. I've got plenty of interests outside the military that I also pursue in my spare time.

Offline MrBlue

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Re: Camaraderie
« Reply #53 on: August 12, 2014, 07:57:14 »
Maybe it is a generational thing, but if it is a new phenomenom, it doesn't mean it's automatically something that needs to be corrected.

I'm one of those guys that only goes to the mess on order. Frankly the whole thing bores me and I never had time for drinking culture. I go to work, do a good job and at the end of the day, the thought of spending more time talking about military stuff or gossiping doesn't cross my mind. I much rather get home to my wife and spend time with her.

From my perspective, the people who go straight from work to the mess to talk more about work are the unhealthy ones. They need to get a life outside of the military.

I wouldn't go so far as saying that people who go straight to the mess after work are unhealthy (other than maybe drinking to much) I mean maybe they do all their socializing there and that's healthy.  It's all about priorities, 1 person's priorities might be to go slam some beers back or throw darts after every day of work (with or without friends) whereas my priorities for example are far different, mine are to get home to my wife, hang out with her and my dogs, go train a couple hours, get my meals in and get food ready for the next day, etc...

I agree i've only gone to the mess when it was mandatory other than 1 time to watch UFC I believe, I don't drink so for me there's no point in going to the mess unless its for PPV, and i've got a big TV at home so if there's any sport that's on regular TV I want to watch (almost never because I don't really care to watch sports on tv) then I am covered, not to mention half my weekends I leave the area for a real city.

I am the same, I do my job and go home and/or see my friends sometimes, because I honestly don't really want to see/talk to people from work outside of work, partly because I don't particularly like many of them and partly because I don't have much in common with majority of them; I have no kids, I'd rather hit the gym or watch a movie than drink/play darts, etc...so besides work stuff I don't have much in common or to talk about with them.

I tended to use the mess more when I lived in barracks in gagetown and didn't own a tv or anything, so bunch of other buddies (who also lived in barracks) and I would hit it up to go watch some of our favourite shows once or twice a week.

Offline Pusser

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Re: Camaraderie
« Reply #54 on: August 12, 2014, 10:26:06 »
I have to agree with the OP on this one.  The spirit of camaraderie has definitely changed over the last 30 years and in my opinion has declined significantly.  Of course every generation always laments the changes in life and complains about how things aren't like they used to be, but in this case, I think it's kind of sad.  The very fact that many of the above posts refer to folks doing their "jobs" and doing them well is very telling.  In my younger days, we didn't feel we had "jobs," we were members of the CF and that was something more (a calling so to speak).  Unfortunately, over time our leaders have fallen into the "management" mindset and have treated us so much like employees that we react accordingly.  People are much more inclined than they used to be to treat work and home completely separately.  When I first joined the Reserve, we came to the unit whether we were paid or not because it was fun, that's where are friends were and we enjoyed bing there.  When I went to the Regular Force, it was a similar situation.

As for messes, as others have said, they are what YOU make of them.  If they don't appeal to you, get involved and turn them into something that you want.  It puzzles me that we get to belong to one of the most exclusive clubs in town for an incredibly low cost and folks complain about it.  A lot of civlians actually pay huge sums of money for the same opportunities and are quite jealous of us as a result.  I'm very lucky at the moment in that I'm posted OUTCAN to a location with a very active social calendar.  We have at least seven major events a year, including a summer and winter ball.  These events are always well attended and they're a lot of fun.  BOTH my wife and I are going to miss all this when we come home.  Yes, my wife actively participates in the mess as well and thoroughly enjoys it.  I expect that when we do return to Canada, I will once again join the entertainment committee and organize the kinds of parties I like. If you get involved, you can do the same.

Having said all of this, I do actually believe in a life outside the military.  With one brief exception, I have never lived in married quarters (in fact, I think the CF should get out of the housing business altogether, but that's another discussion) and I even try to avoid living in neighbourhoods that are heavily populated by other military families.  I also get involved in other activities completely outside the military community (e.g. civilian sports teams) and so have multiple circles of friends.  The secret, in my view, is to reach out in all directions....
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Offline MrBlue

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Re: Camaraderie
« Reply #55 on: August 12, 2014, 10:57:05 »
Pusser: I would love nothing more than to not have to live in PMQs, but with work opportunities for non military spouses being so horrible in Pet, and the house prices being ridiculously high, its not going to happen anytime soon, and then you also have the point of it being a very small town so almost EVERY neighbourhood has lots of military in it, its not like Kingston for example, where you can actually live somewhere withouth bumping in to coworkers/other soldiers.

I don't think its entirely the "generational" issue or the leadership issue people make it out to be, I mean look back and what was something that was a necessary "evil" drinking and smoking at the mess with coworkers and bosses...people nowadays are far more health conscious and less people smoke and drink compared to back then.  People have more varied interests also, not everyone cares about parties, dancing, drinking, and things that go on at the mess, some people are super outdoorsy and would rather be mountain climbing, mountain biking, hiking, etc, others who are more on the intellectual (nerdy) side might have more book-ish or technological interests...I just feel that in this day and age people feel more comfortable doing things that not EVERYONE is into, and so more people get out there and do their own thing.

Offline Halifax Tar

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Re: Camaraderie
« Reply #56 on: August 12, 2014, 11:20:23 »
I personally found the greatest camaraderie when I was posted to various HMC Ships.  I found the confided living and shared adversity created the camaraderie.  The "main cave" was always a busy spot when in a foreign port and you found different trades going ashore and mingling together often.  We even had great theme parties in home port that were always well attended and gave our significant others a chance to become part of the ships family as a whole.

I think that is a product of that environment though.  I have found in my current posting (CFB Kingston) the mess is a more of a bother to most and really just an institution most use when forced or when its conveniently tied in with another occasion. I personally love the TGIT nights at the Sgts and WOs mess here.  I get to see people I don’t work with anymore and catch up over a beer or pop.

I also thoroughly enjoy the new Sgts and WOs mess at CFB Borden.  Their TGIT is great.  Mostly because I find I often win tickets to different events. ;)

I don’t hinge camaraderie on mess life though.  We do things in my section like pot luck lunches and Christmas parties and these always have solid attendance and participation, none of them are forced fun.  I also know many of my subordinates socialize together outside of work.  As the PO2 I separate myself from this as I don’t want to blur the lines of leadership.

So I would surmise that camaraderie had evolved from the days of yore not that is has degraded.  Having said that, where does it leave the necessity of mess life?  I don’t know but it should attempt  adapt and evolve with the times, in an effort to stay relevant, or it will find itself fighting an uphill battle to survive when the bean counters start looking further at unnecessary infrastructure.
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Offline Pre-flight

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Re: Camaraderie
« Reply #57 on: August 12, 2014, 12:01:33 »
As for messes, as others have said, they are what YOU make of them.  If they don't appeal to you, get involved and turn them into something that you want. 

I think this is where the disconnect is. It's not that the mess staff don't do a good job trying to make the best of it for people, it's that people are busy with other things in their life and are not interested in spending time in any club, no matter how exclusive it may be.

On top of that, I think spending 1/2 of my waking life in garrison and 100% of my waking life on Op and on Ex with the military is plenty. The rest I rather spend with my wife and family, and not going back to the same bar every night.

It's not an issue that camaraderie needs to be fixed, or that the messes are disfunctional. It's that going back to the same bar all the time is not an interest for people. If I have time and money I rather spend it eating at different restauraunts and pubs with people that don't have the same job as me. There's more to life than buring yourself deeper and deeper in the CAF.

Offline George Wallace

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Re: Camaraderie
« Reply #58 on: August 12, 2014, 12:20:58 »
I think this is where the disconnect is. It's not that the mess staff don't do a good job trying to make the best of it for people, it's that people are busy with other things in their life and are not interested in spending time in any club, no matter how exclusive it may be.

On top of that, I think spending 1/2 of my waking life in garrison and 100% of my waking life on Op and on Ex with the military is plenty. The rest I rather spend with my wife and family, and not going back to the same bar every night.

It's not an issue that camaraderie needs to be fixed, or that the messes are disfunctional. It's that going back to the same bar all the time is not an interest for people. If I have time and money I rather spend it eating at different restauraunts and pubs with people that don't have the same job as me. There's more to life than buring yourself deeper and deeper in the CAF.

It is interesting reading your posts where it would appear that you are a rare person who can not juggle "two families".   So many others have successfully committed to their 'military family' while maintaining their commitments to their biological family, leading successful careers with broad networks of friends and family. 
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Offline Pre-flight

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Re: Camaraderie
« Reply #59 on: August 12, 2014, 12:32:13 »
It is interesting reading your posts where it would appear that you are a rare person who can not juggle "two families".   So many others have successfully committed to their 'military family' while maintaining their commitments to their biological family, leading successful careers with broad networks of friends and family.

Then I would say you must be one of the rare people whose marriage did not fail because of their overattachment to the military. Most of the people I see at the mess are at least on the second wife, if not third or fourth.

Offline Haggis

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Re: Camaraderie
« Reply #60 on: August 12, 2014, 12:47:39 »
Then I would say you must be one of the rare people whose marriage did not fail because of their overattachment to the military. Most of the people I see at the mess are at least on the second wife, if not third or fourth.

I daresay that the bolded portion of your quote is a generalization and, quite honestly, a presumption.  Do you know exactly why those marriages broke up?  Could it be PERSTEMPO? Infidelity by the spouse left behind during deployments?  A general imcompatability?  The list of possible stressors on a military (or any) marriage is long.  I hardly think it's overwhelmingly because of an overattachment to the military.
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Offline Thucydides

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Re: Camaraderie
« Reply #61 on: August 12, 2014, 12:57:13 »
Before this goes off the rails, remember that for today's generation, juggling "two families" might mean a biological family and one or more interest groups connected via social media or networking in the civilian community.

Reading the replies you can amost guess the age of the posters, the ones connected via outside interests and social media vs the traditionalists who connect face to face. A very interesting datum, and one which should fill supporters of the mess as an institution with dread: the traditionalists are retiring and becoming a dwindling minority, while the social media crowd expands by leaps and bounds.
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Offline Pre-flight

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Re: Camaraderie
« Reply #62 on: August 12, 2014, 12:58:17 »
I daresay that the bolded portion of your quote is a generalization and, quite honestly, a presumption.  Do you know exactly why those marriages broke up?  Could it be PERSTEMPO? Infidelity by the spouse left behind during deployments?  A general imcompatability?  The list of possible stressors on a military (or any) marriage is long.  I hardly think it's overwhelmingly because of an overattachment to the military.

No, not neccessarily. But we do know the impact of op tempo on marriages, military life can be unpredictable, and we can be sent away for long stretches with little notice. That's why the time I do have, I rather spend with my wife and family, and not in the mess. We all have our personal priorities and family is my number one. Maybe other people make their job or their work buddies their number one. To each their own, but just because many people rather head home than head to the mess after work, doesn't mean that something is broken or needs to be fixed.

Offline George Wallace

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Re: Camaraderie
« Reply #63 on: August 12, 2014, 13:01:37 »
Then I would say you must be one of the rare people whose marriage did not fail because of their overattachment to the military. Most of the people I see at the mess are at least on the second wife, if not third or fourth.

Sorry, but I know a larger number of people who have very successful marriages and can socialize within and outside of their military and biological families, both as individuals and as couples.  That you have such a tainted view and constantly put it out there for all to judge, does not make your view the sole correct one.  Your point of view is a lot more common in some Trades than in others.  It is less common in those in the Combat Arms (Air, Land and Sea) who live in close proximity with their comrades for extended periods, than for those in Trades who maintain a relatively repetitive "9 to 5" type of job.   It is the camaraderie developed among those who experience the same extremes in life that create social circles which are so useful as a tool for healing during and after traumatic events.  In your case, you would be bringing all your problems home to a family who have no clue what your problem, nor what the cause of your problem, may be.   

I don't really think that you have clued into any of this in any of your years of service.  Some don't. 

Just to clarify, camaraderie does not have to be attendance to a Mess only.  It can include so many other activities within a military sponsored environment or outside of the military environment.  Just because one is a colleague at work, does not dictate that all conversation has to be work related. 
« Last Edit: August 12, 2014, 13:06:56 by George Wallace »
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Offline Halifax Tar

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Re: Camaraderie
« Reply #64 on: August 12, 2014, 13:22:56 »
Sorry, but I know a larger number of people who have very successful marriages and can socialize within and outside of their military and biological families, both as individuals and as couples.  That you have such a tainted view and constantly put it out there for all to judge, does not make your view the sole correct one.  Your point of view is a lot more common in some Trades than in others.  It is less common in those in the Combat Arms (Air, Land and Sea) who live in close proximity with their comrades for extended periods, than for those in Trades who maintain a relatively repetitive "9 to 5" type of job.   It is the camaraderie developed among those who experience the same extremes in life that create social circles which are so useful as a tool for healing during and after traumatic events.  In your case, you would be bringing all your problems home to a family who have no clue what your problem, nor what the cause of your problem, may be.   

I don't really think that you have clued into any of this in any of your years of service.  Some don't. 

Just to clarify, camaraderie does not have to be attendance to a Mess only.  It can include so many other activities within a military sponsored environment or outside of the military environment.  Just because one is a colleague at work, does not dictate that all conversation has to be work related.

There are portions of your post that almost constitue and act of plagarisim on my last post.  I guess the old ignore function works eh! ;)
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Offline George Wallace

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Re: Camaraderie
« Reply #65 on: August 12, 2014, 13:35:51 »
There are portions of your post that almost constitue and act of plagarisim on my last post.  I guess the old ignore function works eh! ;)

I know those points have been pointed out several times, by several others as well, and still seem to keep sailing over the heads of some.
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Offline recceguy

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Re: Camaraderie
« Reply #66 on: August 12, 2014, 22:27:36 »
Then I would say you must be one of the rare people whose marriage did not fail because of their overattachment to the military. Most of the people I see at the mess are at least on the second wife, if not third or fourth.

First thing is you don't go to the mess, second if the majority is 2nd and 3rd marriages, there must be only two people there. Even in some of the worst outfits, in the lousiest of places, I never found the exaggerated numbers you're spouting. You're in Kingston if I remember correctly, so what your saying is bullshit to bolster your points.

I'm also guessing that people that go from unit to unit encountering the same problems should probably look at the common denominator in their equation. Not their surroundings.
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Offline Pre-flight

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Re: Camaraderie
« Reply #67 on: August 12, 2014, 23:15:32 »
First thing is you don't go to the mess, second if the majority is 2nd and 3rd marriages, there must be only two people there. Even in some of the worst outfits, in the lousiest of places, I never found the exaggerated numbers you're spouting. You're in Kingston if I remember correctly, so what your saying is bullshit to bolster your points.

I'm also guessing that people that go from unit to unit encountering the same problems should probably look at the common denominator in their equation. Not their surroundings.

Yes, it's my fault that most of them are repeat divorcees. If only I spent more time in the mess their marriages could have been spared.

Offline MCG

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Re: Camaraderie
« Reply #68 on: August 12, 2014, 23:28:21 »
It is time for a brief lock.  Maybe in 24 hrs everyone can come back and play nice in this sandbox.

If someone wants to constructively continue this discussion, ask a mod to open it not before tomorrow evening.

Offline Falles

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Friendship and social life in the CAF
« Reply #69 on: September 19, 2017, 23:17:04 »
Can anyone who has been in the CAF for a while tell me what their experiences have been in terms of being able to maintain friendships and an active social life? I have heard a few people say that because of the constant moving, deployments, training and so on, that it is really difficult to form any type of strong bond, or maintain any kind of long term friendship, and that a lot of people become quite lonely and isolated. Do you think this is the case, or have you found it possible to make and keep good friends, people who you see regularly and do things with? Thanks.

Offline Dimsum

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Re: Friendship and social life in the CAF
« Reply #70 on: September 20, 2017, 00:27:41 »
I think it's the opposite; those moves, deployments, training courses, etc form some of the strongest bonds due to shared circumstances.  I haven't maintained as many friendships from high school and university, but I can (and have) not seen someone since Basic almost two decades ago and we'll get on like it was yesterday.

As far as the social life, it is what you make of it.  Most bases aren't in large cities so you end up hanging out with your co-workers more than civilian sector.  People get posted regularly but there's probably a good chance you'll run into them again on courses, deployments or future postings.
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Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: Friendship and social life in the CAF
« Reply #71 on: September 24, 2017, 01:59:05 »
Can anyone who has been in the CAF for a while tell me what their experiences have been in terms of being able to maintain friendships and an active social life? I have heard a few people say that because of the constant moving, deployments, training and so on, that it is really difficult to form any type of strong bond, or maintain any kind of long term friendship, and that a lot of people become quite lonely and isolated. Do you think this is the case, or have you found it possible to make and keep good friends, people who you see regularly and do things with? Thanks.

How can you not make friends where everyone is dressed the same? :)
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Offline Dolphin_Hunter

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Re: Friendship and social life in the CAF
« Reply #72 on: September 24, 2017, 06:57:12 »
Dimsum nailed it.

 
Can anyone who has been in the CAF for a while tell me what their experiences have been in terms of being able to maintain friendships and an active social life? I have heard a few people say that because of the constant moving, deployments, training and so on, that it is really difficult to form any type of strong bond, or maintain any kind of long term friendship, and that a lot of people become quite lonely and isolated. Do you think this is the case, or have you found it possible to make and keep good friends, people who you see regularly and do things with? Thanks.

I could see this being an issue with the spouses and children but not so much for the member.  That being said, the MFRCs/PSP have stepped up their game and as a result there are plenty of programs in place for families.

Offline EpicBeardedMan

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Re: Friendship and social life in the CAF
« Reply #73 on: September 24, 2017, 15:47:32 »
Can anyone who has been in the CAF for a while tell me what their experiences have been in terms of being able to maintain friendships and an active social life? I have heard a few people say that because of the constant moving, deployments, training and so on, that it is really difficult to form any type of strong bond, or maintain any kind of long term friendship, and that a lot of people become quite lonely and isolated. Do you think this is the case, or have you found it possible to make and keep good friends, people who you see regularly and do things with? Thanks.

I met my best friend in Basic Training in 2010, he was posted to Esquimalt and I was in Gagetown. We still talk every day online and I was his best man at his wedding. I think the bond you form with people on course or throughout your military career is actually stronger then what you would experience civvie side.
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Offline mariomike

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Re: Friendship and social life in the CAF
« Reply #74 on: September 24, 2017, 16:16:44 »
I think the bond you form with people on course or throughout your military career is actually stronger then what you would experience civvie side.

I enjoyed my time in the PRes.

I also think riding with a partner in emergency services develops a strong bond.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2017, 17:24:19 by mariomike »