Unexpected Habits That Reveal Someone’s Military Past

Unexpected Habits That Reveal Someone’s Military Past

Have a friend who’s always on time, swears like a sailor, and knows the weirdest acronyms? Maybe they have a military past! Military training leaves subtle but lasting marks on a person. From oddly specific habits to their iron stomachs, these unexpected clues might reveal that someone secretly has a history of service. Read on to see if you can spot the ex-military folks in your life!

1. They say “copy that” instead of “got it.”

Old habits die hard! This military lingo for confirming a message might slip out in everyday conversations, leaving their civilian friends a bit confused. If they quickly follow it up with, “I mean, yeah, I understand,” chances are high they have a military background.

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2. They have a weirdly specific way to fold clothes.

Those perfectly creased t-shirts and meticulously rolled socks aren’t just a sign of organization – it might be leftover from their basic training days. Their sock drawer probably looks inspection-ready at all times. If you ever dare to reorganize their closet, be prepared for a potential meltdown!

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3. They still call the bathroom the “head.”

Military jargon can linger long after someone’s service has ended. If they excuse themselves to use the “head,” there’s a good chance they’ve been on a ship at some point. Don’t be surprised if they instinctively reach for the door handle with their left hand – it’s apparently a Navy thing to avoid saluting with your right.

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4. Their closet is organized by color and type.

A perfectly arranged closet with everything in its place is a satisfying sight, but it also hints at the discipline instilled by military life. They might even separate their socks by dress, athletic, and boot varieties. If you offer to help them get ready and open that pristine closet, brace yourself – your heart might skip a beat at the level of organization!

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5. They wake up at an ungodly early hour, even on weekends.

If someone’s internal alarm clock consistently goes off before sunrise, they might have done a few too many early morning drills. The ingrained need to get an early start on the day often translates into a civilian life where they can’t sleep in, even if they don’t have to be anywhere. Suggesting a lazy lie-in on a Sunday might be met with a look of utter confusion.

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6. They know how to make a bed with hospital corners.

The ability to create those crisp, perfectly squared bed corners is a skill many learn in basic training and never quite forget, per Business Insider. It might even be their secret to those perfectly folded t-shirts! If they catch you making your bed with normal, rounded corners, prepare for a hands-on tutorial in military bed-making techniques.

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7. They have a mysterious collection of acronyms.

Military life is full of acronyms – from specific job titles to weirdly named equipment and everything in between. If someone’s conversations are peppered with a bunch of unexplained abbreviations, there’s a good chance they picked those up during their service. Trying to decipher if they’re talking about a piece of machinery or a superior officer can be a fun decoding challenge.

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8. They have an almost supernatural sense of direction.

Navigating by compass, maps, and landmarks? That’s a skill honed in the military, and it often carries over into civilian life. They likely won’t ever get lost on a hike or need to pull over to ask for directions. While the rest of us rely on GPS, they have an internal compass that always points north.

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9. Their posture is always impeccable.

Standing tall with shoulders back becomes second nature after enough drills and inspections. That ramrod-straight posture in a crowd is a subtle tell. Plus, years of being told to “suck it in” likely contributes to their ability to instantly look ten pounds slimmer.

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10. They always show up 15 minutes early for everything.

In the military, “if you’re on time, you’re late.” This ingrained punctuality often sticks around long after someone transitions to civilian life. They’ll be the first one at the party, always ready and waiting, wondering why everyone else is cutting it so close to the start time.

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11. They still use military time.

They might tell you to meet at 1400 hours, and then watch your bewildered expression as you try to figure out what time that actually is. Forgetting that most people don’t understand “1800 hours” is a common slip-up for those who’ve spent time in the service. Don’t be afraid to ask for a translation to regular “civilian” time!

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12. They have a short, no-nonsense haircut.

While not always true, those buzzcuts and regulation fades are a practical choice in the military that some people keep long after their service is over. Easy to maintain, always looks neat – it makes sense. If spot someone rocking that high-and-tight style well into civilian life, there’s a good chance they’ve marched a mile or two in combat boots.

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13. Their swear words are… creative.

Let’s just say military life can lead to some inventive and colorful vocabulary that sometimes slips out when someone gets flustered and drops a heavy box on their toe. Be prepared for expletives you’ve never heard before, probably involving surprising combinations of nouns and adjectives.

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14. They have an unwavering respect for authority.

The chain of command is central to military life, and while they might not always love being told what to do, this ingrained respect for authority figures often translates to their interactions with bosses and leaders. They might not always agree with decisions, but they understand the importance of following the established hierarchy.

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15. They have an iron stomach.

Eating field rations and MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) can train your stomach to tolerate some…interesting…food combinations. They won’t even flinch at your questionable leftovers or the questionable street food you picked up. After surviving on military-issued food, they can handle pretty much anything.

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16. They can fall asleep anywhere, anytime.

The ability to catch a quick power nap in the back of a truck, a noisy barracks, or even standing up is a survival skill acquired in the military. They’ve perfected the art of tuning out distractions and snagging a few minutes of rest whenever, wherever possible. Don’t be surprised if they casually doze off mid-movie on a comfy couch.

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17. They have a soft spot for a strong cup of coffee.

Fueling those long days and late nights often creates a lifelong appreciation for a good, strong brew. Whether it’s black, with a splash of cream, or some fancy flavored concoction, that caffeine jolt is likely a beloved ritual carried over from their service days.

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18. They have a quiet confidence about them.

Military training fosters resilience, adaptability, and self-assurance. Even if someone doesn’t outwardly talk about their service, they often carry themselves with a distinct sense of quiet confidence. They don’t get easily rattled, handle pressure with grace, and exude a “can-do” attitude that’s hard to miss.

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Jeff graduated from NYU with a degree in Political Science and moved to Australia for a year before eventually settling back in Brooklyn with his yellow lab, Sunny, and his girlfriend, Mia. He works in IT during the day and writes at night. In the future, he hopes to publish his own novel.