SF-86: Personal Problems

I know I will have to fill out an SF-86 for my Army career and looking into what the form entails, I think it’s best that I’m starting a year and a half early. Firstly, I have some personal problems: no references. I feel like such a loner and a sociopath typing this, but the truth is that I’m a very private and reserved person. I don’t like socializing and I don’t think having friends should be a requirement for joining the Army as an officer. But, really, they ask you for references for each place you’ve lived for the past 7-10 years, plus three personal references, plus contact information for each employer you’ve had during that time as well! I never talk to my neighbors, I never have kept contact with former employers, and I have no friends or acquaintences that can vouch for me.

Now, I consider myself to be a good person. I’ve worked with children and animals and I think I’m compassionate and reasonable. I’ve spent five years in the workforce and four years at college and I’ve gotten along fine with everyone.  I think I’m personable and, although I don’t have the friends to prove it, I think I make a good friend. In all honesty, I moved to the city I live in now right after high school and shortly thereafter met my boyfriend (now husband). I’ve spent all of my free time with my husband or alone and that is the way I like it. But this isolation has a cost: I don’t know what to do about filling out this form. I only have three or four family members who even know me well enough to comment on the person that I am today. Some people out there are super critical of this; if you don’t have friends then something must be wrong with you. Yes, I guess that by their standards something is wrong with me… I am reserved.

So, I fear also that if I ask a recruiter about this then I’ll get a response like, “Do the best you can.” Ya, well, I can do the best that I can and my application may be denied due to it being incomplete or insufficient. But what can I do? I cannot make up for ten years of being reserved with new friends that can only give a reference for the last year. References need to span all 7-10 years. Overall, I don’t think that having a lack of references will make me look like a terrorist or a true sociopath (those people just manipulate and are actually very personable when they know it will benefit themselves), but I fear that it will hurt my chances of being branched military intelligence.


5 responses to this post.

  1. The SF 86 form is definitely going to be important!!! It’s a challenge to fill out but if you want to branch MI (I’m going for MI as well), you will need to have the past 10 years verified. I have participated in the security clearance interviews that coincide with the SF 86 form and trust me, they check everything. My suggestion would be to get as close as you can to accurate on the form – your recruiter will probably tell you the same thing “do the best you can.” Recognize that when they verify housing, etc. it doesn’t mean you had to be GREAT friends with someone. Sounds like you’re going to have to use your creativity on this one. Good luck!


  2. Posted by Jess on July 25, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    I just found your blog as I’m putting together my OCS packet and it. is. AWESOME. I haven’t been able to talk to anyone else about this crazy process, and I just turned in my SF-86 las week. I had to call, e-mail, text and ultimately Facebook people for addresses and phone numbers. Awkward, yes, but necessary as well. I told them I was applying for a government job that required references going back 10 years. I was surprised at how helpful and quick (most) people were.

    It can be done, it’s just going to take a little extra work. You posted this entry in March, so you’ve probably already done it! I normally don’t like to bother people, especially if I haven’t spoken to them in years, so this was a big hurdle for me. You can do it, though! Best of luck 🙂


    • Thank you so much! That gives me a lot of hope actually because I haven’t turned in any paperwork yet. I’m kindof getting a jump start on things–which is necessary when applying for OCS–so I’ve not tried to submit my sad little SF-86. I have facebooked people, called, and texted and I totally didn’t want to because, as you said, I don’t want to bother them and who knows if they’ll even remember me! Thanks for the advice and good luck to you as well! Let me know how boards go for you!


  3. so it’s now January 2013… What happened with the SF86 section 16 – I also have the same problem – I spend time with my family and I don’t hang out with other people. Just go to work and home – boring I know but it’s me.


    • I have delayed entering into the Army because of my personal life. I still have a passion for service and I am determined to serve before I’m 30. The SF 86 still weighs on me, but now that I’ve chosen to delay my service, I am building up a good number of contacts which will hopefully be able to act as references. I suggest, even though it takes time and sucks, joining a meetup or community club where you can get to know people. It’s really not my cup of tea either but forcing yourself to do things you don’t want to do is going to help an OCS application in the long run.


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