SF86 - No References/Friends? [18, ADVICE]

I’m turning 18 years old, I require a Top Secret clearance for military work. My social life has been a little out of the ordinary. I’ve never been “close” with anyone, a lone wolf type of guy I suppose. I have no clue where to start with references, as nobody really knows me that well. I’ve never had deep conversations with anyone other than random people I’ve anonymously stumbled across on the internet, and I don’t feel comfortable putting some casual high school friends down on a life-changing form. I’ve never worked a job, the only plausible people I could foresee putting down at this time would be my parents… except we’ve never had an ideal relationship. Quite the opposite to be honest, there’s no world where I’m putting them down to vouch for my character. I figured I’d get close with people in the military and list them as references, but I’d need to submit my SF86 prior to specific career training (it’d be a waste of time if I start training and can’t get approved for the line of work, hence why it’s a prerequisite), and I wouldn’t be able to make solid friends during the hectic phase of Basic Training (2 months + of general military training everyone goes through to set you up for actual service). Plus it’s probably ideal to list at least one reference who’s known you in your earlier years, not random people you’ve just met last month… what should I do? Should my atheist self go commit to a church for a couple months and force myself to make friends, solely with the intentions of using them to vouch for my probably misleading/altered personality? This won’t be an issue if I have to annually resubmit an SF86/renew my clearance, as I’d have made friends in the field who could vouch for me at that point.

Any advice for me? What would you do in my situation? No family, no close friends, pretty much ground zero. Need references ASAP. I doubt there could be an exception to this rule. Will keep an eye on this thread and respond to all. Ask any questions need be. Thank you all in advance.

You’re making this more difficult than it is (and it isn’t.). List people you know that will be a reference for you.

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The references you put on the questionnaire do not need to know your life inside and out. A huge chunk of people with clearances are much older than you, married, and have less social interaction anyway. As long as the people have anything close to regular social contact with you… it will work

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All you really need is someone who can verify that you lived at a certain place when you said you lived there or that you worked at a certain place when you said you worked there. Put down a teacher, a guidance counselor, anything like that. See if you can find out the name of a neighbor and put that down. Yeah the form says “people who know you well” but it does not have to be all that close.


Yeah, but when you’re over 18 you literally HAVE to work a job/career to survive. And going all that time without being friends with atleast 1 - 3 people (boss, coworkers, etc) as references would be unnecessarily rough. Point being when you’re turning 18 and spent your entire life under your parents’ roof, you’re perfectly capable of getting through life without immature teen friends who can barely provide for themselves. As @sbusquirrel said, I think the guidance counselor/neighbor approach would be way more sufficient (provided it’s for the main purpose of verifying info, not confirming character). Thanks for the comment, either way you helped tons. Appreciated

Step one is to fill out the forms correctly and get the eQIP to validate so it can be submitted. If the investigator wants more references, they will ask at the interview (or possibly contact you directly beforehand).

Just for reference sake, I was once interviewed about one of my neighbors. I didn’t know the people except that there was a young couple with a child who lived at that house… and the investigator said that was all he needed to know. Not saying that’s all they want from every reference, but one big task is just verifying the information you put down on the form.

If you are asking specifically about social references, the investigator can use extended family members (ie your cousin, uncle, etc) if you socialize with them and you don’t have any non-family members with whom you socialize

Gotcha, example makes perfect sense. Aware this isn’t what you were getting at, but I unfortunately can’t put my neighbors down. We live in an apartment building, a place where you can hear conversations through walls. Add a dysfunctional family to the mix with constant arguing and screaming (mostly on my mother’s behalf), and it doesn’t leave a good impression. Granted a lot of other families were screaming trying to keep failing marriages together too, but two wrongs don’t make a right, right? Not the best references - scared a BI could ask about our characters. You could guess where that would lead… not taking that risk with a bunch of people who don’t know the full story when it’s a life-changing moment. My mother was always in and out of the house, most of us (family) got tired of dealing with her. She’d sleep the night at her friends’ “homes”, and I’m sure she’d mention us first when having to explain why she constantly needed a place to crash the night. Doesn’t help her friends are also divorced people living in an alternate reality.

Anyways, sorry to ramble. Just a little context as to why references could be difficult. Probably going to put down my school’s guidance counselor, my deceased grandpa’s friends multiple states down (I used to visit them yearly up to a couple years ago, nothing bad to say about me & can confirm my current address), and maybe a friend or something. Thanks for all your help, pal.

My grandpa on my mother’s side got a divorce early on in her life (never met him), father’s grandpa is dead. Father’s grandma is dead aswell. My grandma is an 80 year old living on a respirator due to her prior 40 yr cig addiction (no college degree, just retired from a fast-food type of job), her brain is far too “decayed” to keep up with this generation and how the world works. One of the last people I would want associated with my name or rep, her and I are polar opposites (that’s just how it works when you’re comparing an 18 yr old to a 80 yr old though lol). Never spoke to my cousins due to my mother’s broken relationship with her sister and her kids, not close with my own parents either (dysfunctional family for many reasons, ranging from a failed marriage to financial issues and abuse). My youngest sibling is still a child, and I’d rather not get my older brother involved with my life. I want to separate from my family entirely, although I wish them all the best. I have a couple people I consider “family” living like 12 hrs (car) from me (they were my father’s grandpa’s life long friends, they all lived in the same state until my grandpa’s passing), my family has done a good job of keeping our issues separate from their lives. I think they’d be meh references, they could confirm my address at least. I last saw them when I was like 14, but no bad terms or anything. At this point, I’m desperate for references so I don’t think it’d hurt to give it a try.

Your story is not that unusual and you are making this more difficult. Your investigation sounds like it will take a long time because you are trying hard to guide the investigation.
'Depending on your investigation type, we need to speak to direct neighbors and people who know you outside of work/school.

The listed references and such help the investigator, not tie their hands. If you don’t want your parents to be contacted or your siblings, then list a neighbor - knock on the door of the people who fight the least - and seriously look around yourself for peers.

Serious loners and anti social behavior can be a flag. Fortunately, I have found references most times when I have been told by a Subject they had no social interaction. I only ever had one case like with no social interaction with others. I ended up interviewing the parents to confirm this information. That Subject was in their mid-30s, never dated,no siblings, lived at home the whole time, to include college through a masters degree, and was going to work for the IRS.

Help or not help yourself - that is your choice. Be mindful you cannot control or limit who the investigator will contact;


A teacher or guidance counselor at school? Approach them and ask them if you can use them? Your recruiter? Another recruit you have met regularly at pre recruit meetings?