My first visits to the hall generated a lot of interest. For some reason these absolute strangers wanted my phone number, patted me on my back, my shoulder, my arm.... I was already on to them though (done my research), which might explain my intense "creepiness" reaction. I backed away. There was no intimacy in thought, ideas, or background. They knew next to nothing about me. The close physical contact had not been earned.
Another feature I noticed was the fishbowl atmosphere. There was an an inordinate interest in everyone else's affairs. A senior lady was offended that I hadn't told her I was married to a member there on our first meeting. The poor thing had to catch up on the internal grapevine during the week. She rushed up to ask me why I hadn't shared that tidbit the second time we met. I had the sense that these twenty or so families had no-one else to talk to. So they lived for news from the hall, and the tidbits from other congregations. I guess that comes from lack of outside interests.
So is that what happens here? We do swarm some newbies, if they catch a particular interest. Or especially if they are still sitting on the fence. But I don't sense that same closed-in feeling I got at the hall. We are free to expand our horizons and include other social circles. Have a life, in other words. We also want to KNOW something about the newcomer. JWD almost demands a little opening-up, before we are intimate in return. That is a healthy sign, I figure.
Don't you just love those newbie thread where they just pour their experience out? Like a dam breaking, I sense it may have been the first time they have just let loose, and told it all. To an audience who understands.
And then, the sweethearts, they apologize for taking our time. I feel like saying, "NO, NO, it's my favorite part of JWD. You wrote from your soul. That's ALWAYS welcome."