The KH I grew up in was full of a bunch of stuffed shirts ! It could have been because my Mom was married to an unbeliever ,but we never were invited to others homes or out to do much . So there were no close bonds with anyone in that hall .
When I got married at 18 I moved away to my husbands hall . What a huge difference ! Lots of other young couples plus both his parents were witnesses . We had people over all the time and were invited out to do lots of things . I felt I had real friends for the first time as a witness . However the judgemental attitudes could prevail . There was tons of pressure to do and say what others expected you to do .
Especially after we started having children I noticed the pressure to conform or else be excluded ,cliques formed as people obtained positions in the hall . One example I'll never forget is when my brother in law became an Elder . We use to have lots of fun getting together for dinners and cards ,but after their first child was born he came over and asked if I would pioneer with his wife . I also had just had a baby and i told him "NO" I did not want to drag my newborn door to door in the cold winter air . That was it for them I did not have the pioneer spirit so then I was not good association for them anymore ! And the cliques began.......
When we left after 30 yrs in the same hall ......I can not think of one true companion in a group of over 100 . Lots of associates ,but not one true friend that would come to my home and ask " What happened ??? Why did you leave ?"
I think it is correct to say I feel like I have my real personality back along with my heart and soul (maybe a few brain cells survived too !) . My friends now are comfortable to be around open ,and honest, and not afraid to offend or step on anyones toes .