but I still seem to have a hard time feeling "normal" in the work world.
As you can already tell we all speak the same language and share the same questions, memories, doubts and from time to time the success of living free. Those who have replied and hundreds more reading your post and comments know and understand everything you are saying. To us you are normal.
Onward to your question. Maybe a lot of this is centered in your marriage. I left with my wife some 53 years ago so being around people is normal for me. Making new friends is normal. But if my wife objects to one of my friends......... feels he's not a good influence, maybe he's a loud mouth or uses profanity, drinks too much etc. Then that relationship is not going to work out even though I might like this person. I have to respect my wife's feelings.
Look at this another way.......Suppose your husband was deaf or physically handicapped. Would you be cautious and protective when it came to who you invited into your home? Would your conversations be a bit guarded at work or during a holiday social contact?
Do you invite fellow workers to your home for dinner or drinks or do you keep your acquaintances separate out of habit or convenience or respect for your husbands beliefs and preferences?
You may be a women 'under the influence' not of the religion but your mate. That may be part of the deal you both made to keep your marriage together. Being an exJW mate is a difficult road to walk.
Work place relationships are another issue. How many would keep in touch if you moved out of the area or went to work for a different company or University?
Making friends and developing healthy relationships is simple........ become a Volunteer.
People who volunteer are usually the best people......they understand that it's all about helping people or animals. These are folks who are willing to donate their time and expertise for a good cause.
I have been a volunteer for some 20 years now and my wife teaches a water aerobic class three times a week for free. Doctors send their knee, shoulder and hip surgery patients to her and she doesn't even have a degree .......actually she can't even swim (there's a life guard close at hand). She makes a difference in their recovery and happiness.
We have both made good and close friends over the years by volunteering. Because like a Kingdom Hall you meet regularly......... pick out the one's you like and allow a relationship to grow organically.
Being a volunteer is the height of being normal.