Did you become more antisocial after waking up?
I've been shy my whole life, but during my teenage years and early 20s I managed to be more comfortable socializing and made many friends in different parts of my country (JWs of course). That was before I woke up, because I saw myself being a JW for the rest of my life and thus I made an effort to meet new JW friends. However, after I woke up, I lost interest in meeting new people because knowing that when I leave they will be gone... Feels like a total waste of time and energy. Except for my very very close friends, I don't feel like going out with JWs in my town either.
It seems like I took several steps backwards in my fight against shyness.
I hope this process will be reversed when I leave.
Have you experienced something similar?
Yeah, I think it's inevitable that, in your situation, you're going to be much less inclined to be social with JWs. Not just the fact that most of the acquaintances you make will quickly abandon you when you make an exit, but also the mental and emotional stress of having to hold part of yourself inside to do it. There's always an undercurrent of JW nonsense in any group of JWs (at least in my experience) and having to repress yourself in order to not rock the boat or out yourself as an apostate before you're ready can take an enormous amount of effort. What's more - that habit of repressing yourself is very unhealthy and (I'm finding) can really come back to haunt you in future relationships even after you've left the cult entirely.
As someone who's very introverted myself, I empathize with your plight. I'd suggest that you really try to make an effort to make friends with non-JWs. You might even try being open with non-JWs about your current situation. I wouldn't open with it, but once you've both opened up about your personal life a little, it could be appropriate. I've found that I've consistently been surprised by the empathy and compassion I've received when doing that, and it can help you to train yourself to be more open and authentic, which will only help you make more friends. You're in a difficult situation, and you're likely to need some support system at some point - better to start building it now.
Yes, I was a little antisocial myself. I was tired of the whole crowd. Part of the reason you feel this way IMO is because you have been conditioned by the religion to think you need a boatload of friends.
Nobody in real life needs this many friends. All you need is maybe two genuine friends. Certainly nobody needs the judgmental JW friends. The loss of these JW friends was really no loss at all as far as I was concerned.
Well there is no deigning the relative ease of making friends in the JW world especially as a teenager, especially at assemblies.
Assemblies and conventions always smelled like teenage hormones. Sort of sweaty with a trace of something sweet. But when you leave the tooth the friendships can melt to just a slick of moisture on a road.
The key about new friendships is to do what has worked for you in the past. Meet regularly with people who share a similar idea, interest or commitment.
It could be a volunteer group (volunteers are the best people ever).
A sports team or a fan group of a particular team.
You need to hook up with a group that meets on a regular basis, has an interest that you can relate to and/or share. Is made up of a variety of ages and male/ female mix. Just like a KH.
In other words you can duplicate the JW experience with regular meetings and activities, a special way of looking at things and share a common language.
It's when people become familiar ....... that you get a space to 'go out for coffee' or other beverage. A friendship that can grow organically which is the best kind of relationship. Nobody owes any one anything it's just that you enjoy one another's company.
I'd start with ex JW meet ups....... look them up on google and see if there are any groups in your area of the world.
Travel groups.....somewhat expensive. But a great place to make new friends.
Being a volunteer willing to give up some time without pay.
A liberal church that has a good social feature.
An online dating service.
A Mom's club is also a Dads club if you have a child.
School if you need a trade skill or some higher learning.
I easily knew 100 people really well when I was a pioneer.
Out with my wife for the last five decades.
I am still friends with 100 people of which only one is still an active witness ie. PIMO.
My final thought is to call or email people for that meet up over lunch or just a coffee.
In a man's world most guys don't call another guy but every time I arrange a lunch the guys will say 'this is great we should do this more often' but they don't call or email. So I just go ahead and invite them.
My wife is great at that and her women friends look forward to the meet ups.........but guys are more remote.
My husband, those years while POMI for many years was social, actually overdoing himself helping out people all the time. In fact, that was the way he thought he could get friends, the only way. It was one skill he used, and it provided results. He found some good friends that way, but it was to the point he was overdoing it.
I found much of what he did socially was "overdoing it", His sense of boundaries was non exsistant. His sense of appropriateness was also skewed. He just didn't develop the awareness of those skills while growing up. So much of it was externally controlled during that time. After he was not attending anything JW for just a couple years, he became involved in a long term relationship with a woman 10 years his senior who was, at best, narcissistic, super high control, and created more damage to his self esteem. With her, appropriate behavior was that she had the right to everything, he was to follow her direction, always, and treated him almost like a prisoner with all her rules. Yet, with his background n the JW, he accepted this type of control as love. In reality, she was abusing him during that time, and he was allowing it not recognizing it as abuse, but as love. That she was trying to help him.
Once she kicked him out after 15 years, after a severe depression and living at home, that is when he really began to make more friends, though not a lot, they were good friends. When we met he was over the top with his helping me. To give an example, he came over unannounced one day not long after we had our first date, and washed my two story house. It was nice, but he wore himself thin doing things for people, never saying no. No boundaries.
Now, he has become increasingly antisocial for the past four or more years. Like the pendulum is swinging the other way. It happened right after his brief change of mind about the JW, attempt to study and get baptized. Now I work at making sure he is involved with his/our friends and our neighbors, but he does not make an effort himself.
He has still not found the balance.
I also am on the introverted side. I had older sisters as friends but not really the younger group.
When I left, I felt like I could go out and meet lots of people and find friends. I thought extended family who had left, would now bond and be close. Those two things did not happen. So now I am basically alone. I haven't found any group I want to meet up with. There is one or two ladies I chat with at the the thrift stores, my sister, one guy at work, some present JW's at work who pretend that they don't recognize I don't go to meetings and so chat with me.
I end up working and then going home to watch the computer.
An old but true saying that people come into your life for a reason, a season, a lifetime.
It's helped me have a perspective about life's realities. Cherished friends and family are gone, so it seems, forever. Yet, new friends and "family" have entered my life and I feel good, despite loss. With age comes a sense of contentment. It is what it is.
Regarding an introverted nature and the polar opposite, Mom was outgoing and chatty and Dad much quieter but very passionate about helping people. I feel that mix in me.
Definitely feel social skills aren't great due to being born in. I also think JW teaches you to be really wary of people whilst being your friend on one level their loyalty is to the organization and is conditional so you can never comp!eyely be yourself around JW friends. Treat the social thing as a skill to squire, start to chat to people be friendly and see where it goes. The rules are different on the outside for one thing the male/female divide is far less apparent. There is more diversity within outside groups. Much of non JW socialising revives around celebrations birthdays, Christmas etc so by being part of one you are part the other
I wouldn't call it "antisocial" but after years of enforced "socializing" with people I had nothing in common with except religion I'm just trying to be more authentic and realistic about myself and others.