Do you (or did you) have much of a social life as a Jehovahs Witness.
I ask this question out of interest, because as a Jehovahs witness for some 26 years, I have always felt that there is an 'all work, no play' culture within the organisation.
The organisation doesn't promote social gatherings. I could count on one hand each year how many get togethers we have had. I don't blame young people for leaving due to the monotonous boredom they experience week in, week out.
In the church nearby, they seem to have a balanced structure in that they have days and times for mother and toddlers groups, music practice, outings etc. We have absolutely nothing apart from going out in the ministry 24/7 ( albeit you get some tea and cake in between)
My Mrs has a good social circle, but that is because she is extravert/ outgoing and organises things herself.
So what is your experience?
My social life was a pathetic one when i was a JW. I remember being 29yo and looking and evaluating my life. I had no friends. The only people i hung around with was my wifes brother and his wife. There were things going on like get togethers every now and then but i usually wasnt invited to these. Wasnt really sure why. It sucked when you'd hear about "a brilliant party" that all the ones my age in my cong had been to. And made me think, they must have deliberately not invited me because everyone else my age was there.
I had no friends yet im a very outgoing, engaging person. Now that im out i have lots of friends from varied backgrounds and i love them all. And the amount of dates i've had surprises even me.
Yes, i truly am living the #bestlifeever
Social life = PATHETIC as a Witness. Even when I was invited to hang out with a congregational friend, my father would say, "didn't they just see you at the meeting?" Then he would quote Proverbs 25:17 to me which said something about rarely setting foot in your neighbors house so that they "don't come to hate you." So after enough pleading and begging, I'd begrudgingly be allowed to go, albeit with a heavy heart and the overwhelming feeling that these friends didn't really want to see me since they were on the cusp of hating me.
Gatherings, on the other hand, were just as painful. My parents would make me ring up the host to inquire how many people will be attending, will alcohol be served, who will be chaperoning the event, and what kind of music will be playing. On top of that, my curfew was 22:00 if the gathering was a local one, and 00:00 when it was a gathering over an hour away. I'd be the only adult leaving just as everyone started to have fun EVERY time.
Humiliating, frustration and isolating.
But hey... if the Society says that's how it should be done......
My social life in the Witness religion was almost non-existent. Luckily, I was still friendly with my so-called worldly friends for almost a decade into my association with the religion.
The JWs knew of this and tried to get me to give these people up. I wondered why, since JWs were not eager to hang around with me. All the closeted born-ins were either afraid of me or kept away because I had a full-time job I wasn't giving up. There is also a bias against people not born into the religion.
Being on the fringes of this cult and standing my ground about keeping my job plus not allowing myself to be targeted by all the users who thought a young single woman was there to do favors, assured that almost nobody would bother with me. Practically the only attention I ever got was when some idiot elder had a criticism or some curious person had a question about something. A few elderly were friendly to me.
All this turned out to be a blessing in disguise when I found out the truth about the "Truth". I was able to "fade" without too much fallout.
Maybe I am unusual, but for me the social life is one of upsides! Ive made and continue have some great friends inside, and as a born in, had a great social life in my teens - we had friends all over the place - parties every weekend... Im not kidding.. much better than what most of my friends at school were up to..
So what is your experience?
As a JW it was very isolating. There were social gatherings in the congregations I went to, but they were stupid, boring, full of people I can't stand, talking all kinds of crap I don't care for, and looking for any way to assassinate somebody's character just for fun.
Then after, there were whispers and all kinds of comments about who said what, what this person said, did, what some people were wearing, blah blah blah.
It was just a waste of time.
In the last congregation I attended, the whole thing became very segregated by social status and culture. It was disgusting.
In fact, those gatherings played a role in my decision to fade.
Maybe I am unusual, but for me the social life is one of upsides!
DITTO for us! The social life is the ONE reason we would consider returning. Our entire social network revolved around Watchtower. We actually discussed whether we could tolerate sitting through the WTBS (that's WT-BS) and do some token meeting attendance and field circus, even though we are convinced that it is all a hoax, just to maintain social contacts. We determined that someone would see us roll our eyes at the meeting, or that I wouldn't be able to STFU and we'd end up in the backroom Kangaroo Kourt.
Might add that we don't hear from ANY of those "dear friends" anymore.
Very similar for us D.O.C, Mrs Phizzy really misses the social side, not that she ever joined in the religious side hardly at all, bless her !
Our Congregation was famed for being sociable, loads of parties and lots of going to the Pub after meetings and Conventions, loads of invites to share a meal etc etc.
Back in the day we used to have HUGE Barbecues with several large fires to cook the food on, and hundreds would turn up from all over the Circuit and beyond.
We had many move in, just for the social life, and because the atmosphere was so liberal, this was gradually eroded due to the stern words from H.Q and Circuit overseers etc, but for many decades it was bloody fun !
I think that is one reason why it took me so long to wake up, had I been in a Congo. with Nazi Elders I would have got out long before I did.
I would guess very little of that atmosphere, if any, exists now, the Congo split in to two, and many of the fun people moved on. But, it wasn't half bad !
I feel like in the 70s and 80s we had more social interaction in the congregation. It could, however, have been that my mother had a useful trade whereby everyone could come to her and save money on beauty services. There were always people at our house and we got invited a lot. Come my teenage years and mum taking a job, the pool of friends dried up. Then on my late 30s I had a sister share with me that I didn't get invited to gatherings because I am not the right sort - ie two faced, superficial and snobby
The first congregation I was in (1973-1982) was VERY active socially. We had dinners with other people probably at least twice a month. Between our congregation and two or three others in the same circuit there was a sizable group of young singles (all in our twenties) that hung together. We never got in trouble for it. Congregation picnics were a regular feature in the summer. I think the social life was one of the things that attracted me to the religion.