During my school years, I was bullied almost every day at school due to my being a JW, and this did nothing for my self esteem and confidence. Compounding this problem, was the fact that I had not a SINGLE friend my own age in the Kingdom Hall, I had no social life and nothing to do at the weekends. In short, I became a social recluse.
Of course, admitting this is hard, and things are very much different now since I moved.
But not having any friends in my old Kingdom Hall, did not mean there was no one there my own age. I endured much loneliness from my late teens down to my early twenties. There were people my own age who deliberatly excluded me from all social activities; activities which I longed to take part in, to feel one of the group - in other words, I wanted what I would term "a shared sense of history."
There was one particular brother in my hall, a few months younger than me. We went to different schools as we grew up, but we were still in the same hall. He made friends with a bible study who then got baptized and then became a pioneer. The two of them would lead the life of Riley, always going here, there and everywhere. To make matters worse, they would invite my younger brother out with them, and exclude me. They would ignore me at the Kingdom Hall and make no effort to "widen out" depsite repeated counsel from the elders.
I was not the only one who went through this suffering at the time. Years later, I would find out that others in my old congregation were also excluded, because there face did not fit.
But when I talk about a shared sense of history, here is an excellent example of when you realize you don't click with the JW youth in the Kingdom Hall.
I was invited to a BBQ a few times, by the parent of this brother who shunned me. My family would also be invited, so I went, hoping that things would change. Of course, this brother and his friend couldn't ignore me in their own home, so they said the usual courtesies and moved on.
A lot of the JW youth from my hall were at this BBQ. A lot of them would make small talk with me. And then I became painfully aware that I had absolutely nothing in common with any of them. While they would be polite and ask me how I am, how's work, the ball would usually stop just there. Then they would talk amongst themselves about their social life, boyfriends/girlfriends, ministry etc - yet all the time I was sitting right there among them.
The same thing would happen at JW video nights. On a rare occasion, I actually got invited. But, it was like going to a movie theater - despite the fact that you are around dozens of people, nobody knows you and you don't know anybody. At these video evenings I was ignored before and after the movie - except when I needed a lift home. Yet, there they were, all talking among themselves about anything and everything.
I use the term "shared sense of history" because without having this with other JW youth, you are essentially a stranger to them, as they are to you. You have no idea what goes on in their life or what they are doing, because you don't have a shared history with them. You don't get to hang out on the weekends with them, because they don't want to know you. So you spend the weekend alone.
Once I worked with an elder out on field service - a lot of the young ones in the hall were having tough problems making friends. He asked me, "So, what do you think the problem is with the JW youth in our hall?" I told him, that many JW youth do their own thing, exclude others and that the youth are like chalk and cheese. Not only do they not mix, they don't want to mix. Then I mentioned the shared sense of history lacking, and he agreed with me.
I am not a bad person, I have my faults like others, and I try to improve on myself.
To put it simply, I just did not fit in, and this still affects me to this day, even though I have moved and my circumstances are different.
Did anyone here on this forum have similar experiences?