Did being a witness make you lose your social skills?

by AK - Jeff 25 Replies latest jw friends

  • truthseeker

    AK-Jeff, an excellent post, and one that thoroughly describes my situation. When I attended college, I always spent lunch times by myself - I was afraid of "hanging out" with non-witnesses.

    Having always been told that "bad associations" spoil useful habits, I wasn't about to become involved with others. Yet, I had NO friend in the congregation.

    I was always caught between a rock and a hard place.

    I can relate to what you feel, although I am still "in" for the time being.

  • daystar

    Clubs and bars aren't much better. If you begin to rely upon alcohol to loosen you up enough to be "social", then there is a problem.

    The best thing would be to use one's interests and skills to meet like people. This is made difficult since personal development is not exactly promoted. I don't think there are too many social organizations built around door-to-door work.

    It is very, very hard for many people, especially those who were, like me, raised in the organization. We often find that we just don't have that much in common with many people. I'm 32 and I tend to have more in common with people nearly twice my age. I wonder how things are going to be for me ten years from now.

    I really don't know the answer Jeff.

  • Gordy

    I've been out of the WT for 6 years now, I was 48 when I left. I too found it difficult to "get on" with people. It wasn't Bible principles that held me back, as defd seems to think. But the fact that having spent nearly 30 years ONLY having JW's as "friends" attending meetins etc was the only "socialising" that I did. Plus the fact that the "world" outside was so demonised that I was brainwashed into believing that people were just out to get me and could not be trusted. I have come across many exJW's who felt the same way when they left.

    Fortunately still having a love for God, and not a man-made organisation, I became a Christian. I found a church that was full of life and full of worship for Christ. Where people were friendly and full of love, not because you "belonged" to some organisation, but because you accepted Christ. In the past 6 years I have had more help and support than I ever got from the JW's when I needed it. These ones help me overcome the "fear" of the outside world. How? Because they helped me realise to put my trust in Christ and not some man-made religion.

    I've even come to realise that even those in the "world" display more helpfulness and kindness than any JW. I'm now 55, this weekend I celebrated my eldest sons 30th Birthday (exJW), 16 of us went out for the night.

  • tall penguin
    tall penguin

    Hi Jeff,
    I see this as a common problem both in and out of the organization. Learning to relate only to those that have a similar mind-set is not mature social skills. So even those in the org aren't what I would consider sociologically mature. In fact, they are often very stunted.
    Once one leaves the org, that patterning is still in place which makes it challenging to relate to people with a different world view.
    I disassociated a month ago. I've met some really great people since, people I could consider true friends in time. Yet I find it incredibly difficult to really bond with these people right now. I feel a bit shell-shocked, like I'm not even interested in close relationships.
    What I'm finding even stranger is that I don't really miss most of the people I left behind in the org. I can count on one hand the number of people who I really felt close to. The rest were "friends" by means of our common religion and nothing more. I wonder sometimes if it's normal to not miss people you've known your whole life. I just feel that our bond was so superficial and so conditional that there's no real loss.
    Anyone feel similarly? Or am I just stunted like the rest of them?

  • carla

    Happy Birthday Gordy!

    I have found that sometimes it is simply basic communication problems. Often husband will use a word in a way that is so different from the rest of the world. Or will say something and then say, I didn't mean it that way! I think so many words have taken on a different meaning that it makes basic conversation difficult. Or he doesn't like to be held responsible for things he has said. Sometimes I can see people don't quite get what he is tying to say and just move on in the conversation. Of course the ones that know about all the jw stuff just pass it off as some wierd jw thing.

  • Finally-Free

    I had good social skills and many friends prior to becoming a JW. Friends who were there for each other. I gave them all up, believing I would find new friends in the organization. I was wrong. In 20 years as a JW I didn't have a single friend. No matter how much I did in the congregation or how much I pioneered, I was always viewed with suspicion because I "used to be worldly". The only times I received invitations was when someone was looking for a gift, such as weddings. Even then I was never invited for the dinner portion - that honour was reserved for those with titles. The only time my phone ever rang was when someone was trying to extract something from me - money, gift, or free labour. In the 3 congregations I was in during those 20 years I met the most utterly horrible and hateful people I've ever known. The sort of people who steal your business while you're laid up with an injury and then come up to you at the next meeting with feigned interest and plastic smile.

    I could not imagine living in a new system, a so called paradise - a world filled with only Jehovah's Witnesses! I'd rather roast in the Catholic's Hell than live in a world populated with filth like that.

    I eventually stopped going to any congregation social functions. I was virtually shunned at them anyway. No loss. Most of them were too stupid to converse about a single topic for more than 3 minutes before their eyes would glaze over - and yes, I timed them because I was curious about the phenomenon. I wonder if the structure of their watchtower studies decreases their attention span, making it difficult to concentrate on more than one paragraph at a time.

    So now I've been out for over 2 years. My family lives out of town and I see them every couple of weeks. I don't really get out of the house for anything other than to go to work or buy groceries. I live alone with only my bird for company. I don't really mind it, except that I have no one to call for assistance when I'm laid up with a bad back or something, like I am today. Then again, I didn't have anyone to call when I was a JW either - none of them ever helped me if I desperately needed it. At least now I know where I stand.


  • riotgirlpeeps

    I'd say one of the best things would be to join a group where people would share a similar interest to you in some area. Myself I don't have the largest network of individuals, but those that are close know me very well.


    PS They also share different interests of mine.

  • daystar


    It was Gordy's son's birthday. Happy b-day Gordy's son!

  • minimus

    I have very good social; skills due to being a JW.

  • dedpoet

    Tall Penguin,

    Your post sums up very well how I felt when I first walked away from the borg. I had no idea how to have a social life, having spent 9 years associating with JWs almost exclusively. Fortunately, some of my pre - borg friends hadn't given up hoping I'd eventually come to my senses, and when I left I started to get invitations to go out with them again. I realise that they were my true friends all along, not the conditional ones in the borg, I don't miss any of them at all, and now I'm da'd very few of them even acknowledge my existence anyway.

    Jeff, I wish you well, you are experiencing what many on this board have or still are experiencing, leaving such an isolationist cult as the jws can be very traumatic, but time is a great healer, hang on in there my friend.

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