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Looking For Friends, Feeling Discouraged...


RabbleRabble
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It's only natural that as I've gotten older, the group of friends I made in high school has drifted apart somewhat. Some of them are still close and I see them occasionally, but we no longer hold much in common besides a shared past.

 

When I left the church, I left the built in support and social network it provided as well. People from my old congregation are usually friendly and distant when we meet. I'm okay with this as our only connection was through Christianity.

 

This has left me in a position that I'm sure many of you can sympathize with. I have no close friends outside of family. Tons of friendly acquaintances, but that's it. So, from time to time I start feeling lonely and wishing for like minded people.

 

I decided to go outside my comfort zone and attend a local freethinker meeting although I know no one there. There were only about 35 people there (less than usual I think) all seemingly apathetic to my presence. I tried to look open to conversation, but did not have the courage to approach the people talking in groups amongst themselves. In the end I left having spoken to only one very nice elderly gentleman who was there for his second meeting.

 

I'm just feeling a bit down. I know I need to be more outgoing. I'll try again next month.

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Hi Rabble, big hugs!! I totally know where you're coming from but do want to say good on you for visiting the freethinking group!!! I'm sorry that no one was that chatty but hopefully you can go again and get familiar?

What other sort of things are you interested in doing? Hobbies? Passions? Just curious and maybe some people here will have some good ideas. Don't be discouraged... you're doing all the right things and I'm sure they'll pan out! In the meantime, your ex-c friends are here with hugs! Send me a message anytime :)

All the best this weekend!

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I would definitely encourage you to go back again, if only to have a chat with the elderly gent. You never know, you may have made his day by talking to him, being as he was a newbie, too.

 

I can, however, empathise with how you are feeling. I have always felt like an oddball regardless of the setting or group I'm in, and I don't exactly understand some social conventions, which can make some people uneasy. Not in an aspergers way, just in a too-much-information, overly honest way. I forget that men feel uncomfortable when I talk about my issues with my uterus.

 

So I have found it hard to make friends all through out my life, and basically, my friends are those who can deal with me and laugh off my openness and overt honesty.

 

What has surprised me, though, is just who are the ex-religious, free-thinkers, and non-religious. I found out about one of them by wearing my Reason Rally hoodie that I'd bought for solidarity; the guy in question totally understood why I would do so, and was an ex-christian himself of over 25 years, who was still dealing with his fundy parents. So I think if you're looking to find people on your wavelength in that way, a good place to start might be with some subtle hints at where you stand- a shirt with the humanist symbol on it, or the atheist "A", or something like that. Maybe even go on CafePress and design some of your own. Make the clothes you wear a conversation starter, and let them give out a subtle vibe if you're worried about shouting from the rooftops, "oi! Where are all you heathens hiding?!"

 

Good luck with it, I know how much it sucks to feel lonely :)

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I can, however, empathise with how you are feeling. I have always felt like an oddball regardless of the setting or group I'm in, and I don't exactly understand some social conventions, which can make some people uneasy. Not in an aspergers way, just in a too-much-information, overly honest way. I forget that men feel uncomfortable when I talk about my issues with my uterus.

haHAha I feel like we could get along well irl Pudd. I tend to talk too frankly about mental illness and forget most people are uncomfortable when it comes to matters of questionable sanity.

 

Yes, I can sympathize with you RR! I tried out a UU for a bit and found the people there fairly open and friendly, just a thought. (It did seem eerily like church though.) Its hard finding like minded people. It's not like non-believers make it a point to regularly gather in one place every week to fellowship with one another. (but that would be wicked awesome.)

 

Do you like coffee? Where I'm from, the coffee places have plenty of "regulars" and it's easy enough to sit and strike up a conversation with someone.

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Hi Rabble,

 

You took the first step! You went to the meetup! It's hard to jump into an already established group. 35 is a good number of people and hard to meet people when they already know each other. It could be that they just happened to have things to discuss with each other and failed to pay attention. I'm sensitive to being new to a group and once I got "in" I took on the role of "greeter" in our group. They just might not have someone to do that so it might take a little more work on your part to meet someone so I hope you'll go try it again, a few times! Once you find your spot it will be sooo worth it!

 

By the way, I see you are in NW AR. My sis is not an atheist but lives in Fayetteville and works with the freethinkers group there. I could maybe find you some contacts if that is the group you are dealing with. Message me if you want.

 

Rose

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Thanks for the encouragement everyone! You've all really picked up my spirits! Imma try to get to you all in one post....

 

What other sort of things are you interested in doing? Hobbies? Passions? Just curious and maybe some people here will have some good ideas.

I love pretty much all outdoor activities. Backpacking, Fishing, Canoeing, Skiing. I love film of all kinds but have a soft spot for horror of the non-slasher variety. Always looking for new and interesting foods. I read when I have the time. This makes me sound boring. The biggest obstacle for me right now is finding time. I'm in school and I've promised myself that I will try my absolute best this time so I spend most nights studying.

 

So I think if you're looking to find people on your wavelength in that way, a good place to start might be with some subtle hints at where you stand- a shirt with the humanist symbol on it, or the atheist "A", or something like that. Maybe even go on CafePress and design some of your own. Make the clothes you wear a conversation starter, and let them give out a subtle vibe if you're worried about shouting from the rooftops, "oi! Where are all you heathens hiding?!"

This is a pretty good idea! I don't own anything like that right now, but it wouldn't be hard to get a button for my backpack at the very least...

 

Just be bold at the skeptics meeting, without risk we never get anywhere.

yes sir! Just the kick in the ass I needed :)

 

Yes, I can sympathize with you RR! I tried out a UU for a bit and found the people there fairly open and friendly, just a thought. (It did seem eerily like church though.) Its hard finding like minded people. It's not like non-believers make it a point to regularly gather in one place every week to fellowship with one another. (but that would be wicked awesome.)

 

Do you like coffee? Where I'm from, the coffee places have plenty of "regulars" and it's easy enough to sit and strike up a conversation with someone.

I tried visiting a UU a couple of times back when I was just deconverting. They were quite friendly though it was slightly too church-like for me at the time.

 

I love coffee! I'm pretty shy so it's hard for me to strike up conversations like that, but I am supposed to be going out of my comfort zone huh?

 

I'm sensitive to being new to a group and once I got "in" I took on the role of "greeter" in our group.

 

You are a "saint" Rose. Good on you for filling such an important position!

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Bookstores and libraries! If you lurk around the new age or self help sections long enough, you're bound to find some interesting characters.(I once spied a quaint lesbian couple in a bookstore reading books on RAW diet. Intrigued, I struck up a conversation and we ended up discussing veganism and new age for a good half hour.)

 

If you're looking for more lasting friendships, you might want to try places like free thinkers meetings, or starting a study group with some people from a class, or joining a fitness group.

 

Do you know your neighbours?

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You know you live in one of the neatest places in AR! It's like hippie central! Ok, well except for the fracking and all. Definitely go check out my sis's place. They are doing some really awesome stuff... http://www.omnicenter.org/

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Bookstores and libraries! If you lurk around the new age or self help sections long enough, you're bound to find some interesting characters.(I once spied a quaint lesbian couple in a bookstore reading books on RAW diet. Intrigued, I struck up a conversation and we ended up discussing veganism and new age for a good half hour.)

 

If you're looking for more lasting friendships, you might want to try places like free thinkers meetings, or starting a study group with some people from a class, or joining a fitness group.

 

Do you know your neighbours?

 

Heh. I'm pretty allergic to new age stuff, but it would certainly make for some interesting conversation.

 

My neighbors are a bit of a mixed bag. An awesome elderly lady who knows everything about the neighborhood. A family that is never home. A large somewhat annoying redneck family. My son's best friend lives just down the street and I like his mother well enough.

 

I guess I have an easy enough time making acquaintances, but just don't know how to turn them into friends?

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You know you live in one of the neatest places in AR! It's like hippie central! Ok, well except for the fracking and all. Definitely go check out my sis's place. They are doing some really awesome stuff... http://www.omnicenter.org/

 

This is true. I'm really fortunate to live in this area. I've lived here for quite a while, but was homeschooled until my senior year and didn't really meet any non-christians until then. After I quit college and got pregnant I sort of isolated myself from the rest of the world outside of church. I've been slowly reintroducing myself to life here, but haven't truly gotten to experience the more interesting aspects of this area yet.

 

I'll be checking out the OMNI Center

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I guess I have an easy enough time making acquaintances, but just don't know how to turn them into friends?

 

You can't. That is what I've found; friendship is something that happens between people seemingly all by itself. I'm 26 now, and I've noticed that making friends as an adult is a whole different ball game to when I was in high school. You only had to share a subject with someone or sit next to them in a few classes and you could become friends; things are different in the adult world. Everyone's got more responsibilities and less time.

 

One thing I have noticed, though, is that when I meet someone for the first time, if I can just sit there and gasbag with them for ages without any awkwardness, I have found a friend. Every single good friendship I have made as an adult has started in the same way; sitting down and just talking non-stop.

 

There was a girl from high school who moved into the same area as I, and while we were friendly at high school, we never really were friends or knew each other that well. But the first time we met for coffee, we were able to talk and talk and talk- and our coffee went for like 5 hours. We pencil in Mondays as a catch up now; we only miss it if one of us has something on. So that's what I find to be the difference between a good friend and an acquaintance; a good friend is someone you can just talk to :)

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I guess I have an easy enough time making acquaintances, but just don't know how to turn them into friends?

 

You can't. That is what I've found; friendship is something that happens between people seemingly all by itself. I'm 26 now, and I've noticed that making friends as an adult is a whole different ball game to when I was in high school. You only had to share a subject with someone or sit next to them in a few classes and you could become friends; things are different in the adult world. Everyone's got more responsibilities and less time.

 

One thing I have noticed, though, is that when I meet someone for the first time, if I can just sit there and gasbag with them for ages without any awkwardness, I have found a friend. Every single good friendship I have made as an adult has started in the same way; sitting down and just talking non-stop.

So true, and good advice. I'm just learning this now. I'm an introvert, and for most of my adult life, church/small groups were the only consistent way I made friends and hung out with people, so I didn't know normal people did it. So one day I was 28 and like, "Wait, how do you make friends?"

 

RabbleRabble, if you like hiking the Ozarks, you could try some meetup.com hiking groups (here and here). Now, meetup.com tends to skew toward the 30s and 40s (not sure how old you are), and converting hiking friends into real friends sometimes takes a lot of hiking. But my closest friends are the ones I've gone hiking/camping with. In the spirit of what blackpudd1n said, there's not many other activities that get you talking for hours on end. smile.png

 

Personally, I'm not super motivated to join the free-thinkers groups. I spent most of my life in communities that were spiritually/philosophically oriented, and these days I'd like to try something different.

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I guess I have an easy enough time making acquaintances, but just don't know how to turn them into friends?

 

You can't. That is what I've found; friendship is something that happens between people seemingly all by itself. I'm 26 now, and I've noticed that making friends as an adult is a whole different ball game to when I was in high school. You only had to share a subject with someone or sit next to them in a few classes and you could become friends; things are different in the adult world. Everyone's got more responsibilities and less time.

 

One thing I have noticed, though, is that when I meet someone for the first time, if I can just sit there and gasbag with them for ages without any awkwardness, I have found a friend. Every single good friendship I have made as an adult has started in the same way; sitting down and just talking non-stop.

 

There was a girl from high school who moved into the same area as I, and while we were friendly at high school, we never really were friends or knew each other that well. But the first time we met for coffee, we were able to talk and talk and talk- and our coffee went for like 5 hours. We pencil in Mondays as a catch up now; we only miss it if one of us has something on. So that's what I find to be the difference between a good friend and an acquaintance; a good friend is someone you can just talk to smile.png

Best for me to get out there and start meeting people until I find my natural friends I guess! Then it'll only be a matter of making time. I know what you mean though. On our last anniversary we met a couple staying at the same B&B and we really hit it off right away. If they had lived near us you can bet I'd have been setting up some coffee dates myself.

 

RabbleRabble, if you like hiking the Ozarks, you could try some meetup.com hiking groups (here and here). Now, meetup.com tends to skew toward the 30s and 40s (not sure how old you are), and converting hiking friends into real friends sometimes takes a lot of hiking. But my closest friends are the ones I've gone hiking/camping with. In the spirit of what blackpudd1n said, there's not many other activities that get you talking for hours on end. smile.png

 

Thanks for the links Mike! The Ozarks are fantastic for hiking, especially the Buffalo River area. I've actually eyed meetup before, but haven't worked up to joining any groups yet. I'm 28 so the typical age range isn't bad for me. Especially if there are families involved.

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This may be a stupid suggestion, but do you have any pets? Owning a dog or cat not only could help with loneliness, but it could give you something in common with people. That could lead to finding dog walking groups, conventions, play dates, etc. You wouldn't believe how many activities in a single city could be built around people and their dogs!

 

You should continue going to that freethinker group though. Also, ONLY 35 people? Groups in my area are lucky to have 5. You should count yourself fortunate. The more you show up, the more some people might notice.

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Rabbi! yellow.gif I'll be your friend if you'll be mine!!?? Hug from Margee!!

 

 

63f5d8e0-ec0a-47f4-853d-7b508a064fcb.jpg

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It's only natural that as I've gotten older, the group of friends I made in high school has drifted apart somewhat. Some of them are still close and I see them occasionally, but we no longer hold much in common besides a shared past.

 

When I left the church, I left the built in support and social network it provided as well. People from my old congregation are usually friendly and distant when we meet. I'm okay with this as our only connection was through Christianity.

 

This has left me in a position that I'm sure many of you can sympathize with. I have no close friends outside of family. Tons of friendly acquaintances, but that's it. So, from time to time I start feeling lonely and wishing for like minded people.

 

I decided to go outside my comfort zone and attend a local freethinker meeting although I know no one there. There were only about 35 people there (less than usual I think) all seemingly apathetic to my presence. I tried to look open to conversation, but did not have the courage to approach the people talking in groups amongst themselves. In the end I left having spoken to only one very nice elderly gentleman who was there for his second meeting.

 

I'm just feeling a bit down. I know I need to be more outgoing. I'll try again next month.

HI RabbleRabble. I too think it's lonely when you leave christianity. Even though the friendships I had in the xian cult were somewhat superficial...I still miss the camaraderie. I no longer feel I'm a part of something bigger, or a group of people who will be there for me. But it was with a price for sure because I saw how much they cared about me when I finally left the cult church...they dropped me faster than a hot cake.

I think it takes courage to stand on your own because even though in the xian "fellowship" there was a sense of belonging, it was all about conforming to what was expected of you in order for them to remain your brethren & friends. I just hate that, it's so hurtful.

 

I'm hoping you will feel better to know that even though you feel alone, there are people here who understand what you are going through. I do hope that you can make some friends where you live. I have been to a few Humanist

meetings & some people were friendly, but it's like they don't want to come on too strong like fundies do. That's what I think because so many people like us, ex-christians/fundys -who have been burned by false friendships - might get turned off or suspicious of the attention we might get as newbies at a meeting.?

 

I think it just takes a lot of time to meet new people & earn new friendships with those who have a similar world view & moral compass. ((hug))

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Rabbi! yellow.gif I'll be your friend if you'll be mine!!?? Hug from Margee!!

I would be truly happy to count you as a friend Margee. You are such a warm person! Sending mental hugs your way and to NeverAgain as well. Thanks you guys for making me feel less alone.

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This may be a stupid suggestion, but do you have any pets? Owning a dog or cat not only could help with loneliness, but it could give you something in common with people. That could lead to finding dog walking groups, conventions, play dates, etc. You wouldn't believe how many activities in a single city could be built around people and their dogs!

 

Not stupid at all. I have one beautiful dog and three not so beautiful chickens. Here's a picture:

 

gallery_5101_247_76254.jpg

 

I end up talking to lots of people when we're out with her, but we don't visit the dog park with enough regularity to meet the same people. Usually we're walking in the early morning or at night. Might be worth making the effort to schedule a regular time for park play now that you mention it....

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This may be a stupid suggestion, but do you have any pets? Owning a dog or cat not only could help with loneliness, but it could give you something in common with people. That could lead to finding dog walking groups, conventions, play dates, etc. You wouldn't believe how many activities in a single city could be built around people and their dogs!

 

Yeah, damn dog people. They make us cat people jealous! They meet up for walks on the beach with their furbabies, have special parks, and we cat people get to sit at home with a book and a cat on our laps- if we're lucky lol :P

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Guest danny64

i relate to this post. i tried the UU and a couple of meet-ups. never clicked for me. its hard to start over socially. for me, as a single parent, life is busy, and making friends or being social takes time. i used to get on this site a lot, but not so much lately. i guess i have sort of given up. but i should try. i think all the above suggestions are good. think i will get motivated and try again. but dont kid yourself. arkansas, oklahoma....bible belt. its not easy for sure.

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i relate to this post. i tried the UU and a couple of meet-ups. never clicked for me. its hard to start over socially. for me, as a single parent, life is busy, and making friends or being social takes time. i used to get on this site a lot, but not so much lately. i guess i have sort of given up. but i should try. i think all the above suggestions are good. think i will get motivated and try again. but dont kid yourself. arkansas, oklahoma....bible belt. its not easy for sure.

 

We'll work on getting motivated together! I'm ever so slowly making changes in my life that are for the better. We can do it!

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Loneliness is something I've dealt with most of my life. I'm an introvert. I don't particularly want a lot of friends. At every stage of my life I've had 1 or 2 good friends.. and that's about it. In every case I've eventually parted from those friends as our lives have moved in different directions. The periods between those good friends can be lonely and hard, but for me its better than being in a crowd.

 

Currently my wife is my best friend. Locally I only have 1 other friend. He's a good friend but we don't hang out. More the type of person I share thoughts with.

 

There are times I want to hunt down more people like me. I get online those moments and find places like this. :)

 

I don't know where I'm going with this.. except to maybe say that the loneliness is passing. You will find someone or some people that fit you in time.

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Silent night I could have written your post. It is very like me but I am the female version and currently my husband is my best friend.

 

And I would like to find like minded people but they are very far and few between and so I come on line.

 

I kind of find socializing and talking tiring too. It isn't easy sometimes being introverted because there are times I want to be social but for short stints and then I want quiet and space again.

 

RR. You have received a ton of great ideas. I know the right people or person will cross your path, I wish you the best.

 

 

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