Surely, I'm not the only one!
We already know that atheist men [allegedly] outnumber women, although I do sometimes suspect there are merely more "in the closet" atheist women who don't come out because they don't want to lose friends.
While I was on my search for truth, which ultimately led to my atheism, I didn't anticipate losing friends... but I have. In my case, it's not that they've exactly abandoned me because of my lack of faith, but we simply don't have anything in common anymore. I simply cannot just call one of my lifelong buddies up and ask for advise or get support from them... because all I'll get from them is woo-advice! "Oh, did you pray about it?!" or "All things work out for the good of those who love Him... " or "The Bible says this about your problem..." For this very reason, I also cannot call my mom when I'm upset. I can just feel that she wants to make some religious reference every time I talk about my life.
Four years after finally deciding I don't believe there's a god, this lack of emotional connection has gotten to me. I had a really good friend in 2008, but I moved away. We're still close, but our lives get in the way so we don't talk often, and we've only seen each other once, briefly, since. I'd LOVE if she lived closer, but yeah... this being an adult nonsense really prohibits one from uprooting for any reason other than money.
Basically, I feel like I'm admitting weakness by simply stating that I need a friend. I've always, always had close friends. I've never had trouble finding friends! It could be my age (everyone is getting married or having babies, thus making them unavailable). It could also be that I can't be friends with just anyone at this point because the likelihood is high that a random, nice person will also believe there's a god.
Are any of you other ladies having difficulty with this? Am I the only one who need yet lacks close girlfriends because of being atheist? What do you do to cope? Are you near family? What should we do to reconnect with our sister? Because I, for one, thrive best when I have females in my life.
Thanks for the encouragement, Sarah. I do actually have friends who are still Christian, and even some who are "spiritual". In some difficult moments, I do wish I had someone, who lived nearby, to talk to that could offer practical advice rather than "pray about it" or "put it out to the universe." Ya know? You're totally right that, as long as people are genuine, that can be really therapeutic.
I just feel like I'm going through, and have gone though, changes that few can relate to. I get tired of the assumptions made about where I've ended up. I'm not sure at what stage in your journey to enlightenment you are, but my Christian friends and family have insisted I ended up atheist because of rebellion or some bad experience with the church. It's invalidating. I don't feel like they know me, or my character, at all. I just don't feel like they can help me work through some of the things I've been thinking about.
Think Atheist has definitely helped; I've met lots of great people on this site. It just gets a little lonely in RL when I have to kinda assume everyone believes there's a god or some higher power, and that they'd be appalled to find out I don't. People recoil. So, I can guard myself by not being honest and open, and thereby not find any true friends... or I can be honest and open anyway, and have them simply reject or look down on me anyway. It's a Catch 22. I guess I'll get through it... I'm sure there's someone around here I can connect with. :P
Only recently do I understand where you are coming from with this post. I also have never had any trouble with finding friends. I still do have 'friends' but no real emotional connection with any of them. We have absolutely nothing in common, and I fear that if I try to discuss what it is that interests ME instead of all the nonsense that they always discuss that I would be rejected from the group and be left alone. So I tend to stay away from those topics.
Luckily I have a family that is also atheist/deistic who enjoy talking about religion and these kinds of things so I have an outlet in them, as well as my boyfriend who has been at my side through all of my troubled times regarding my friends.
Lately I have been feeling so different and so tired of it, not because I want to change who I am to fit in, but because I want to find people that I can relate to and who can relate to me.
Luckily, since I wrote this, a few things have changed. I quit the job I had, and that's allowed me the opportunity to have a life again. I was on-call and couldn't make plans, so that really cut me off from people. It's only been a little over a month since I left that position so I haven't quite made up for lost time, but I'm getting there... sort of.
It's still a struggle to meet people who aren't religious, even if they're not "active". I have a couple girl friends here, but one is a Christian, the other is "spiritual". The Christian is really cool and very liberal considering that she's Christian, but I obviously can't speak freely. We can hang out and have fun, and I can express my opinion on politics, and she agrees... but, to be close with someone, you have to be able go deep.
Religion was a huge part of my past and, no matter what I do, it'll always be a part of my life. You should be able to cry on a friend's shoulder sometimes... and tell them *why* you're crying. I'm sad my relationship with my mother is damaged... and religion is the wedge. I'm angry I didn't go to college earlier... and religion was the reason (I thought the "Tribulation" would start while I was away from home). LOTS of things in my past and present are affected by religion, and I simply can't open up to anyone about it unless they share my view of religion. It's so strange to think that I have to worry about offending someone by telling them what hurt me!
Anyway... baby steps. I now have a friend that I met at our Think Atheist meet-up. She lives pretty far away (an hour), but we see each other once or twice a month. It takes a while to really get to know someone when you've gotta do it in the space of two hours, one or two times a month. Still, I'm happy to have the freedom to do it now.
And, like you, I have a fantastic boyfriend. He is my best friend, but he's also a dude and I can't always talk to him. I mean, he just wants to solve all my problems, and gets frustrated when he can't. Girls know it's okay to just listen and be supportive. There aren't always answers.
So... things are getting better, and that's good. I like where I live more and more. I'll eventually have a network of people, and their different personalities/beliefs will balance me out. Although... I was just tempted to delete my Facebook account. O_o
It's great that you're making friends, even if they are theists. A theist friend is better than no friend at all. But, as you said, it's difficult to establish some kind of emotional connection when you can't share things that are a part of you for fear of offending. It seems ridiculous but this is what we have to deal with! I'm having the same problem with my friends. Our friendship is basically just on the surface. It could also be because I've distanced myself from them because I know I have nothing in common with them, so it's probably partly my own fault.
You're lucky to have met someone through a Think Atheist meet-up. There are too few atheists here in South Africa to do something like that. There would probably be 3 people who would show up.
Why did you want to delete your Facebook account?
My atheism hasn't been an obstacle to me making female friends. I just have a lot of friends who are religiously/spiritually unusual, like they're pagan or wiccan.
Do you generally avoid mocking religious people, or do you only mock Christians, so your pagan friends are safe? ;)
You may see I'm a bit sensitive about that. However, I do understand Christians being the main target of atheists' jokes since they are the majority.
I am struggling, too, but I think it's nothing time and effort can't fix. I have a sister-in-law who left Christianity about four years ago, so I have her. I am a pretty honest person, and I will tell my family, but I'm hanging out in the closet because I am anticipating how I will set boundaries, etc. Also, losing someone in your religious community is kind of like a death, so I am sensitive to the real pain people will feel.
Ironically, this is the first time in my life I have lived in such a small, conservative town. It's also the first time in my life I have only had Christian friends (locally, I mean). They all knew that I had been struggling with my faith, and they probably have noticed I haven't gone to church in forever - while my husband and kids still do! Still, I have only told one of them the result of my doubting. This is partly because I just haven't had time and partly because I know what's inevitable with such differing world views. I was already pretty weird in the first place. :P
I'm sure there are more potential friends around you than you think. It can be very difficult and find ways to make time to find them.