I feel like people at my church hate or dislike me

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jashley
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04 Jun 2014, 2:14 pm

I feel like people at my church hate me and dislike me and are always suspicious of me They always ignore me when I try to say hi to them and they plan things in front of me that Im never invited to and then act annoyed when they all leave and my ride is late so I am still waiting. Like what do you want me to do leave and start walking? And because no one talks to me or says hi and they try to avoid me and block me out of their circles when I try to join them, other people act annoyed and suspicious by saying things like "Um, do you need something? Are you looking for something?!?!" In an annoyed and suspicous voice. Like Im not doing anything wrong, just because I am standing around trying to say hi to people and join their conversations and they are shutting me out so I give up and just stand there, Do you want me to leave? Because that is what I feel like they are saying.



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04 Jun 2014, 2:45 pm

This is so ironic. I am having a similar situation but with two other young women at my congregation. I am trying to branch out and meet some new people and make friends etc. I had wanted to get to know two girls. I tried to sit with them during service this afternoon and attempt to get to know them. It seems to me that they just want to stick together and not let anyone else in.

Congregations tend to be a place for people to act like clicks and it's really sad.



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04 Jun 2014, 4:57 pm

^^
I agree. Even though I'm Catholic and I shouldn't be posting my opinion, to me, cliques in churches are a lot like being in high school all over again. Seniors talk to other seniors, families with young children talk to other families, members of the choir only talk to each other, etc, etc.

At my church, many people believe that just because they are Catholic, they think of themselves as better than everybody else, and to me, that's just shallow and sad.

@ The OP: Have you considered getting involved at a ministry at your church? If so, try talking to your parish priest to ask about any parish ministry that may appeal to you. I've been an usher at my church for about four years now and it's been great...for most of the time.


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Tahitiii
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04 Jun 2014, 6:08 pm

AnonymousAnonymous wrote:
@ The OP: Have you considered getting involved at a ministry at your church? If so, try talking to your parish priest to ask about any parish ministry that may appeal to you. I've been an usher at my church for about four years now and it's been great...for most of the time.

I would talk to someone (parish priest, minister, someone in authority) and tell him/her how you feel. Make an appointment and actually sit in private and talk for a few minutes. Personally, I would need to write a brief note because I'm so bad at talking about stuff in person, and let him read it while I'm sitting there. The OP is a good rough draft to start with. Also include in this note whatever kind of volunteer work you would like to do. You might even add to that a copy of a brief article that describes Asperger's in a way that makes the most sense to you. Plan to sit quietly and not hover while he's reading. Maybe bring a magazine.
After that, the conversation might even be productive.



Tahitiii
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04 Jun 2014, 7:07 pm

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Summer_Twilight
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05 Jun 2014, 8:48 am

I also thought of something else. If you approach other people at your congregation and they talk down to you, it might be wise to tell them

"Would it be terrible for me to join your conversation? Besides I am trying to get to know some people." If the attitude continues smile at them and say "I am sorry that you cannot be accepting of others who are new or different. I just don't understand what I am doing wrong." Then walk away.



0bey1sh1n0b1
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05 Jun 2014, 9:59 am

Summer_Twilight wrote:
This is so ironic. I am having a similar situation but with two other young women at my congregation. I am trying to branch out and meet some new people and make friends etc. I had wanted to get to know two girls. I tried to sit with them during service this afternoon and attempt to get to know them. It seems to me that they just want to stick together and not let anyone else in.

Congregations tend to be a place for people to act like clicks and it's really sad.


It's cliques and yes you took the words right out of my mouth



Tahitiii
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05 Jun 2014, 1:09 pm

Summer_Twilight wrote:
I also thought of something else. If you approach other people at your congregation and they talk down to you, it might be wise to tell them:
"Would it be terrible for me to join your conversation? Besides I am trying to get to know some people." If the attitude continues smile at them and say "I am sorry that you cannot be accepting of others who are new or different. I just don't understand what I am doing wrong." Then walk away.

That is the absolute worst thing you could possibly do.
Whatever negative thoughts they might have had about you before, this would just prove them right.
More likely, they didn't have any specific thoughts about you before, but after a tirade like that, they will.
That's not even an attempt to make friends, but a feeble attempt at revenge and, even at that, it would fail.
(It won't make them like you and it won't make them feel bad.)

You need to find a way in that's not offensive. Joining a group or project and making yourself useful is the most likely way. It would not be guaranteed, but the suggestion above is a guaranteed failure.



Tahitiii
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05 Jun 2014, 3:04 pm

Making friends is complicated, and people who try to educate you only tell you about the first part.

The first part is "social skills," do this, don't do that... Some of it is simple, some is complicated, but mostly it's a formula that you can explain in rational terms. Like instructions for assembling furniture or fixing a car.

The rest is difficult or impossible to control, so no one will bother explaining it. It would be possible to understand, but pointless and usually embarrassing for someone.

For one thing, you need a chemistry that works for both of you. You can't fake it. Some people are just not interested in being friends with you and there's nothing you can do.

Another thing is areas that you have in common. The people who might like you need to see something in you that they can relate to. That means that you need to exchange things that are a little personal. You kind of take turns: she voluntarily discloses a little something, you disclose a little something, she shares, you share. If one of you gets offended, you quickly change the subject and try to find something you can agree on. After a while, if you haven't offended each other too much, you might be on your way to becoming friends. When people say, "be yourself," this is what they're getting at. You need to let that potential friend know that "this is who I am." It's a subtle dance that takes time. Disclosing too much, too soon is creepy. (Do not tell her about the fungus infection on your back unless she shares something equally gross.) On the other hand, not disclosing enough makes you impersonal and unfriendable. (Your love of cats is usually a safe topic.)

Then there's bonding, which is more difficult to explain. Something has to happen that puts you both on the same side of some kind of trouble.
War buddies know about bonding because they've been through hell together and helped each other.
Natural disasters can have a similar effect on people who help each other get through it.
A spectator sport is a cheap, harmless way of bonding, it you're into that sort of thing: you cheer and cry together as though the outcome of the game has some personal significance.
Gossip is a cheap, slimy way of bonding: you create a fictitious enemy, or a straw man, or find an easy target so that you can enjoy hating that person together. It's not very healthy for the victim, but it's great for the bonding buddies.
Then there?s the primal, macho stuff: when they strut around each other, try to look tough, play rough, or show off to each other by beating up an innocent third party, the message is ?I would make a useful ally or a deadly enemy.? I would prefer to believe that it?s not an issue between women. Although I suppose it could be a factor in selecting a mate. (Personally, I think it?s a turn-off.)

From what I've seen, most bonding agents are negative, but you can find positive ways to bond, especially in a church that has a mission to help the homeless or something like that. (Look at us, ain't we wonderful for helping...)


Is any of this useful?



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05 Jun 2014, 5:24 pm

jashley wrote:
I feel like people at my church hate me and dislike me and are always suspicious of me They always ignore me when I try to say hi to them and they plan things in front of me that Im never invited to and then act annoyed when they all leave and my ride is late so I am still waiting. Like what do you want me to do leave and start walking? And because no one talks to me or says hi and they try to avoid me and block me out of their circles when I try to join them, other people act annoyed and suspicious by saying things like "Um, do you need something? Are you looking for something?!?!" In an annoyed and suspicous voice. Like Im not doing anything wrong, just because I am standing around trying to say hi to people and join their conversations and they are shutting me out so I give up and just stand there, Do you want me to leave? Because that is what I feel like they are saying.

My experiences with church are very similar. I've tried fitting in, joining ministries and talking to the pastor. Nothing changes it. But none of that prohibits their expectation of me giving them 10% every sunday. I'm not a glutton for punishment so I don't go anymore.



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06 Jun 2014, 3:06 am

I find it's better not to try and join in a circle of people who are in the middle of a conversation. Usually they're already talking about something and I have trouble joining in because I have no idea what they are talking about. Just standing there won't encourage them to include you, they'll just wonder why you're standing there.

Look for someone who is on their own and start a conversation with them. I've moved around alot so I often don't know anything about the person I'm talking to so I ask things like how long have you lived here, when did you start coming to this church, do you have any family here? That sort of thing and encourage them to talk about themself.



SoMissunderstood
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18 Jun 2014, 7:30 am

jashley wrote:
I feel like people at my church hate me and dislike me and are always suspicious of me They always ignore me when I try to say hi to them and they plan things in front of me that Im never invited to and then act annoyed when they all leave and my ride is late so I am still waiting. Like what do you want me to do leave and start walking? And because no one talks to me or says hi and they try to avoid me and block me out of their circles when I try to join them, other people act annoyed and suspicious by saying things like "Um, do you need something? Are you looking for something?!?!" In an annoyed and suspicous voice. Like Im not doing anything wrong, just because I am standing around trying to say hi to people and join their conversations and they are shutting me out so I give up and just stand there, Do you want me to leave? Because that is what I feel like they are saying.

Before I read all the replies to this, I had already formulated my own, so if I repeat anything previously mentioned (after re-reading), I am only agreeing with them.

The first question I must ask is, 'how long have you been at the church?'

The next one, is what is the general age demographic of the church and is it city or regional? (that's two questions, but...meh).

Why I am asking, is that in any church, there's usually a 'pecking order' among those who have been there the longest (and have contributed a lot of time and money to the church) vs 'I wouldn't know this dude from a bar of soap'.

There are also social cliques and groups among the more elderly and family-minded of the congregation, so a young, single bloke is just going to feel all lonely and 'out of place' there, right?

See if you can get an appointment to have a chat with the Minister/Reverend and ask him if there's anything you can do to feel more welcomed and accepted within the congregation. Mention to him that you are Autistic and you find it hard to make new friends and talk to people....just be honest and speak from your heart - I am sure that both he (and God) will be listening.

Also, fellowship is only the 'reward' not the reason.

The church is a good place to find and meet new friends and to socialise....with one catch....in the name of Jesus.

It's not really a 'catch', it's an honor that more people (two or more people) need to be reminded of sometimes. ;)

You go to church to pray and ask Jesus for forgiveness and help - for both yourself and others.

So, what do you do when people at your church hate or dislike you?

Why, you forgive them of course.



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18 Jun 2014, 9:11 am

Mark Lowry (a Christian comedian) said it best....

There's lots of people I love but don't like....I go through Thanksgiving and Christmas too.

You'll cry at their funeral but you don't want to go on vacation with them.


Christians are commanded to LOVE one another. It's possible to love someone but not like them.

I love my sister and parents, but I'd just as soon never see them. I know I love them because if someone tries to hurt them, I am fired up to protect them from harm.

It seems like a contradiction, but it isn't. LOVE and LIKE aren't the same thing.



SoMissunderstood
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18 Jun 2014, 9:16 am

zer0netgain wrote:
Mark Lowry (a Christian comedian) said it best....

There's lots of people I love but don't like....I go through Thanksgiving and Christmas too.

You'll cry at their funeral but you don't want to go on vacation with them.


Christians are commanded to LOVE one another. It's possible to love someone but not like them.

I love my sister and parents, but I'd just as soon never see them. I know I love them because if someone tries to hurt them, I am fired up to protect them from harm.

It seems like a contradiction, but it isn't. LOVE and LIKE aren't the same thing.

I know love and like are not the same thing, but how is it possible to love someone without liking them? as an aspie's sufferer, I could never get this.



gigstalksguy
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18 Jun 2014, 10:27 am

Considering what the church is about, it is sad to say that for many young or single adults, it is much easier to go out to socialise and find friends at the pub than in church. Obviously every church is different, but what tends to happen is you'll have a group of teens (youth group) all acting as a cliche, then everyone else will mix in with others like them, young families with other young families, the elderly with other elderly people etc.

Now this is perfectly natural, however, if you're a younger single adult (I am assuming that's the case for people on this thread) the problem is you're very much in a minority and unintentionally, you can get left out in the cold because people just don't know what to do with you.

If you're in this situation in church, probably one of the best things is to help out in some way. Churches are usually seeking out volunteers for all sorts of things, both during services and other activities going on in the week, such as doing the teas and coffee's, stewarding/welcome people, designing the website, setting up chairs, OHP/audio visual, musicians, loads of things. It can be much easier relating to people when you're doing something with them, rather than just talkiing.

Also most churches will have small groups that meet in houses sometime in the week, join a group. Fewer people and an easier context to get to know people properly. In some cases there may be something specifically tailored to young adults / singles, although this is often a neglected area. If not there may be some inter-church groups that are more amenable.

I agree this can be a difficult environment who a person that doesn't necessarily fit in with the majority of the congregation, but Christians are usually kind hearted and will be willing to do what they can to help, if they know how they can help you. :D


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zer0netgain
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18 Jun 2014, 11:28 am

SoMissunderstood wrote:
zer0netgain wrote:
Mark Lowry (a Christian comedian) said it best....

There's lots of people I love but don't like....I go through Thanksgiving and Christmas too.

You'll cry at their funeral but you don't want to go on vacation with them.


Christians are commanded to LOVE one another. It's possible to love someone but not like them.

I love my sister and parents, but I'd just as soon never see them. I know I love them because if someone tries to hurt them, I am fired up to protect them from harm.

It seems like a contradiction, but it isn't. LOVE and LIKE aren't the same thing.

I know love and like are not the same thing, but how is it possible to love someone without liking them? as an aspie's sufferer, I could never get this.


The best way I can think of to explain it is like this....

You might care about someone (love), but you don't really enjoy their company (like).

Likewise, you can enjoy someone's company but never get emotionally invested in them on a personal level (superficial friendships/associations).