I have a lot of friends in real life, but I can’t share my fundamental feelings about a disbelief in what most people take for granted is true. I generally just never talk to them about why I think religion is malign and belief in god illogical. I keep these feelings to myself, except when I come onto this site, where I can share my thoughts with like minded others, such as yourselves. It feels comfortable.
Lately I've been thinking about the feeling I get from this site. I think it's a sense of connectedness and acceptance. There are so many people here that are so not judgmental and allow others to be themselves. I've seen the support given to each other and it warms my heart.
Not entirely, I'm fortunate to have some life long friends with whom I can be myself and although we go months or years without seeing each other will pick up where we left off. But having said that I am quite comfortable on here and have made a couple of connections I wouldn't otherwise have done so.
Truth be said many of my friends hear the words but do not understand what they mean. Therefore when I say athiest, they think it's no more important than a menu choice, something for today, not realising it's for life, like the proverbial puppy at Christmas (the irony is not lost on me )
I think that unfortunately with friends we are guarded in what we say to them far too often, there is a fear that they no longer will want us in their lives, so we don't say what we really think or feel all the time. Here it doesn't matter because after all we don't really know each other and don't have to worry about that people no longer want to have anything do do with us.
My sense of self has always been strong (occasionally to my detriment), I have always been pretty open with my lack of belief so it's hard for me to say that it's better here. However, there is a certain freedom in knowing that I'm very unlikely to offend someone on here in the way I might IRL (of course, I generally view that as their problem if they are offended by non-belief!)