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I have mixed feelings about all of this.
I was brought up in more conservative flavors of Christianity, so of course that experience does tailor my outlook somewhat.
I can tell when I am aiming conversation at [my idea of] God; I think what most people have trouble with is recognizing when God (assuming he exists) is truly talking back to them. Most of the conflicts between or even internal to religious faiths regard whether or not GOD is actually speaking to THEM or if they are just speaking to themselves and/or mistaking some other voice for God's.
I prayed for many years of my life. Now in the position I am at, where my concept of God is disintegrated and reforming, I find that I still cannot help but "speak to Him." It is more like a daily monologue in my head, where I just find myself chatting conversationally with him -- then wake up and realize that I'm not even sure there's anyone listening. Sometimes that left me sad; sometimes it left me lonely; but I am increasingly able to deal with it and even make the effort to externalize my thoughts to other people instead of keeping them trapped in my head.
As far as the "God of judgment" versus a "God of love," I just think we need to be careful on how we define "love" among other things.
I have definitely sensed a shift in my beliefs. Earlier in life, I felt very critical of myself and others, even if I would not say it out loud. Every action, thought, and comment would have to be categorized as Sin and Not Sin, and Sin had to constantly repented of and felt bad over. It was very tiring and exhausting, and just left me negative overall towards myself and others, and impatient as well.
Now I still see some actions as negative and some actions as positive. The whole thing is a little bit more impersonal. Some people hurt others because of their choices; this saddens me, and I do what I can to help them and those who are hurt (whether it's advice or encouragement); but I don't really sit around and think, "Oh, this person is going to hell unless they change and I must save them." I think what I see is that they are creating their own hell NOW and living in it, and so my task is not to convert them to a belief system but to be part of their experience in a way that changes them for the better... but it is always their choice as to whether they change or not, and I will respect that choice as best as I can. (It's just hard when others are involved.)
[That might seem like a slight tangent from the topic of "Do I talk to God?" But I am responding more to the image of the judgmental God you said people claimed to talk to, versus the more loving one you hope to find.]
I still think we need to be careful when we portray God as either loving or judgmental, and then set things up so we are obviously "good" because we pick the "loving" God. Even a loving person will sometimes have to hold others accountable for their actions, and perhaps intrude into the affairs of others in a very firm and disruptive way.
A "loving God" is sometimes just another name for a "sloppy, indifferent, impotent God" so we can just do what we feel like doing and not be in submission to anything larger than ourselves. There still has to be some sort of internalized rigorous review of ourselves, even under the rule of some "loving" God.