Thank you for your question. “It’s OK to be gay” is a cute quote I heard once before and it applies in your situation… and applies to anyone who is non-heterosexual whether you’re curious, bi, or homosexual.
It is difficult when in the process of clarifying your sexuality to figure out how to share your deepest thoughts and feelings with the people that surround you and that you care about. It’s up to you to decide when it is the appropriate time to talk to your good friend about your feelings. Sometimes there are opportunities or key moments when you will feel it’s appropriate to talk about your feelings.
You can usually tell if people will be tolerant or accepting of differences just based on the type of person they are… for example, if the person is tolerant or accepting of differences such as cultural minorities, languages, religions, etc. Someone who is open-minded will know prejudices are something that some people use to put down or denigrate a certain group of people. With someone open-minded, it is probable that they will be more accepting of sexual diversity, like a person being bisexual or gay. You can also test the field with your friend by bringing up gay-related issues, such as– if you see someone gay in a movie, in a store or on the street, make a positive comment and see how your friend reacts to that.
In terms of approaching people you are interested in, it is always difficult, regardless of who you are attracted to. Being shy or worrying about embarrassing yourself is perfectly normal, but most queer people end up developing ways over time not only to see if a person is interested but also if they are queer too. Usually if someone is interested they will look at you (stare or gaze) or they will smile at you, or they will dance close to you at a party or will make an effort to talk to you or be in proximity to you. They may chat with you on-line, poke you, make comments on your photos, etc.
What is important is to gauge what others are doing, trust your intuition it is usually right, and remember your core values. Be cautious, don’t do things you wouldn’t normally do… and always use protection regardless of how cute or clean cut a person may be. Remain polite with people even if they are not interested and treat approaching men just like you approach woean… the techniques are the same!
Good luck, and hopefully even if your close friend is not bi or gay, he will remain your friend, respect you and continue to treat you like a friend, just like before…
JP for Alterheros