I have a bi friend and I don’t want to lose her – how can I understand her situation better?


Hi Alex

Thanks for submitting your question to Alterheros – and thank you for reading our previous posts on similar questions! I’m sure it’s given you some things to think about before asking your question.

Its a tough situation when you are good friends with someone, and you suddenly discover you disagree strongly on an idea, values, morals or lifestyle etc. This is not an uncommon thing to encounter between two people who are otherwise, very close friends. First of all, it is wonderful that you are trying to reach out to her, and trying to find out how to accept and understand her- it shows you are a true friend. In addition, the fact that your friend chose to come out to you, despite her being scared or whatnot, shows she trusts you and feels relatively comfortable (given the subject) to confide in you. These two events alone, should reassure that you that you both have a strong foundation for your friendship and that the chances of you completely losing your best friend are slim.

Time and being honest and open with each other are healers for these sorts of conflicts . Given what you said about her telling you, and your relationship becoming distant for awhile, and then starting to talk and hang out again- it sounds just like a normal re-adjustment after two friends have had a fight, needed some space apart, and are in the process of making up. I think that you should definitely broach the subject with her again- but the timing, the place and the manner in which frame your discussion are all very sensitive things to consider. Its important to remember that when you’re in an argument, or one of you is in shock, or feels scared, or just in general, in an emotionally agitated state, it is unlikely you will have a rational, open, patient and honest conversation with one another. Just like when two people are fighting and screaming at each other- but neither are listening to one another. They both leave the room, take a walk, and come back later when they are both calmer. Hence, it is better to wait until you’ve both had some time apart (the distance you already had) and then some normal time together, just doing regular things, until you broach the subject again. That way, you have some time to adjust, and your friend realizes that she’s not losing her friend because of this.

I believe that for both of you, you should definitely eventually open up to her about how you feel, otherwise the issue will always be a source of tension between you both. But before you do that, consider why you feel the way you do about her being bisexual. Is it because you think she might have feelings for you? Are you afraid of her being discriminated against, or perhaps yourself facing discrimination because of associating with her? Is it due to religious beliefs or perhaps general social stigma toward GLBT community? These are completely valid things to be concerned about or afraid of.

I think its important to tell your friend you don’t want to lose her as a friend, and you want to work together to understand her bisexuality and to make you friendship stronger as a result of this new understanding and trust. And yes, your friendship probably will change – but given you try to understand and accept her with time, it will probably change for the better. It is absolutely normal for friendships to be ever changing – whether good or bad things happen, people grow and change along with their relationships to other people. I think that when two people can work together through the good times and the worse times, that is a sign of a lasting, healthy and rewarding friendship. Knowing you have someone there for you through your roughest times is one of the most valuable assets to have in a friend.

I think the best way to get used to this new idea and understand bisexuality, is to read about it – novels, online articles, or even find support groups for GLBT communities that might be able to answer any of your further questions, and provide support for you and your friend. Trust me, your friend will more than appreciate it when she sees that you are putting effort into understanding her situation.

I hope that’s put things in perspective for you and that this response hasn’t been too repetitive!

Please don’t hesitate if you have any further questions, and good luck with everything.

For Alterheros,

Evelyn.


About Evelyn Kuang

Evelyn holds a BA in Psychology, Sexual Diversity Studies, and Social Studies of Medicine. She also has work experience in Women’s Healthcare, and Sexual Healthcare Clinic. She was also an intern at a Alcohol and Substance Abuse Recovery program. In 2008, she was part of the organizers for Vagina Monologues College Campaign @ McGill.

I love counseling, education and debunking myths. I’m very passionate about sexual healthcare and seek to change the way we think, tolerate and perceive sexuality in all its facets.

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