2 octobre 2010

Is it worth opening up to him? I might lose his friendship.

Hi, I’m seventeen and have not been sure about my sexual orientation since when I was about 15. I like girls but there is also a guy I know that i really like even though I really wish a didn’t. Unfortunately we are really close friends so I really don’t want to risk losing him as a friend, but I really like him. We tend to tease and play around with each other, but he has a girlfriend. I know he probably isn’t attracted to me but I feel stuck in the middle because I feel like I’ll be miserable for the rest of my life. I know that I’m still young but If this is how its going to be I don’t want to have face this. I really don’t know if its worth opening up to him and telling him what I feel about him because I really value our friendship but I feel the need to tell somebody. I’ve liked girls most of my life but now I’m not sure.

Brad Newman

Hi Rodrigo,

Coming out can be very intimidating. Although it may seem overwhelming – try to think of it not so much as you coming out of some sort of hiding, but rather coming into your own. You have obviously been thinking about this for a while, and you’re ready to share who you are with the people around you.

Coming out isn’t telling someone something they don’t already know. It’s telling them that «you» are ready to talk about it.

I can’t say how people will react, who will accept you (as everyone should) and who won’t. I can tell you that being honest about who you are and not living in secret is exponentially better than the alternative. It’s a scary first few steps, but think about where those steps will lead you.

You can spend forever waiting for the perfect time to come out to anyone, but that ideal moment almost rarely comes. You know your friends and family best; so you would have the best idea as to how they may react. This might be the exact reason you are worried to come out.

In my experience, the first few people I came out to weren’t my closest friends or family – they were people I knew well but who I knew would be fine and support me. Once I had a few people I could talk to about my orientation I developed the confidence to tell people who were closer to me. Like a makeshift support network, backing me as I told the people I cared about most.

For your friend, maybe don’t tell him how you feel about him when you come out to him. It’s a sensitive area and you don’t want to overwhelm him. A close friend should support you when you are coming out, realizing you’re the same guy you were a few hours, days, or weeks ago and that nothing has really changed. Like I said, coming out is about you, not him. How you feel about him, however, may make him uncomfortable, putting him on the defensive even if he is in fact fine with your coming out in general. I would say think about maybe not having both of those conversations at the same time

As for feeling like you are stuck in the middle and worrying about being miserable forever – this will almost certainly pass. Any stress or anxiety you are feeling surrounding your coming out, your friend, or anything else related to your sexual orientation is most likely made worse by the fact you’re keeping this all to yourself. Do you think that if you can talk about this with even one friend who listens and supports you that you might notice a huge weight lifted from your shoulders? Talking or even venting to someone can be cathartic and empowering – both things that could be great in helping you through this.

Taking that very first step may seem near impossible Rodrigo, but there are millions of other guys and girls who have taken it already and are doing more than fine. However you identify yourself, opening up to that first person is terrifying, but imagine living a life where you can’t be yourself. As scary as coming out is, its the first day of the rest your life as yourself.

There is no need to rush coming out to the world, so take your time and as you are ready you will know.

I wish you all the best Rodrigo,

B, for Alterheros