A straight guy who’s best friend of 15 years just came out to him and revealed that he’s in love with him has taken to reddit, the unofficial anonymous online forum to get judgement-free advice, to share his story and get advice on how to turn down his best friend without losing him as his bestie.
Redditor imlostnstuff writes:
I’m 29M he’s 31M. He’s my bestie of around 15 years and came out as gay a few days ago and today he told me hes always loved me. We met freshmen year of college, and have been besties every since. We’re both single, I have had on/off relationships with women, and am straight. He’s had relationships with women as well, all lasting around the same as mine, all on/off. He’s played the “player” roll so well, always on Tinder and stuff, always pretty macho, I really had no idea. His whole family is very conservative, and looking back at it, haven’t been the best friend to open up to as gay, I was raised really conservative, I’m not exactly the most PC guy, calling him faggot as a jokingly friend way, probably every single day for the last 15 years 🙁 I feel fucking terrible about that now. I don’t know how to act. I’m trying to be as supportive as I can, and want to be friends as long as we live. But he talked about how depressed he is over this whole situation. My family and group of acquaintances are also very conservative, and I don’t feel like I can talk to them, he also hasn’t come out to any of them yet. I know this will seem really ignorant to many of you, who have been supportive of LGBT for so long, but… my entire family is about as red as you can get, very Religious as well, I’m not religious though, and don’t want to lose my bestie. I once cut off a woman I loved and was friends with, because I couldn’t stand being around her as a friend, and I’m now afraid my friend might do the same, and I couldn’t even blame him. I guess I’m just hoping someone in here has been in a similar situation, and can give me advice on what to do.
Reddit user TananaramaRex left this solid piece of advice:
First, despite your conservative beliefs (religious or otherwise), you still want to be his friend. That is an important start especially since it sounds like more than anything else he needs a friend.
Next, just because he’s “a guy’s guy” doesn’t mean that he can’t be gay. Stereotypes are nothing more than cartoons of what or who society at large has prescribed to groups of people. They’re wrong, and what is most important is who he is as an individual, not that he doesn’t “fit in” to what the “idea” of a gay man should be.
Be friends with him. Have you ever been romantically pursued by a woman, specifically a friend, that you didn’t feel the same about? Same idea.
Be honest with him, tell him, “Hey, you know what is incredible? That you trusted me so much and told me what your real truth is. I don’t think any differently of you and I’m here, and I’ll be your friend and step on your oxygen tube in the nursing home because I’m an asshole, and I will probably think it’s funny. I will be here for you and support you in any ability I can. Our friendship is not changed. I need you to know and understand that I don’t feel the same way romantically as you do. If those romantic feelings are something you can move past, than our relationship as friends is unchanged. And again, trusting me enough to tell me how you feel about me, no matter what my response, is incredible, and means a lot.” (Because if you guys are as good friends as you say you are all of the above should be true.)
I’m gonna guess he’s already aware that the feelings aren’t reciprocal, and he was just – being honest and needing, probably for the first time, to really BE HONEST.
It took a lot of chutzpah and a ton of courage for your friend to tell you that he’s gay, and even more to tell you how he feels about you. I’ve been on his side of things. And that response up there was the response I got from my BFF. I knew she didn’t feel the same way about me, but I needed to TELL HER. She was my best friend and when I got the nerve up to even tell her I was queer, because I NEEDED TO TELL MY BFF, I told her my whole truth. I knew she was heterosexual, but I felt like I owed it to her to tell her that I thought she was the most incredible and beautiful woman who walked the planet.
And you know what? That’s all I needed. (Maybe it’ll be what your buddy needs, too.) She didn’t get weird. (DON’T GET WEIRD.) Be honest about the things you don’t know. He’s still the same person. Check your language and your homophobia. Read up on LGBT+ issues and history.
Ask him about his experience. Ask him what he’s scared about. Be there for them when he decides to tell the conservative folks in your lives. And then stand up for him. You don’t have to compromise your morals or your scruples to love your neighbor as yourself. You don’t have to be some Activist or Social Justice Warrior to stand up against injustice and discrimination and choose not to tolerate bigoted words of hate. You reached out on here to figure out what might be a good way to handle the situation. That says volumes about your character and innately who you are and who you could be.
And the best thing you can be right now is his friend and his ally. Beyond that you can choose to educate yourself, and be an Ally for a community that, despite legal wins in the recent past, still faces violence and discrimination based on who we love or who we are. The fear of violence, discrimination, and isolation is probably one factor that has affected your friend. Remember that.
Also, you sounded concerned for his mental health, and I encourage you to be supportive and suggest counseling, support groups, and other forms of professional mental health support, if he feels he needs it. (You are rightfully concerned, theres lots of articles I hope other people might assist me with by linking about LGBT+ experiences and… some mental health statistics.) [It’s finals week and I’m a 28 year old non-traditional student with a full time job, a part time job, and 9 credits… I just felt I had to respond in some way.]
The moral of the story is: Be his friend. Seriously. BE HIS FRIEND. Read some books and articles. Talk to some people who might be able to tell you about their experiences. Ask him about his experience. Stand up to people who are mean. Repeat.
That’s pretty powerful. And if you value him so much, let him know. I’m sure he’ll appreciate it, even if he yearns for more than a friendship. I’m sure he’d appreciate you letting him know how bad you feel for coming off as homophobic. It’s not easy to come out. And I doubt he came out to you after so long just to end your friendship, so continue to support him as a friend.
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