You know your friend is gay – he or she may have told you so, or you may have guessed. This shouldn't be a problem – your friend has a perfect right to make his or her own choices. However, there are some cultures, and many people, who still do not approve of homosexuality, and this can make life very difficult for your friend. Even in a liberal family, where there is much understanding, some family members could feel uncomfortable with homosexuality, when it is that close to home. Parents may feel more worried about the issues that a gay child will have to deal with, and everything may be more complicated.
Obviously you want to help your friend, and you can do this best by being aware of the realities of the situation. If your friend’s culture is anti-gay, then encouraging your friend to defy them could only put more pressure on them. You need to think very carefully about your motives and goals when advising your friend.
IF YOU ALSO ARE GAY
If you are gay, be careful about wanting your mate to ‘come out’ just to support you. For your friendship to thrive, long-term, you have to be aware of his or her own special needs and feelings.
IF YOU ARE STRAIGHT
You may be very well-placed to see how your friend’s sexuality will impact on their family, life and happiness. However, it may also be hard to put yourself in your friend’s shoes. Perhaps you could talk to other gay people, to get a clearer perspective.
LET THEM TAKE THEIR TIME
Be careful that you are patient. This isn't a crusade for ‘gay rights’ – it’s about your pal being comfortable. If they don’t know that you know, let this be realised gently. Show them that you understand their emotions and their fears. Never push them or decide to tell other people without their agreement.
ACT AS A ‘BUFFER'
When your friend comes out, you may be able to act as a go-between, especially with family. Just being aware that you understand and are supportive will be very welcome to the family, who may worry that their child is going to be an outcast. However, make sure your friend is happy about this before wading in.
TRY NOT TO BE POSSESSIVE
If you are straight and have known your friend for some time, helping them may be easy at first, but harder as time goes by. Everyone will adjust, including your friend, and they may then move on to other contacts. Try to be happy for them, because if you have been a true mate, there will always be a special place for you in their heart and their life – and you may meet some amazing new pals as a result!
Sometimes however hard you try, coping with sexual preferences seems like a minefield and saying and doing the right thing very difficult. But help is at hand. Relationship advice and dating advice are available with a few clicks, when you contact us at The Circle. Find support with your love issues, get your relationship horoscope or benefit from psychic insight. There’s no need to cope with your anxieties alone – put in a call today
PUBLISHED: 21 APRIL 2015