Difficulty making male friends (gay or straight)?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 03, 2008 7:37 AM GMT
    Sure, we all make friends effortlessly because we're such cool people. OK, I'm not cool.

    I owe the fact that I have any friends to circumstances that have basically dropped them in my lap. Of course, so do we all. But my BF and I have bemoaned our ability to make friends. You know, with people we attempt to select, not just bump into.

    Whenever we (or actually, I) am the approacher, I'm usually rebuffed, ignored, or humored and then skirted. I get fed up with being the approacher and take the I'll-be-the-approachee approach. Hilarity usually ensues: nobody comes to talk, except for some drag queen (they're the only ones with confidence, it seems) who bitches us out for being unapproachable.

    Now that I'm thinking about it, has anyone ever made a friend, or have they all just happened?
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    Jun 03, 2008 11:01 AM GMT
    I've stated this many times before
    there's always the sexual thing that gets in the way
    when you try to socialized with gay men

    You need to get to know people COMPLETELY out of the gay world ... they can be gay or str8
    but it has to be situations where the word gay isn't mentioned
    at a political or hobby type club or the supermarket
    anything else there's going to need to be the ... dude, I just wanna be friends with you talk
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 03, 2008 1:52 PM GMT
    They always just happen to me. Except the ones who approach me to get to know one of my hot friends. I had one that actually became my friend because I gave him a shoulder to cry on when my hot friend rejected him! lol

    The moral of the story is: I think the more emotionally distanced you are the harder it is to make friends. You have to make yourself both emotionally (compassion wise) available and physically (time wise) accessible. Emotional bonds are the ones that keep people in our hearts.

    Also, questioning the reasons you "select" someone to be a friend can be helpful. If you select someone for superficial reasons, you just mind end up with a superficial friend.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 03, 2008 1:54 PM GMT
    I have no problem here. What I do is act the part. In spite of my insecurities I try to put on a friendly approachable persona, a smile goes a long way. I also
    act confident in myself without being too overbearing.
    I make each move deliberate, even picking up my drink. (Which is usually a coke)

    I am quick with a friendly "Hello" and then a little subtle aloofness, without being totally ignoring. Let them make the next move.

    When I meet a person and learn their name, I try very hard to remember their name/s. Sometimes I jot it down.

    This draws people to you, you appear friendly, not overbearing and approachable. People are so flattered that you remember their names on the second meeting.

    Ther needs to be a second meeting, then you can get even friendlier and chat them up. These things take some time. When chatting them up, let them do most of the talking, and pay attention.

    No one (usually) wants to associate with a sad sack, so don't be one.

    I honed my acting ability by acting straight when I was in the Army.

    I hope this helps. Good luck.










  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 03, 2008 2:31 PM GMT
    I tend to be the one who is approached. I tend to suffer from some social anxiety that often keeps me from getting to know someone better. Plus I like to float around. It is hard to take that step to make friends. I think sometimes there is just a chemistry initially and other times it just takes time and exposure. There is a communications theory of attractiveness that says the more exposure to someone you have the more attractive you will find them.I think this is true with friendships as well. I have a struggle cause I am very hot and cold and tend to hang ot for an intense period of time and then drop off the face of the earth. Hard when developing friends.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 03, 2008 3:11 PM GMT
    mickeytopogigio said who bitches us out for being unapproachable.

    Now that I'm thinking about it, has anyone ever made a friend, or have they all just happened?



    First off there is one key word you mentioned in your post that you should really look at. I made sure to bold it. Look at that and try to answer why?

    I have made lots of friends. Sure some happen but if I didnt get out and meet people and make friends I would have a limited social life outside the internet.

    I do have the problem of people coming up to me and telling me their whole life story, the good and bad parts. I hate it. The best example is Im at gay bar in chicago suburb and a lesbian comes up to me and asks me what facial cleanser I use because I have such fair skin. Well after I told her she went on and on about he ex from her straight past cheating on her and leaving her with 3 kids and then she moved on to her 4 lesbian love affairs ending with he having a civil union. 2hrs later her partner comes into the bar and saves me.

    I dont know if its because I seem to be so trustworthy or Im a good listener but it gets annoying at times and is one of the reasons Im staying off my bi-polar meds so I can get away.
  • NickoftheNort...

    Posts: 1416

    Jun 03, 2008 3:15 PM GMT
    I don't know of when I've actively sought to make a(n offline) friendship; the ones I have stem largely from shared interests and shared locales (or just *clicking*). I have a few friendships that stem from my actions though, such as when I started a D&D grouping to help introduce a guy to the game (we had a fellow friend, who apparently hadn't thought of DMing); my interest was in exposing him to the game rather than getting to know him, yet the latter happened.

    However, it seems to me that you are talking about making initial contact as opposed to friendships (which develop through continued interactions, usually mutually enjoyed and beneficial ones). I tend to not make much initial contact these days as I a) still am a novice in reaching out and b) I am not in a lifestyle situation where I have a need to develop new friendships.

    One way of making friends is to be a social centre: you (and your boyfriend) can initiate some social activity, such as a neighborhood party (or a party with a invitation list). Do something that engages the people you're interested in and allow your interactions to take place without feeling forced.
  • CuriousJockAZ

    Posts: 19129

    Jun 03, 2008 3:26 PM GMT
    Most of my friendships have just happened, but there are some that I actually went after and pursued as friends. I've met certain people through my life who I just said to myself "I want to be this person's friend", and set out to make that happen. Ironically, some of these friends have ended up being deep life-long-type friendships that I have maintained 10, 15, 25 years in some cases. Some of them, if I recall, even resisted being my friend at first. But, if I wanna be your friend, you're gonna be my friend whether you like it or not - LOL. I think I learned to be aggressive in terms of making friendships when I moved to Los Angeles because it is a hard place to move to when you don't know anybody. Everyone sort of has their little groups of friends they hang out with, and you have to reach out and be outgoing to break through that sometimes.
  • fitnfunmich

    Posts: 181

    Jun 03, 2008 5:51 PM GMT
    Ok so this a confusing subject. Dude, friendships are RELATIONSHIPS between two people, and like any other relationship they take time to develop. So no you can't just make them happen because you want them to.

    Sounds like you are talking about meeting people at a bar or club, and that is not a good start at all for making friends. Too hard to really talk, and so much posing going on. That scene is better for scoping out potential f**kbuds than having meaningful conversations.

    I think the biggest obstacle in making friends is being too "Me" centered. Stop being so concerned with choosing who YOU attempt to select, or whether or not YOU should be the approacher or the approachee. Just be yourself, and be open to the world around you, including anyone else who might happen along.
  • Bunjamon

    Posts: 3161

    Jun 03, 2008 6:06 PM GMT
    Why are you trying to make friends in clubs? Check out your neighbourhood pick-up sports teams, cooking classes, book clubs, knitting circles (you're gay, so why not), yadda yadda yadda. Maybe you're just looking in the wrong place.

    And it sounds like you and your boyfriend come as a package. Maybe you should each start searching on your own for friends?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 03, 2008 6:58 PM GMT
    fitnfunmich saidOk so this a confusing subject. Dude, friendships are RELATIONSHIPS between two people, and like any other relationship they take time to develop. So no you can't just make them happen because you want them to.


    That's similar to what I tell many of my friends who bemoan this topic. You cannot make a friendship. It has to happen.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 03, 2008 7:32 PM GMT
    I guess I'm lucky to have a great group of friends, some going all the way back to college. I'm still friends with some of my fraternity brothers, H20-polo teammates, and people from my alumni association, my old neighborhood where I grew up, some good work friends from a few of the companies I worked for, and newer friends from a few clubs I belong to - business and social clubs. I have a good mix of old and newer friends. I think friends are the best part of life.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 03, 2008 8:04 PM GMT
    I've become asexual. No issues encountered at all. icon_confused.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 03, 2008 8:13 PM GMT
    All right, sounds like lots of you have had friendships happen, as opposed to made.

    I think this has always been my suspicion about dating sites, where you enter this or that criterion for your potential partner/friend, and then select from your candidates. This forces the encounter rather than create an organic happenstance that invokes the candidates' true character rather than their fa├žade.

    Has this been your experience as well?
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    Jun 03, 2008 8:46 PM GMT
    I've found that the best friends I've made have been based on four things.
    1. Common interests and passions.
    2. Common survival issues (as in suffered similar traumatic events)
    3. Mild attraction at best.
    4. The ability to tell or be told a secret that will go no further.

    The common interests don't have to be the same, but there has to be a lot of overlap.
    The survival issues don't have to be the same at all but the sharing similar ideas of how you dealt with traumatic events in your life is really bonding.
    Anything more than mild attraction almost always ends up unbalanced and tends to be detrimental to the friendship whether by sabotage or sublimation.
    Having someone who'll never hold your mistakes against you.

    So to me, friends develop. Whenever I decide I want to 'be friends' with someone specific that I don't really know at all, there's almost always an underlying agenda that's counterproductive to it happening.

    Short answer: they just happen.
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    Jun 03, 2008 10:07 PM GMT
    The friends I have made are usually deliberate. If I'm in social situations and meet someone that I think is funny, interesting, smart, etc, I will usually initiate a course of conversation that revolves around another meeting ("Hey, I'm going to xyz next week, wanna come along?").

    If you have a hard time initiating conversation, I find the best approach is to ask them something about themself ("Are you from here originally?", "Have you ever been to such and such restaurant...what did you think?"). People like to talk about themself, so it usually opens the lines of communication pretty quickly. I can usually tell if I'll like the other person if, after a minute or 2, they ask about me or something else. If they don't...and continue to talk about themself, I tend to move on.

    Hope this helps!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 03, 2008 10:22 PM GMT
    Well, I'm not lacking in the conversation/communication department...that's not an issue for me. However, I like your idea of homing in on a particular person with the invitation.

    Like I said in my OP, happening to get friends is never a problem, it's making them.

    And, I guess my reasons for making friends usually center around what characteristics I'd like my circle to include: athletic without being a dick to others, for one; bright without being self-deluded; un-addicted without being judgmental...you get the idea.

    Is there value in being choosy, or is the choosiness a flaw?
  • roadbikeRob

    Posts: 14345

    Jun 03, 2008 11:25 PM GMT
    It depends where you are at because some places are friendlier than others. Here in Buffalo, NY if you are familiar enough with the gay community and all its community organizations, it is quite easy to get to know other guys. If you just go to the bars well obviously the bar crowd is very arrogant and stuck on themselves. This is why I don't waste time with the bars. I am athletically active so staying out to all hours of the night is contrary to a healthy, athletic lifestyle. icon_smile.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 03, 2008 11:31 PM GMT
    Well, IMO, there are two things going on here: Making a friend (fairly easy) and maintaining/developing the friendship (much harder).

    You can make a friend by--well, by being friendly. By smiling, keeping eye contact (gay or straight, doesn't matter), actually listening to the other person (hardly anybody does that), responding as though you heard what was said (nobody does that either), having something interesting to say, occasionally complimenting them without sounding patronizing (hard, because most people can't handle a compliment), and doing your share of the convo without dominating it (which is a total turn-off). Do that, and that person will probably like you. You've made a friend, or at least an acquaintance.

    But then maintaining it? Wow. Hard. You mean like a REALLY close friend?? Usually you have to initiate things without being overly pushy or aggressive. You have to spend time with that person, really get to know them in more than a superficial way. Most people are unwilling or unable to do that. And even when you do, the other person often does not reciprocate. People move, they drift away, they're fickle, they change jobs, they get involved in other relationships. It can be kind of frustrating, and sometimes you think you'd be better off spending your time in other ways (working out, reading, furthering your career, or your education, making more money, etc.)

    My thought is this: Sure, have friends. Lots of them. But never be overly dependent on them, because then you're allowing them to determine your happiness. Have lots of friends, but be your own best friend. Probably every guy on here is worthy of that.

  • DCEric

    Posts: 3713

    Jun 03, 2008 11:39 PM GMT
    My friends, gay, straight, male, female, just happen. You make friends by getting involved! I am part of a community service organization where I have a large circle of friends, I got brought into a weekly game night by a coworker and now have a circle of friends there.

    Friends just happen. Life just happens. Once you have either one you have to work to make it good.
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    Jun 03, 2008 11:42 PM GMT
    LittleDudeWithMuscles said But then maintaining it? Wow. Hard. You mean like a REALLY close friend?? Usually you have to initiate things without being overly pushy or aggressive. You have to spend time with that person, really get to know them in more than a superficial way. Most people are unwilling or unable to do that. And even when you do, the other person often does not reciprocate. People move, they drift away, they change jobs, they get involved in other relationships. It can be kind of frustrating, and sometimes you think you'd be better off spending your time in other ways (working out, reading, furthering your career, or your education, making more money, etc.)


    Very true. This is why my very closest friends were made earlier in my life, when I had the time and inclination to spend time getting to really know someone. I don't have the time now, and I'm not even sure I have the inclination, so aside from work, I've made almost no friends purely socially since I moved to Florida.

    But, having said that and before I sound pitiful, I have developed close friendships with several people that I've worked with in the past seven years, real friendships that have endured well past the point where either of us was still working together.

    So, I guess that means (if you work a lot) that the workplace is the only real place where you have the time to get to know someone (in between, you know, moments of actually working).
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    Jun 04, 2008 12:01 AM GMT
    Well, glad I'm not the only one. icon_confused.gif

    I've been told I'm intimidating. I usually stand by myself at a party, then end up leaving out of boredom.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 04, 2008 1:01 AM GMT
    I find it more difficult to make true friends (as opposed to friendly acquaintances) the older I get. Most of my straight friends are either from my partner or from work. I have never had many close gay friends. One moved to Vancouver in 1995, another died in 2006, and my closest gay friend is usually depressed. Thank heavens for my partner (and internet friends)!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 04, 2008 1:11 AM GMT
    mickeytopogigio saidIs there value in being choosy, or is the choosiness a flaw?
    YES. choosiness CAN be a flaw. For instance, how can you really choose without getting to know a person? If you do get to know a person, that itself is the PROCESS of BEING a friend. So trying to weed people out by being choosy works against itself.

    In addition, when you are choosy you approach people with colored lenses anyway. You will only see what you want to see. How can you really come upon something new by applying the same formula every time?

    I say approach each person in "new discovery mode" to see what you can learn about yourself and them. I don't think you really want all your "friends" to be the same (as opposed to new and different) do you? If that were the case, you would be the only friend you ever needed and your search would end.

    I am even unsure of this expression of "making friends" Usually when YOU make something, it is to the ends of your own purpose to YOUR taste. Is that what friendship is? Perhaps I am picking on the expression a little, but maybe it is friends that make EACH OTHER.
  • Timbales

    Posts: 13993

    Jun 04, 2008 1:13 AM GMT
    I have a hard time being comfortable with men in social situations.