Coming Out to a (Closeted?) Friend

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 04, 2014 5:31 PM GMT
    I just wanted to see if people understand the reaction that I feel right now - because I feel like shit and I'll explain why:

    I've had a friend for almost three years now, and we're super close friends. We hang out all the time... and I've always thought he was bi/gay. On this new years eve, we both got wasted and did a lot of homoerotic things - spooning, cuddling, etc. But we were both drunk. We got to the point where we almost even hooked up.

    I'm starting to come out to some people, and I told this friend thinking that if he was gay/bi he would be a new hookup, and if he's straight he'd be super supportive of his best friend. But yesterday I told him - and his reaction was miniscule. He said "That's fine, I've had a lot of friends come out to me before." (I was thinking no shit because you act super gay, dude)...

    Now I feel like I messed up. I feel like I did something I shouldn't have done, maybe I should have just kept our friendship where it was and not have told him anything.

    Why do I feel bad? Is it because I got stuck in the 'straight relationship' trap that so many gay men get stuck in? Or is it because I feel like I just lost one of my friends by coming out of the closet?

    Thanks for your help, any comment is useful.
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    Jan 04, 2014 5:34 PM GMT
    He's not ready to come out and it probably made him feel awkward -- you were pointing out the obvious. Aweee were you mainly the big or little spoon?
  • MikeW

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    Jan 04, 2014 5:38 PM GMT
    Don't know but it sounds like you were hoping for a different reaction. So, how would you have preferred he respond?
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    Jan 04, 2014 5:39 PM GMT
    Big spoon....

    I didn't do anything wrong, right? I'm finally just being myself.

    @MikeW you bring up a good point. What did I want him to say? Maybe that he was gay? But you're right, how could I have expected him to say that when he's still in the closet
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    Jan 04, 2014 5:43 PM GMT
    It might be on a transition phase , don't push him , be patient and wait ...
  • MikeW

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    Jan 04, 2014 5:48 PM GMT
    claytonfrancisconi saidBig spoon....

    I didn't do anything wrong, right? I'm finally just being myself.

    @MikeW you bring up a good point. What did I want him to say? Maybe that he was gay? But you're right, how could I have expected him to say that when he's still in the closet

    Sounds a bit like you may have a crush on the guy. Can be difficult or even get messy. My advice, don't push. Just be yourself and let things take their course. Respect his boundaries the way you'd want your own respected.
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    Jan 04, 2014 5:55 PM GMT
    neffa saidIt might be on a transition phase , don't push him , be patient and wait ...


    Good advice! Yes, don't worry about it just act like nothing happened. Go back to the regular things you two would do. You didn't do anything wrong, but he sounds like he isn't comfortable with gay guys.

    Prior to being comfortable in my skin I would cringe when a gay guy came on TV and I was around other people. Jack from Will & Grace scared me. Now I view him as the perfect comic relief to a great sitcom.

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    Jan 04, 2014 5:59 PM GMT
    You're also young don't put so much pressure on yourself. You'll have plenty of boyfriends, if that's what you want. You'll be able to look back on this one day and realize you shouldn't have stressed out.
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    Jan 04, 2014 8:15 PM GMT
    It's about him not you. He doesn't want to be dragged out of the closet with you. To be honest, his reaction could have been worse than indifferent.

    What about asking if he would want to go to a gay bar with you as "moral support"?
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    Jan 04, 2014 8:28 PM GMT
    I have a coworker friend who for many years I never thought was a closet case. Although others said they thought he was I dismissed that. But there were many red flags and towards the end (the end being me retiring) there was an incident that really surprised me and I finally came to the conclusion that he very likely is a closet case. I never had any interest in him sexually, and emotionally only as a coworker friend; very different from the myriad guys I've known who were hot and I wanted them to be gay. As did the rest of my coworkers this guy knows I'm gay. His parents are very religious. For a while I was wondering if he'd realize he's gay but I've finally accepted that he's very firmly embedded in the closet and I shouldn't ever expect any change.

    Not sure how this relates to your situation other than to say that closet cases just are, and it's never fruitful to do something hoping that it will get them to see the light. And there's no reason why you being out to him should affect your friendship.
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    Jan 04, 2014 9:10 PM GMT
    His reaction of indifference, in addition to the aforementioned acts of drunken intimacy, are very likely indicators that he's closeted and not ready to acknowledge his sexuality. But that's not to say he has rejected you as a friend, and you can't tell yourself that you messed up. You did the honest thing and you came clean with it. It is not your responsibility to coddle him or facilitate his continued self-denial by maintaining the status quo.

    That said, the best thing to do at this point is to just take it easy. Just be how you usually are around him: show him that you're still the same person. If he withdraws from you, or changes his behavior in a negative way, then that's all the more indication that he's really not ready to deal with it, and you have to just move on. It sounds to me like you have feelings for him, and that you were hoping to have more than a friendship with him. Don't exclude that possibility yet, but don't count on it happening anytime soon, if ever.

    One of the most common pitfalls of early coming out experiences is that some of the people we tell are those we are attracted to. Naturally, we sometimes conflate coming out with asking out. And the danger with this is that it can be traumatic and counterproductive if we tell a guy in the hopes they might like us, but if we get shot down, those feelings of rejection get intermixed with the already tumultuous situation of telling others about our sexual orientation. And you have to think about how tough it is on the other guy: surely it is not easy to let someone down while trying to be supportive of the confidence being placed in him.

    The worst that could happen is that you discover that he's a jerk for repressing his own sexuality and making you a victim of that collateral damage. In that case, you move on; your life will be better without self-loathing people in it, as any healthy relationship needs a minimum level of comfort with one's own identity. The best that could happen is that after an initial period of awkwardness, he miraculously sees the light, comes out to you, and you two become an item. The most likely outcome is somewhere in between. The only way to find out is to let it unfold.
  • tuffguyndc

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    Jan 05, 2014 2:33 AM GMT
    I am sorry but did I miss something? If I read right your friend said that was fine with you being gay. As far as I can tell. Why are you upset? The problem is that you came out to this guy because you assumed he was gay. When he did not return your fantasy you got all depressed and sad. Dude, stop being a little bitch. He ain't gay/bi. If he is he will come out when he is ready.
  • tuffguyndc

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    Jan 05, 2014 2:35 AM GMT
    MikeW said
    claytonfrancisconi saidBig spoon....

    I didn't do anything wrong, right? I'm finally just being myself.


    Sounds a bit like you may have a crush on the guy. Can be difficult or even get messy. My advice, don't push. Just be yourself and let things take their course. Respect his boundaries the way you'd want your own respected.
    What he said is very good advice
  • LJay

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    Jan 05, 2014 2:49 AM GMT
    Sounds like you did OK. He did not reject you.

    Just let him be himself. Try to stay friendly and help him to be comfortable. What more could either one of you ask?
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    Jan 05, 2014 6:57 AM GMT
    Sounds like you are homophobic. You are afraid of being gay and it's consequences .
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    Jan 05, 2014 7:27 AM GMT
    Two things might happen, based on my personal experience that is sort of similar to yours.

    1) Your friend is going to distance himself from you for some time.

    This may happen regardless of whether your friend is straight/bi/gay, and that is because of all the intimate things you guys did together. When I came out to one of my straight friends who I used to work out with, I felt as though he hated me behind my back and did not realize what was upsetting him so much until I confronted him about it. His explanation was that he felt used and betrayed because he couldn't get past the number of times we changed clothes/showered in front of each other under his assumption that I was 100% straight. I noticed the same type of reaction, though mostly in lesser extreme, from my other straight guy friends who I've came out to. However, there were also others whose behaviours around me did not change at all since I came out to them. Note that I used the word "might" up there, instead of "will".

    2) Eventually, there will come a time where one of you guys will decide to settle this for good either directly (e.g. confrontation) or indirectly (e.g. behaviours that resonate with the past), or simply move on and become more distant from each other.

    You described your friend as someone you are pretty close with, and I get the feeling that you don't want to lose him as a friend. I find a lot of people can be more passive than they seem to be, especially when it comes to dealing with an unusual, awkward situation. With that said, you shouldn't confront him right away. If he seems like he's trying to distance himself from you, then give him some time to rethink things over. Putting him under pressure will cause him to act rashly, which you may respond to by acting rashly as well. To be more specific, I'd say give him at least a month before you approach him with an intent to settle the problem.

    Once you've waited and he hasn't made an attempt to reach out to you out of his own will, just send him a short email message or a text describing your intent to talk about this problem in a non-aggressive, open-minded manner. Even as you are talking to him face-to-face, try not to be aggressive or jump to conclusion. Listen to him completely, and encourage him to go on if he seems to be cutting himself short.

    I've lost some of the closest friends I've had from my childhood after coming out to them, and a big part of it is my fault due to the lack of empathy and patience I've displayed to my friends when I had to resort to confrontation. Those incidents happened years ago, but they still haunt me to this day, and, to me, they are some of the most painful memories I know I will never forget. Right now, it seems like you are pretty worked up about this; as such, I would personally recommend you to be passive and avoid any kind of interaction that can evoke aggressive and irrational behaviour. Give yourself, not just your friend, some time to cool down your feelings and rash thoughts. While communication is important, patience is still the key to an effective, mutually benefiting communication.

    Before finishing off, I also want to add that I think you did the best thing you could have done in your situation. The truth is, we live in a small world, and it is likely that he will have found out about your sexuality sooner or later without your "contribution". If he ends up finding out on his own, and even vaguely recalls the intimate moments you guys have shared on NYE, he may falsely accuse you of exploiting him in his vulnerable moment and resent you past the point of forgiving. But, fortunately, you told him yourself before others could, so I honestly believe that you have done the best you can (for now) to save your friendship with him.

    I hope everything goes well between you and your friend. Feel free to shoot me a question if you have one or two, or more lol.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 05, 2014 9:41 AM GMT
    I don't think you lost a friend necessarily.
    Has he stopped wanting to spend time with you all of a sudden?

    Sometimes some people try to be a little tactile and so maybe he thought that if he gave you a non-surprised reaction, you would feel comfortable and okay for coming out to him.
    His execution might have been a little off but he might have meant well.
    Or maybe because you thought it was going to be such a huge reaction that when it wasn't, you felt a little let down?

    From what he says, I don't think you've lost a friend but the tone will make the difference I suppose.
    You have to see how his body language is now that you have come out to him.
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    Jan 05, 2014 1:17 PM GMT
    When I came out to my brother. He said:" OK" and that was it. No applause, no terrifying questions, nothing. And nothing changed at all. He is the same guy he was before.

    Some people just don't care if you're gay or straight. And thus they don't see it as such a big thing as it might seem to you.

    Anyway give it some time and you'll see if you're actually losing a friend or not.

    And next time you mention cuddling and spooning: attach pictures!!!
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    Jan 05, 2014 1:31 PM GMT
    Well atleast now he knows!!!!! Who knows he might still be gay!!!!! but dnt waste your feelings on him.
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    Jan 05, 2014 1:37 PM GMT
    Give it time. He clearly wasn't offended or freaked when you came out. Maintain the friendship, that's what's most important.

    As you guys continue to hang out, it's possible that he'll open up more to you. Or he may not. His call. not yours.

    But keep the friendship.
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    Jan 05, 2014 2:02 PM GMT
    Just because you came out doesn't mean he is ready to.

    You can't force him, and as his friend you shouldn't even try. Let him come out on his own terms.

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    Jan 05, 2014 11:33 PM GMT
    I don't think you messed up. He said he's fine with it. Maybe he's not gay? Either way, you respected him and he respected you. It's not like you're not speaking to each other anymore or he acts weird around you now.
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    Jan 06, 2014 12:03 AM GMT
    MikeW said
    claytonfrancisconi saidBig spoon....

    I didn't do anything wrong, right? I'm finally just being myself.

    @MikeW you bring up a good point. What did I want him to say? Maybe that he was gay? But you're right, how could I have expected him to say that when he's still in the closet

    Sounds a bit like you may have a crush on the guy. Can be difficult or even get messy. My advice, don't push. Just be yourself and let things take their course. Respect his boundaries the way you'd want your own respected.


    Mike W is spot on here in both of his comments.
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    Jan 06, 2014 12:43 AM GMT
    Also, he may not be gay -- I know my close male friends and I did some pretty out there stuff when we were in our early 20s. To an outsider, could have been perceived as gay, but we were just comfortable, affectionately horsing around. I also recognize how awkward it made me feel because of the mixed emotions of being close friends and sexually into other possibilities.