Hey, you seem to give good advice a lot of the time so I figure you might be able to help me. I’m 21 years old and have been out for about a year. All of my friends were completely cool about my coming out, and I guess it was a relatively seamless process. Didn’t lose any friends or anything like that. But at the same time I’m still feeling pretty alone though. I don’t have a single gay friend. Not one. And as much as I enjoy hanging out with my straight friends, it seems like I always end up being the token gay one who’s not going to meet anyone, ever, because we always seem to go places where there are no gay people. The constant 5th wheel. One of my friends has said she’s willing to go to a gay bar with me, but I would kind of just feel awkward about the whole thing. I don’t know why; I can’t really put it into words.
At the same time that I guess my shyness is keeping me from meeting any other gay people, I feel / know that my life needs to change. I need to get out there somehow and start meeting people or I’ll end up spending my life alone. I’ve had a few flings with guys, but nothing serious. It’s not even the sex that’s what’s important right now. I just want the community, a sense of belonging somewhere and not being the odd one out if you understand what I mean. i just have no idea how to get started. So, this sounds really silly but my question is, how do I make gay friends? Sorry if that just made me sound a little retarded. Ha.
Thanks for writing in. Well, I think there’s a number of things you can do, if you want to get more involved in the Gay community. I hate to think of you out there, openly Gay with no like-minded friends to share the experience. Since there seems to be Gay bars near you, I’m assuming you’re in a metropolitan setting, or at least a college town? You should be able to do a quick Google search to find some LGBT groups near you that meet up in person at least once a week.
The other thing is – go out with your Straight friends that are offering to take you out. Yeah, it might be awkward at first, but consider this: they want the opportunity to support you and help you make Gay friends, so you might as well take it. And, while being Gay doesn’t completely define who you are, it is a large chunk of you. Your friends are curious about that side of you, and you’d do well to expose them to it.
The bar scene is not for everyone, so don’t get frustrated if you feel like an outsider, or if people seem a little aggressive, weird, or coarse. People act surly sometimes when they’re drinking. There should be lots of other, sober minded activities for LGBT people near you. I know in New York there’s Gay Kickball and Gay Dodgeball, amongst other things.
My main advice is this – get out there. Be gregarious. Also, stay friendly and upbeat. When I meet someone who seems ‘over it’ or sour, it’s a real turn off. Also, if you meet someone you’d like to become friends with, ask them to hang out with you at a later date. Make it clear you just want to be friends, but ask them to lunch, or shopping, or a movie. You get the idea. More than anything, this just takes the guts to walk up to someone who looks like they might be interesting, and say ‘hi.’
You can do it. Be brave, Martin.