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ComingOut

3 Signs Your Friend Is Gay and Wants to Talk About It

3 Signs Your Friend Is Gay and Wants to Talk About It

3 Signs Your Friend Is Gay and Wants to Talk About It

And how to support them if they do (hint: it really all comes down to being a good friend).

RachelCharleneL

Photo: Elijah Henderson

Pretty much anyone would tell you that friends are really important. Whether long distance or everyday besties, who we hang out with is a reflection of who we are, and our closest friends are the ones who know us even better than we know ourselves. So what happens when it seems like one of your best friends is keeping something secret?

The more I think about who I was before I came out to my best friends, the more I recognize the small things I did to let them in on what I was keeping secret. It took a year (and a relationship) for me to tell my closest friends what was going on with me, and all along I kept wishing one of them would just ask. It takes a lot of courage and bravery to step up to the plate and just say it.

Now, I notice the same sorts of things in friends of mine who are questioning their own sexualities. While none of this is foolproof — after all, the only way to know if your friend is struggling with their sexuality is to ask — it can be helpful to keep in mind to make sure your friend isn’t going it alone.

They’re suddenly withdrawn
Your usually bouncy, happy-go-lucky friend seems to have slipped into a slump. They just don’t seem to be acting like themselves, and they seem to always be holding something back.

They use “they” pronouns to talk about their hookup
You ask about their most recent hookup, or the person they’re into, and they’re exclusively using “they” pronouns in a way that feels hesitant. You’re curious about what exactly this means, and you’re wondering what’s happening. Are they keeping something secret, or just being inclusive?

They get flustered when you ask about their love life
Your friend (who is normally super open about their love and sex life) isn’t sharing nearly as much as they used to, and when they do, it seems like they’re leaving something out. It feels like you’re getting puzzle-pieces of information, but not the whole picture, and not enough clues to figure them out.

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Again: there’s no guarantee, but they may be questioning their sexuality, and may need your support.

But how do you support your friend when they don’t seem open to sharing?

Be there to listen
Make it clear to your friend that you’re there for them 100%, no matter what’s going on. At the end of the day, all of this is just about showing that you’re a good friend and someone who is supportive and open-minded who really has their back.

Ask them
Again, my biggest wish when I was struggling with figuring out my sexuality and what I wanted to do about knowing I wasn’t straight was wishing that someone would just ask. While it may seem awkward to ask, it’s also awkward to just announce to your friends that you’re gay. It’s hard to find the right time, and it’s stressful as anything. Ask your friend, so they don’t have to figure out how to tell you.

Don’t pressure them to come out
Even if your suspicions are proven (maybe you see a text from someone, or notice something’s up in a photo they’re tagged in), don’t pressure your friend to come out. Even if they decide to come out to you, they may not be ready to tell other people, like their family or acquaintances, and they may never decide to tell absolutely everyone. That’s okay. Let them figure out what works for them.

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At the end of the day, the worst case scenario is that you’re wrong about your friend being queer. But luckily, the only damage done is that you’ve proven you’re a friend who’s in it for the long haul, and who knows how to listen, be supportive, and truly care about their friend. And, no matter what your sexuality, who doesn’t want that in a friend?

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Rachel Charlene Lewis

Rachel Charlene Lewis is a writer, editor, and queer woman of color based in North Carolina. Her writing has most recently appeared in Ravishly, Hello Giggles, and elsewhere.

Rachel Charlene Lewis is a writer, editor, and queer woman of color based in North Carolina. Her writing has most recently appeared in Ravishly, Hello Giggles, and elsewhere.