How to Put Yourself Out There: A Queer Guide to Making Friends
Making friends is never easy, especially if you feel like you don't belong in your city's local queer scene.
We all know dating is tough, but it’s nearly impossible when you’re removed from the local queer scene. If you don’t feel like you have a chosen family of queer friends, let alone know any other LGBTQ+ people in your town, then you might need to shift priorities. Before attempting to find a partner, you should try to become part of the local gay scene and do your best to meet other queers.
Here are some tips for the more introverted queer folks to help put yourself out there.
1. Respond to invites
I’m guilty of this. You complain about not having friends, but anytime someone invites you to something, you find any excuse to get yourself out of it. So, respond to invites, and be open to the experiences!
2. Let your friends introduce you
Your friends always have other friends, and it’s not the worst thing in the world to let them introduce you to someone else. It’s likely you’ll get along with them because you share a mutual friend, and you may find yourself with a group of close friends faster than you know it.
3. Join a queer group/sports team/meet-up
Ideally, you’d like to join a group of queer people who share common interests. Maybe that’s a sport, singing, or playing video games. It can be anything! There are a number of sites that have specific gay meet-ups, but honestly, go ahead and just Google your interest, city, and type gay next to it, and see what pops up.
4. Go at least three times
Okay, the first time you actually go and meet up with a gay group/sports team will likely be painfully awkward, and you might not meet that many people (or anyone). It’s incredibly scary to go to a new place where you don’t know anyone and ask a bunch of strangers to be your friend. So give it time. If by the third time, you still feel like you haven’t met anyone you click with, then you can quit. But don’t be discouraged after one mediocre experience.
Meh. I’m hesitant to put this on here, but if you live in a town with a limited gay scene, this is likely your best option to meet other queer people. While most people on Grindr are looking for a more casual sexual encounter, there are still plenty of people just looking to connect platonically. This is even more true in smaller towns (because people are in the same exact situation that you’re in). Just go ahead and write on your profile that you’re looking to make friends.
6. Chat groups/forums
Let’s say you can’t find any other people in your town who are queer and have similar interests. This is one of the million reasons why the internet exists: to help you connect with others around the globe. Hop on Reddit—they pretty much have a queer discussion dedicated to every topic imagineable. If you don’t find what you want to talk about, go ahead and create your own group!
7. Go to gay bars (and be open-minded)
I know how scary it is to go to a gay bar alone, especially if you’re not the outgoing, "YAS QUEEN, WORK BITCH" type of gay. But if you go and simply exist in that space a couple of times, even without saying anything, people will start to recognize and talk to you. You don’t even need to drink. Just go ahead and have a Pepsi and watch a drag show. (Also, here are 9 tips to going to a gay bar alone.)
8. Remember: beggars can’t be choosers
Hear me out. I’m not saying you should be friends with someone just because they’re the only other gay guy in your town. Obviously, if they're annoying, off-putting, or hostile, don’t be friends with them. That said, I think that as long as they’re kind and their heart is in the right place, go ahead and overlook some minor flaws about their personality. None of us are perfect!
9. Be on the lookout
If this sounds aggressive, it’s because it is. But remember that you can meet queer people anywhere, not just in gay-specific spaces. Just like you, they go grocery shopping, go to work, head to the gym, etc. So keep your eyes peeled, and if you’re getting a queer vibe from someone, go ahead and introduce yourself.