I am a 47 year old gay man. I’m well educated, but there’s something I can’t understand. Why do straight people NOT want to be friends? I never flirt with them, I really like the same hobbies like games, working on cars, etc. I want to be transparent, but when I tell them right away, they disappear.
Sometimes it comes back to me that they thought I was asking them on a date if I was asking someone to go to a football game, for example. I have a lot of female friends, but what I really want is a male best friend or, heck, just a male friend, period.
Of course, everyone has their own opinion on what I should do – “join a meeting, a group, social activities and blah blah”. I’ve done all of these things, and I can’t figure out what’s wrong. I have now learned to shut up and not invite anyone to do anything.
Any suggestions would be welcome, but I’ve tried just about everything, including seeing a counselor.
— Curious in Oklahoma
The problem you have with straight men may be that they are nervous about being perceived as “gay by association” if they are friendly with you. Some may also find the concept of being friends with a gay man threatening.
Participating in group activities and going out is definitely a way to bond with others, regardless of their sexual orientation. Eventually, you will meet people and form friendships. In the meantime, appreciate your friends and ask them for their opinion too.
Help yourself before facing the difficulties of your friends
It has been a difficult pandemic for all of us. We have all experienced the constant fear of illness, job loss and the pressure to react to these stresses in prescribed ways which is not always easy. For those of us who struggle with mental health issues on our best days, it’s become a real struggle.
I have a group of friends who didn’t manage to do well. Previous issues multiplied, and their lives became pitiful mess. At the start of the pandemic, we tried to keep our spirits up with weekly Zoom outings. It helped a bit, but because my mental state was always a bit better than theirs, I was never a center of support.
As the world began to open up, we got to see each other in person, and it became clear to me that I need to distance myself from them to protect what I’ve worked so hard to maintain. Do I owe them an explanation why I can’t be with them? I’m afraid that pointing out that things aren’t right will drag them down further.
These are people I’ve known for decades, but I no longer have the energy to act as emotional support for them. I would like to leave them in the best possible shape. What should I tell them?
— Benevolent Friend from the East
Be less available when contacted. When you do, your excuse must be truthful. Say that you need time for yourself to work on your own mental health issues and will therefore be less available. You don’t have to apologize for it, or feel guilty about taking care of yourself.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or PO Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.