Teen Talk: Longtime friend says hurtful things about her sexuality

02/21/2012 12:00 AM

02/21/2012 9:58 AM

DEAR KELLY: I'm a young woman who has recently come out as bisexual. Most of my friends and family are supportive, but one friend – let's call her Princess – has said some very confusing things to me. When the homosexual topic comes up and I'm in the room, even if someone else brought it up, she'll say things like "You should go back to dating men," and ask me, "What's so wrong with men?"

Kelly, I've tried dating men! All of my relationships with them have ended badly, with both of us being hurt. I still find them attractive, but I also find women just as much so, if not more.

For the past few years, I've repressed what I've felt, for fear of being mocked and shunned. I've only just become comfortable enough with myself and my sexuality to come out, and her words hurt. I've tried telling her this, and she won't stop.

I don't understand why Princess is doing this; we've been friends for years. I can't avoid her, either, because we run in the same circles, and our families are friends as well. I'd rather not lose her as a friend, but I want the hurtful comments to stop!

– Confused

DEAR CONFUSED: Sexuality is a confusing thing. Some people struggle more than others to accept the idea of people having different feelings or beliefs. Many people believe you can just flip a switch and be more attracted to one gender than the other; they don't understand it simply doesn't work like that. Given time, some of these people will learn to accept your sexuality and others will not. While you have no control over them, you can control how you act and how you respond to what they say.

Talk with Princess one-on-one. Tell her you understand that she struggles with you being a bisexual and you hope in time she will learn to accept you as you are. Share that you don't want to lose her as a friend but her comments are offensive to you and you won't be around her anymore if she continues to say them. Let her know that any time the issue of sexuality comes up, you would appreciate if she just left your name out of the conversation.

If she says she can't hold her tongue or refuses to stop her jabs at you, stop being in the same room or same place as her. This might mean you refrain from partaking in things because she will be there, but that is a choice you have to make so you don't subject yourself to hurtful words.

Consider looking into some support groups at a local PFLAG. Coming out can be a very stressful and difficult thing, and having the right support around you is essential. Getting advice from others who've been in your shoes on how to respond to people like Princess also can be helpful.

Even if Princess finally does comes around to accept you for who you are, there always will be people like her who struggle with the idea of anything different from their own beliefs and feel it is appropriate to voice their opinions.

DEAR KELLY: What do I say to explain to my best friend's mom why I didn't choose to be in a study group at school? Last semester my friend and I were together and I did all the work because she was too busy talking to everyone and flirting with all the guys. This semester, I paired up with another girl who is a lot like me (more quiet), and my best friend's mom keeps asking me why we aren't partners anymore. I don't want my best friend as a partner again.

– Ashe

DEAR ASHE: Tell your friend's mom that you paired up with someone who has the same study skills as you and it seems to work better. You don't need to say anything negative about your friend, but you should state the truth, which is that you wanted a different partner who is more quiet than your friend.

Tell your friend's mom that you decided to try someone different this semester to see if you can improve your grade and to meet new people.

If she can't accept that answer and keeps questioning you, just tell her that you don't know exactly why things didn't work with her daughter but the new situation seems to be much better. End of story.

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