So you have a gay friend who is into you, and you want to get rid of the romantic flavor, but not of the friendship. It is understandable that gays find straights irresistible, because even heteros find them irresistible!
And it is pretty common, if not normal, for a friend to want to be more than just friends with someone they’re attracted to. [Read: 6 easy ways to know if she’s a lesbian]
It’s not surprising to hear stories about gay men or lesbians falling deeply in love with their straight best buds. The truth is… *drum roll please*, love knows no orientation. In fact, being in this kind of situation is always tough no matter what gender it is coming up to you.
Whatever is at stake may not be as high as having to lick wounds of rejection, but surely the feeling of being so close to losing someone who is considerably a part of yourself will be definitely as painful.
For starters, if you are in this kind of scenario, I have to say that you obviously value your friendship even if you have no plans of returning their feelings. The fact that your friend belongs to the rainbow team and you don’t, yet you guys are good friends, shows that you certainly made a commendable stand by simply befriending him or her. High five for being such a good mate!
Alright, so how do you really break it to them gently? *insert CD: Break it to Me Gently by Brenda Lee* How can you politely turn down a friend without causing any more pain than necessary? Come to think of it, is there really a painless way to break somebody’s heart? *change CD: James Ingram, There’s No Easy Way To Break Somebody’s Heart* But seriously speaking, if loving someone is never easy, loving someone who happens to be your friend, and worse, who happens to be straight is twice as bad as being run over by a truck. It already takes a lot of courage to “wear your heart on your sleeve” despite knowing that the feeling may not be mutual. So, try to take it easy and cut your friend some slack!
How can you turn down a gay friend who’s into you?
WARNING: Be definite about the attraction; make sure you are not just surmising the wrong signals. Just because your friend is gay, doesn’t necessarily mean he or she is automatically into you.
#1 Don’t lie your friend away. Yes, you can turn your gay friend down by telling them a bunch of lies, a symphony of fabricated facts hoping that it would make the situation less embarrassing than it looks. But this can only work to a certain extent. The decision to lie your way out of the awkward circumstance could be fuelled by many things, say for example, you don’t want to upset your friend or you don’t want to sound offensive or you can’t think of anything else to say.
So out of thin air, you might start blurting, “You know what dude, I want to be an astronaut and live in the outer space so perhaps I shouldn’t do relationships here on earth” or “I just had a bad breakup so I prefer to be alone and listen to Taylor Swift” or maybe “I am sorry buddy but I plan on entering the seminary, care to join?”
However, if you go down this path, you will sooner or later feel accountable for upsetting your friend. Eventually you are going to be caught, and then everything will be worse than an epic nightmare. After this, you will feel gauche towards them, then you will have one less friend instantly.
#2 Don’t bury your head in the sand. While you could save yourself from having to face the status quo by ignoring your friend’s confession, this alternative will in due course generate tension in your friendship. You owe it to your friendship to address the issue the best way you can.
Do not be mistaken that by acting standoffish, you are actually doing them a favor. At best, you are even making things difficult for your friend. The silent treatment won’t work in this scenario. [Read: Why do some men feel uncomfortable around gay men?]
What’s the best approach to turning down a gay friend’s approach?
Nothing beats plain honesty. Bear in mind however that since you are about to rebuff a person, no matter how you do it, it is still going to hurt like hell. Nevertheless, you can reduce the throbbing and save the friendship by applying the following, to wit:
#1 Take a deep breath and try to relax a bit. If your friend should confess that he or she wants more than just a platonic form of love, you might want to stop for about half a minute to absorb and process the information. But do not be quiet for too long, as your friend might assume that you couldn’t care less.
#2 Be level headed in this situation. Consider the things you would do or feel if you were on the other side of the boat. You don’t want to sound and look cocky by immediately uttering inappropriate words or reacting too strongly. Keep in mind that the person who is attracted to you is the same friend you had five minutes ago, and that person has not changed at all. Do not let your emotions get the best of you. Stay calm and try to make sense of what is happening.
#3 Sit your friend down for a private conversation. You wouldn’t want to embarrass your friend in public and at the same time make a fool out of yourselves, would you? Making things private doesn’t mean that you are ashamed of what you just learned, but on the contrary, it demonstrates that you care about your friend and you don’t want everybody to make a big deal out of his or her feelings.
#3 Apply the sandwich approach. Begin by saying that you feel flattered that your friend finds you attractive and you appreciate the honesty. Express all the things you like about your friend, whether it’s their unwavering loyalty, their patience with you or the fact that you can talk about anything and everything under the sun.
After this, spill the beans and let them know that you are straight and you cannot do intimate relationships with those of the same sex. Be gentle but drive the point home enough. This is the most difficult part, but drop it flat out politely but firmly. Be careful not to send the wrong message by sounding like a homophobe. Stress that you respect your friend’s orientation, but you simply don’t share it.
#4 Make your friend understand that it is okay and that this newfound openness doesn’t bother you in any way. Insist that they don’t have to feel ill at ease about it, and that you would really like to maintain your friendship. Speak in a compassionate manner while saying this and mean it with all your heart. If you opt to, tell them that you want to stay close friends.
#5 Give them hope, but not for you. Reassure them that the perfect person is out there waiting. Just because your friend got rejected by you, doesn’t mean he or she is unlovable. There are tons of guy and gals out there who would chop off their left arm for a chance to be with someone as awesome as your friend!
#6 If your friend is insistent, reiterate that you would really appreciate it if they will respect your decision and your friendship. Otherwise, do not hesitate to use your middle finger! Kidding! In this case, it may be best to give him or her the time to absorb everything. [Read: How to effectively turn down a friend who’s into you]
Just because your friend is gay and also happens to be in love with you, doesn’t mean you have to end your friendship. After all the fuss is over, you can one day look back at this incident and just laugh about it.
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