Readers Are Spellbound & Perplexed…
Dear GWBW — Our 15 year old son has a very close buddy who recently came out as gay. My son is fine with this, but says his friend has told him he is developing a crush on him. How can my son tell his good friend he’s not gay and not hurt his feelings? — Happy Not Gay
Dear Happy Not Gay,
Good job. How great is your son? He seems to be a sensitive and real friend. This gives me hope that their friendship is built on the same kind of openness and acceptance he exhibits. From there — it’s all about the snails and oysters — encourage your son young Antoninus to be (no pun intended) straight up truthful with his friend. “Crassus, I love you as a buddy but it’s never gonna happen Like That because on that field, we’re not playing on the same team.” Let the conversation flow naturally (which going by my brother’s convos with his crew when we were teens, should be all worked out in about six mumbles and two grunted Uh huhs). No worries from me. Sounds like your son has his friend’s interests at heart and knows how to empathize not sympathize. Labels are for clothes not relationships. Back him up, ‘rents.
True friendship ascends,
Dear Happy Not Gay,
So, your son…your son’s friend…so why are you writing us? Sounds like this is an honest conversation between your son and his friend. Are you jumping in the middle because you’re uncomfortable? Mom, Dad, you’ll just have to let this one run its course, but if you need some help on wisdom-filled parental advice…
There is a difference between romantic feelings and platonic friendships, no matter the closeness of the friendship. You know if you are attracted to someone romantically or not. And just as your son may befriend a girl he does not want to be romantically linked to, so he can have male friends he is not interested in romantically.
The key to having the friendship endure past all these revelations is honesty. He must let his friend know with no uncertain terms that their bro-mance will never be a romance, however, he values the friendship, is undeterred by the friends change in orientation and looks forward to moving forward, as friends.
There may be a need for some time and space before things can get back to balanced, but your son must realize that with this revelation, things will never be exactly the same. It is always a bit awkward when one friend admits feelings for another, and another admits to a lack of feelings. It is possible to get back to communing as friends, but wounded feelings must heal. As a parent, all you can do is be there for good advice and loving, unwavering support. From there, your son is going to have to step out into the world and make or break his relationships all on his own.
Might as well let him start now.
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