So your bestie just came out to you...emphasise on the 'so' because seriously, so what!
Personally I was around 15 when one of my best girl friends sat me down for "the talk". Although I don't remember all of the details (because so much time has passed) I do remember her telling me that she hadn't wanted to keep her sexuality a secret from me, that she had been aware of her preferences for some time now, and most of all that she really hoped this wouldn't change things between us, but she understood it if did.
Commence the "so what" portion of this article. I remember being completely dumbstruck, not because my bestie had just confirmed she was a lesbian, that was fine, cool even; no I was dumbstruck because she was sitting there terrified that this discussion would somehow change, or terminate, our friendship. For me there was no question that we would remain friends, after all I really didn't see how her liking girls would affect our relationship, but her sincere fear of rejection taught me that not everyone shares this same "so what" attitude.
Let me first state that I understand that it can be an adjustment, and a surprise, when your gal pal tells you she 'swings for the opposite team' or however you want to phrase it. I get that there's a lot to consider, for instance, do you still change in front of each other and talk about your sex lives? Most daunting of all, how do you convince yourself that she's not sexually attracted to you or looking at you in a sexual way? With that being said though, I really don't think it should be that big of a deal, after all this is your friend we are talking about, not a random stranger at a bar.
The thing I get stuck on when people try to justify why they aren't okay with their friend being gay, lesbian, bisexual, etc. is this: if you have maintained a friendship up until now then you already know you enjoy the individual, you have a routine, or defining features of your relationship, and until the moment your friend came out to you there was never any mention or attempts of sexuality between the two of you, so why would you assume that your friends outlook on you and your friendship has changed all of a sudden? In my mind it's the same as having a purely platonic friend of the opposite sex. I mean logically your male friend could be looking at your butt when you're wearing your favourite leggings, or contemplating ways to get you in bed, or in a relationship, every time your hands brush while sitting on the sofa watching a movie, but if it's a platonic friendship then you really don't spend all that much time worrying about those things unless he does something specific to make you question his intentions (like getting drunk and telling you he loves you, or holding a hug a little too long). With that line of thinking why can't we view our lesbian or bi female friends in the same way? If they continue treating, and acting, the same way towards us and don't do anything specific to cause us to question their intentions then they're a friend - almost like 'innocent until proven guilty' but in this case 'not interested until proven otherwise'.
I guess my overall point is that if you're put in the position where a friend comes out to you just try to remember the following:
- Your friend has known about their sexual preferences for some time now, most certainly for longer then you have, and yet she has continued to treat your relationship the same and managed not to raise any red flags that indicated she might be sexually attracted to you.
- Considering the fact that while you were "in the dark" about her sexual preferences you weren't aware of any changes or red flags in your relationship it's most likely that any awkwardness that occurs after being let in on the secret is coming from you, not her.
- Her telling you this shows how much she cares about your friendship and how much she respects and trusts you as a person.
- If she was sexually attracted to you there's a pretty good chance she would have already made a move or would use her coming out as a way to ask if you're also interested in her that way - if she hasn't done this then go ahead and assume she's not interested in you in that way.
- It may take time to adjust and wrap your mind around the change but try to continue to treat the friendship the same way you always have.
- If you have concerns or questions then simply ask for clarification. Similarly, if there are things you no longer feel comfortable doing together then verbally acknowledge them so she's not left fumbling around trying to figure out what makes you uncomfortable.
In closing I want to re-state that in my opinion no matter what your friends sexual preferences are you should not let them impact the amazing friendship you have/do share! True friendships are way too hard to find to allow a little thing like sexuality to come between you, plus it's 2017, LGBTQ rights and awareness is on the rise and has been well established over the years, essentially I'm saying, "so what" your best friends not 'straight', she's still your best friend.