How to be a better friend to someone you suspect is in the closet

Gil Cadiz

Coming out of the closet is a very personal process. You don’t force someone you think is in it to come out of it. If you think you’re doing the person a favor by doing that, you’re wrong. You’re being a douche.

Here’s how you can be a better friend to someone in your squad, class or office who you suspect is a member of the rainbow community but not quite ready just yet to come out into the open anytime soon.

1. Stop the parinig.

If you think it’s funny when you utter remarks hinting at what you’re suspecting, it’s not. You’re being plain cruel. They have valid reasons as to why they keep mum about their sexuality – fear, anxiety, confusion, family issues and other reasons only they would know.

2. Don’t taunt them.

“Just for laughs” remarks at their expense is not cool at all. The more you make fun of their not admitting what you believe they are, the more you give them reason not to trust you with any sensitive information and the more you’ll drive them far back into the closet.

3. Don’t spread gossip.

When a friend or an acquaintance starts speculating about someone else’s sexuality, don’t fan the flames by taking part in it. If you get asked the questions, “Bakla ba yun?” or “Tibo ba yun?”, you can simply say, “I don’t know, but it really doesn’t matter.” Gently educate them that, for everyone’s sake, it’s best to leave the person be.

4. Don’t ask the “are you?” question.

Ambushing them with the “are you gay?” question especially within earshot of other people is blatant thoughtlessness. You’re compelling them to speak about something they’re not comfortable speaking to anyone about. That’s traumatizing. You must respect their, and in fact, everyone’s manner and timeline for doing things that concern nobody but themselves.

Nothing but pride on my mind. 🌈

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5. Don’t compare them to others who are out.

What your “closeted” friend is going through is different from the experiences of other people who have already come out, so even if your intention in comparing him or her to others who are out is good, it’s actually not helpful. You’re just adding to your friend’s stress levels. Unsolicited advice is nothing but an annoyance.

6. Earn their trust.

You can open up to your friend about something you’re personally struggling with. By sharing your honest thoughts with them, you make them realize that other people are dealing with personal issues that are perhaps as heavy as their own. Make them feel that you trust them and that you’re somebody they can trust in return. If they feel your sincerity, they’d be comfortable to open up to you about their innermost thoughts.

thanks @vnpc_photography ang ganda. love it! #pride #winningentry #pridemanila

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7. Make them feel accepted even if they have yet to come out.

Let your friend know your stand against homophobia, but not in a contrived way; otherwise, they’ll think that you’re doing it just to coax them out of the closet. Just keep it real and natural. The truthfulness of your words and actions will give them the assurance that you accept and support the LGBTQ community and that you’re an all-around awesome ally.

Happy Pride Month!!!

Banner image from: instagram.com/iamgem22 and instagram.com/demisonmerces

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