I have a bit of a dilemma. You see, I am gay. I've know I'm gay for a while, and I've come to accept it. However, my problem is that I have a crush on my friend who is the same gender as I am.
And to make matters worse, she told me she has a crush on a boy. This hurts me because she always seems to lead me on. She will flirt with me, and tease me all the time. She goes out of her way to touch me, and she is always smiling at me. She has even told me that she has feelings for a teacher who is female! What I don't understand is why she is claiming she likes this boy when she flirts with me and has feelings for a female teacher. Should I ignore her until my feelings pass? Should I pursue them? Please help!
Ooh! OOOH! You guys, this is a great example of why it's always good, if you send Auntie a letter, to do it from an active email address whose inbox you check regularly—because when I got to the end of this one, much as I wanted to dive into an answer right away, I was also like, "But... but... but does this girl even know that the letter-writer is gay?"
And because this letter-writer is a smart and conscientious letter-writer, I was able to email her back and ask her, and she replied right away, saying, "No, she doesn't."
And given that she doesn't know, here's the deal: before you jump to the conclusion that your friend is flirting and teasing and actively trying to mess with your head, it's a good idea to ask yourself whether—particularly in the absence of any other evidence that she's a malicious, manipulative person who delights in others' emotional torment—she might just be confused and clueless and working through her own shizz, in total ignorance of how her behavior is affecting you.
Because hey, maybe she likes girls. And hey, maybe she likes guys, too. But more likely, she's not exactly sure who she likes, or how, and is expressing her feelings to someone close to her in an effort to figure things out. As someone who's already gone through the process of figuring out and accepting her sexual orientation, surely you can empathize with that. And as much as what she's doing might bother you, it's almost certainly not about you.
Meanwhile, as frustrated and confused as you feel about your friend's seemingly mixed messages, consider this: you have infinitely more information about her feelings than she does about yours. I mean, for all your friend knows, you're straight, and all the "flirting" she's doing is nothing more than platonic affection. And before you start wondering whether you have a chance with your crush, maybe you should give her a chance to be your friend—if that's what she is—by giving her the information she needs to treat you like one.
Of course, if you have any reason not to trust this girl, or to think that you can't come out to her safely, then that's something else. But from here, it just looks like she's opening up to you while you keep hiding from her... and making yourself miserable in the process.
In other words: trust her, the way she's trusted you. Tell her you're gay, and see what happens. If you're feeling especially brave, tell her how you feel. And, most importantly, see if she starts treating you any differently when she knows what her words and actions might mean to you.
Have you ever gotten mixed messages from a friend? Share your experience in the comments! And to get advice from Auntie, email her at email@example.com.
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