Auntie SparkNotes: My Friend Came Out For Me
This all started three years ago when I made a friend. But is it ever that simple? As I grew as a person, she just sorta remained herself. Okay. However, some extra-odd behavior began a year or so ago, when she told me she loved me.
That shouldn't really be a big deal, because we're friends and all, but she made it one. Nevertheless... okay. Then she revealed that she writes her diary to me. Okay. Then she gave me some diary pages and offered me a multitude of accessories boasting the quote "to the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world". Okay?
Because of all of this weirdness I had been a little bit wary of her for a while, still remaining friends, but also remaining on my guard. She went over the edge when she began to cut herself, which she is getting help for now. Okay! Enough is enough, I told myself, she can't put herself through any more emotional trauma. Until today, when my fears were realized.
During class, one of our mutual friends told us that he is in a bit of a pickle with a girl. He wants to be more than friends, whereas she does not. Simple enough. Then she leaned over and whispered something to him. Secrets, eh? After class I told her that it bugged me that they were being secretive. She then proceeded to tell me that she was in the same position with me as our friend was with his girl, if that makes any sense... basically, she came out FOR ME.
All the rest of the day I was shaking and felt physically ill. I am NOT a lesbian! I LOVE MEN! I don't want to hurt her, but I have to get my point across without passing out. I hate that this is happening. The last thing I want is for her to hurt herself because of me, and I don't want to just abandon her, but there is no way that I'm bowing down to her whims in exchange for my values, feelings and own self!
Please help! I have no idea what to do! Should I ignore her? Tell her mom? Just tell her off and walk away?
Oh, definitely that last one. I mean, really—how dare this girl have a crush on you? The nerve of her! It's horrifying! It's ghastly! It's the most upsetting information ever!
...That you, um, basically gave her no choice but to tell you when you confronted her and demanded the truth. And honestly, y'all, this letter is more or less a perfect encapsulation of How Not to Behave When Your Friend Comes Out to You.
Also, How Not to Behave When Someone Confesses a Crush to You.
Also, How Not to Behave, Ever, Period.
Because despite your best efforts to portray your friend's behavior as some bizarre, horrifying assault on the very fabric of your being, she's really not "odd," "weird," or demanding that you "bow down to her whims." She's just a teenage girl who pursued her crush in the hopes that something might come of it.
It's just her bad luck, and yours, that the crush happens to be unrequited.
But that's all it is: bad luck, and really not a big deal. Which is not to say that her artless fawning and gushy diary-writing weren't awkward; it's always awkward when you have to reject a friend who has obviously fallen for you and can't seem to take a hint. But what you're doing in response—dismissing her struggle, demonizing her for being honest, and making this all about you and your revulsion at being liked by her—is so much worse. Not because it reeks of homophobia, but because you're treating another human being's interest in you like some sort of disgusting insult.
Which, for the record, is really, really mean. (To understand just how mean, imagine how you'd feel if this letter was written about you by somebody you liked and considered a friend. Ouch.) In fact, it would be just as mean if your friend were a guy... except that when a guy shows interest in you that you don't return, I'm guessing you don't freak out, feel physically ill, and start panicking about how best to tell him off or whether to call his mom.
More likely, you just take it in stride and say, "I'm flattered, but I don't like you that way." (And then, if he still doesn't back off, you recognize that the friendship isn't a friendship at all and distance yourself accordingly.)
And that's all you need to do in this case—or rather, all you would have needed to do if your friend weren't already so clearly aware that you don't return her feelings. Because, y'know, that was kind of the whole point of her comment. You realize that, right? Which means that all you need to do, actually, is not be a jerk about it. Please. Thank you.
Have you ever had a friend crush on you? Share your story in the comments! And to get advice from Auntie, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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