I'm bi and interested in my friend

Dear Alice,

I am a 19 year old female, and I am bisexual. I haven't come out of the closet yet, but I have told one really trustworthy friend. I am really afraid to come out of the closet because I know that my family will never accept it. That and one of my friends, I sort of like but I would never do anything to make her feel uncomfortable. So I haven't told her yet either. What do I do? I hate this whole being in the middle thing. She is really a great person and I can totally understand if she doesn't have the same feelings I do about her but I would really like to tell her the way I feel with out ruining our friendship if I did tell her. I know it's a rock and a hard place but do you have any advice for me? It would really be appreciated.

Dear Reader,

Talking with friends or family about your sexuality can be scary, especially if you're afraid they won't accept you for who you are. It's great you have a trustworthy friend on your side as you begin the process of coming out. If you're nervous, a friend can help you plan what you want to say when you come out to someone. S/he can also help you weather the storm if responses aren't what you hoped for and celebrate with you when things do go well.

You say you want to tell another friend that you have feelings for her without making her uncomfortable. The conversation may feel uncomfortable or awkward; it can be hard to tell anyone you're interested in them. It may even be more challenging to say that kind of thing to someone of the same gender. Do you have a sense of how she feels about queer issues in general? Maybe you could have a conversation about same-sex marriage or a movie with a queer plot to see where she stands before you tell her about your feelings.

It sounds as if you respect your friend a great deal and would be understanding of whatever response she gave you. Maybe you could start by telling her that. You could also share just what you wrote: you think she's a great person, and you don't want to ruin your friendship. Then, you could tell her that you feel attracted to her and aren't sure what to do. It would probably help to give her a little time to think about what you've told her, without pressing for a response. If she feels confused or uncomfortable, is there someone in the community or a friend you both trust from whom she could get more information about sexuality or with whom she could share her feelings?

If you are really struggling with these feelings, it's possible she can sense that something is making you uncomfortable. Maybe she would feel better knowing what it was. If she doesn't share your feelings, it's possible that just having the conversation and knowing where she stands will help you get over your feelings and may even improve your friendship. Most friendships tend to do better when they are based on honesty and open communication.

Coming out can be tough, especially coming out to someone you like. But, most LGBTQ people say that the more people they come out to, the easier it gets. Most people also say they are happier when they don't feel they have to hide all the time. If you respect your friend's response to your feelings, and she cares about you as a friend, hopefully your friendship can weather a potentially tough conversation. Putting yourself in the vulnerable position of sharing your feelings could bring you closer, if nothing else, as friends.

Last updated Jun 17, 2015
Originally published Aug 11, 2006

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