#10 Coming out to my best buddies has been nothing short of a miracle

young-manRecently, I read a tender account of a very deep and utterly appropriate friendship between two young men. They treat each other with utmost kindness, respect and appreciation. They know everything about each other. One of them is gay (but is not and has never been in a same-sex relationship) and the other is straight. The young man with the same-sex attraction treats his straight friend with impeccable propriety. And the straight young man, although knowing about his friend’s struggles, never judges him or pushes him away. To the contrary, he considers his gay friend an angel and that helps him carry through this mortal probation with dignity.

The cynical world we live in may say that such friendships exist only in crooked fairy tales. I could have also found it impossible to believe if I hadn’t had a similar deep and meaningful bond with a group of friends during my high-school years.

Good friends, good teachers

There were several of us male and female buddies that developed incredibly strong, very deep and an extremely satisfying kinship. Those were the peers who protected me from bullying by outsiders. I have always been rather different, even before I came out to them. I was top notch in every conceivable school activity except in sports. I hated sports, and I was a distant last in any competition. Yet, my schoolmates would choose me into their teams without a sliver of discrimination and with kindly expressed confidence in whatever miniscule physical capability I would muster. I have never felt pity on behalf of my friends because of my ineptness, only acceptance.

They exercised an interesting mix of love and peer pressure upon me and other members of the group. Whenever I did something that they felt right and proper, I was encouraged, commended or otherwise reassured. On the other hand, if I would do something which wasn’t considered acceptable or was simply annoying, my friends would ignore it as if it never existed and would move on to another topic. There was no harsh judgment or censure on their behalf. By giving me subtle but unequivocal signs of the group norms, I was able to quickly overcome a great deal of my quirkiness in social interactions, without frustration or guilt. My friends weren’t only good friends, but awesome teachers.

They were plain good, decent people. None of them were particularly religious, as we were living in a communist country during times of a transition from communism towards a democracy, and haven’t had a chance to be taught or shaped by a religious creed. But we still had within us fundamental moral code which guided our behavior and our choices.

Beating around the bush

I vividly remember how I came out to them. I had a crush on one of my inner circle male buddies for many years. I behaved in ways that any infatuated teenager does – a bit crazy, a bit incoherent. But my peers were tolerant beyond words with my behavior. Then as my feelings for the fellow intensified, my situation became rather unbearable. My friends felt that there was something going on with me. Two of my male friends in particular – on whom I didn’t have a crush but were especially close to – were concerned, and kept asking me about my well being. I remember having long, one-on-one conversation with each of them separately in which I kept beating around the bush, struggling to gather courage to tell them all.

I had actually planned to come out to them for couple of years. In spite of the fact that they had always been very kind, considerate and accepting, I was still afraid to reveal the innermost secrets of my heart, because I knew the revelation could not be undone and the consequence could be huge. But I also knew that the consequence of keeping it all to myself forever could be just as vast. So, I gave equal attention to both of those options. I would passionately deny myself any possibility to ever come out to anyone. But then, I would just as passionately and painstakingly arrange my coming-out plans.

That mental game went on and on. With each tiny iteration, I was closer to the final decision to come out. The process was rather slow, because I would sometimes scare myself after realizing how far I’d actually gone with my preparations. Then I would slow down and calm myself with a thought that I didn’t have to execute my plans if I didn’t want to.

There was no sliver of judgment in him

It seems that one of my best buddies at one point expressed enough genuine concern for me that I finally broke through my insecurity and fear, so I promised to write him a letter. In the letter, I shared my struggle with attraction towards our mutual male friend.

After he received it, there was not a sliver of judgment in him. He was curious about my feelings in a very appropriate way. He didn’t seem puzzled nor confused. He gave me advice, saying that I should probably go and talk to our friend in whom I had a crush. He also pointed out that our mutual friend, as far as he understood, was not a homosexual.

So, I did go and talk to my other friend. The guy was incredible. He was calm, respectful and understanding. Knowing him for a long time, I could have hardly expected anything else. He told me that he couldn’t reciprocate my feelings, because he was interested in women. He told me that we could remain good friends as we previously had been, if I accept him as he was. He also said that he was ready to give me every support he could muster in order to help me to deal with my same-sex attraction. I don’t remember saying much. I just remember acknowledging his words. I was thankful for how well everything went.

Soon thereafter, I did come out to one friend after another and without exception they embraced me unconditionally. From both my female as well and male buddies I have received nothing but kind and considerate acceptance & support. Looking back, I find it nothing short of a miracle.

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