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I am an openly gay teenager who lives in the UK. I recently came out to one of my childhood friends, after having very positive responses from my current friend group and people my age. However, that friend wasn't as accepting as most people.

About a week after I told him, he started acting very cold towards me, ignoring me when I tried to talk to him and not acknowledging my presence. I know a lot of people would advise cutting my losses, so to speak, and stop being friends with him, but we've been friends since toddler age, and I don't think that he's actually a homophobe, just that he doesn't know how to react properly.

In the week between me coming out and this behaviour starting, I didn't guess that anything like this would happen, and things were normal until about a week after I came out.

I've asked around my other friends and responses range from "Just leave him, he's not worth it" to "Talk to him about it". I really don't know what to do, and really don't want to lose a dear friend. I've also tried to mention it to his parents, but, since I came out, I've been around to his house a lot lot less and haven't really had the chance. Any thoughts?

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    You haven't stated your own Gender, which may have an influence. If you are female, it may be that your friend harboured a secret crush on you that he was building up to telling you about. This fantasy of his may have been completely destroyed by your coming out. The entire friendship, in his mind, may have unfortunately been building up to starting a relationship with you. It's now impossible and he feels like he's wasted the last years and doesn't want to waste any more effort. Obviously if you're a guy then this comment can be totally disregarded. :) – Smeato Sep 1 '17 at 14:47
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    @Smeato nice theory, but, yes, I am a guy, so if my friend had a crush on me, I don't think he would have acted like this :) – caird coinheringaahing Sep 1 '17 at 14:48
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    You can contact his parents without going to his house. Have you considered calling them (or asking your parents to do so)? If you've been friends for that long it doesn't seem like an unreasonable course of action. – eyeballfrog Sep 1 '17 at 21:41
  • I wont go into details, but when revealing important facts relating to that to longer term friends. Particularly those who we have "always" known, they often take it much harder. I think this is because they have a much more concrete view of who you are and its much harder to adjust this. All I can suggest, from personal experience is to give them time and let them be distant a while. I would normally write an answer but I am not comfortable doing so when relying entirely on related albeit slightly different personal experience. I would offer to speak privately but wouldn't know how. – Vality Sep 8 '17 at 22:06
  • Your friend is in the closet. – user3306 Oct 5 '17 at 20:23
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"Our Sexuality" written by Robert L. Crooks and Karla Baur offers some clear cut guidelines to coming out to your friends (and a whole lot of advice on coming out in general), I'd like to take you to page 272 (chapter 9), points 5 and 6.

Guidelines for coming out to friends

  1. Rely on patience

    Remember that you are telling your friend something he or she has not had a chance to prepare for, whereas you have had a lot of time to prepare. Many people are surprised, shocked, and confused and need some time to ask think or ask questions. An initial negative reaction does not necessarily mean the friend will not accept it. If a friend reacts negatively but shows respect, stay and talk things over. Sympathize with his or her shock and confusion: "I can see this new upsets you."

    (emphasis mine)

  2. Control your anger

    If the person becomes hostile or insulting, politely end the meeting: "I'm sorry you aren't accepting my news well, and it's best for me to go now." Don't give your friend a real reason to be mad at you for being mean or rude or flying off the handle. As you come out to people, you will find that some are not able or willing to maintain their friendship with you. With others, letting them know you more fully will allow the meaning and closeness in the relationship to grow. Over time you will create a network of friends with whom you can enjoy the freedom of being your full self.

    (emphasis mine)

With your current situation, I think both points apply heavily. Be patient with your friend, give them some time to process this news they've heard about someone they've known for so long, don't put any pressure on them (by talking to their parents as an example) and if they need space, provide it. If they don't come around and eventually act negatively towards your offering of friendship. Simply get up and walk away. There are people out there who will love you for who you are and by the looks of it, you already have a good support network around you with your other friends. It's a hard pill to swallow, but, it's just another obstacle life throws at you.

4

I would talk to him about it.

Some people respond a little strangely when their friends "come out" even if they're not homophobic. They may feel like you've been keeping a secret from them, or they may be uncertain about their own sexuality and being confronted with someone else's makes them ask themselves some uncomfortable questions.

The approach that, mostly worked for me, was to remind people that I was still the same person who I'd always been. I still liked the same music, still went to the same shows and so on... I just came out.

Be patient with your friend, sometimes it takes people a little while to come around, and honestly some people never really do...

Coming out is hard for all of us, but try not to let it get you down. It's a big world out there and it gets easier.

  • It doesn't sound like the case here, but I agree that a great number of people in my life were hurt that I didn't come out to them sooner. They were wrong--I came out to them fairly quickly after coming out to myself--but that's how they felt nonetheless. – user3306 Oct 5 '17 at 20:28
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    But an extra +1 with the uncertainty about their own sexuality. That was my first thought too. The guy that reacted worst when I came out--and really was a giant ass to me from that point on--came out himself a few years later. – user3306 Oct 5 '17 at 20:29

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