Friendship: Then and Now

friend-def

 

Recently, a close friend of mine, whom I had associated with for over five years, decided to end our friendship. I am not upset by this turn of events; the truth is, the association was a long-time in circling the drain. Simply put, each of us had simply gone in two different directions and life paths. So, in a way, this is liberating since it frees me from the psychological anxiety of interpersonal conduct.

Many people would not take this happening as mellow as I did; others may rant against their former friend and perhaps swear ugly accusations or vendettas. I, of course, felt otherwise and as though this was a natural culmination which needed to happen. But, it should be said, that my history with people was not always so straightforward; indeed, when I consider my past associations, what I notice is a stark uneven quality. A quality which I now hope to sketch out in hopes of connecting with anyone who has undergone the same ordeal.

I will talk of several different modes of friendship which cover different aspects of my life. Some deal exclusively in cyber-space while others are handled in the real world; each section is a vignette and will explore a different understanding of friendship.

 

~

 

Elementary School: Coerced Association

                Elementary school (grade school) is an interesting period if for no other reason than hindsight; it is the period that you do not think very much of at the time, but is fondly remembered during the first trying weeks of middle school where you realize, in the social anxiety fest of meeting new students, that the safe and secure pastures of K-5 was the location of your comfort zone.

Looking back, I had three different friends in elementary school: David, Chris, Jacob.

David was my first friend. We had bonded over our mutual delight of violence; I still remember that day in first grade where we repeatedly drew Christ’s crucifixion because we loved to make it violent and adorn the landscape with spikes. We did many things together and were inseparable nigh. I would give him Pokemon and some Yu-Gi-Oh! Cards and we would joke around on the bus.

But things did not last much: around the third grade, we began fighting. At first, it has to the trading card but soon evolved into him being jealous over me befriending a new boy, Chris. Although I had only originally bonded with Chris due to his love of my trading cards, after a while he gained an affinity for me and we started hanging out as friends, not just as ‘kids who only like one another for the things they own.’ David was pushed out of the picture; although there was something approaching a kind of reconciliation, things with David never again reached their pre-Chris status—simply put, I was the subservient friend in the relationship and David was bossy; Chris was more equalitarian and treated me less as an attendant and more as an equal.

But, Chris was also a year ahead of me in school. So, there was always this black hole during the class. So, I bonded with another student, Jacob. He and I enjoyed writing stories together. We would design a universe and split our short stories evenly between one page of writing and one page of illustration. He sat with me on the bus during field trips and we also had our desks next to each other. It was a great time; and although I never truly felt like he was a good friend since I honestly didn’t know why he liked me, it as likely simply my own insecurity which troubled me.

In elementary school, I only truly began feeling comfortable during the fifth grade, just as sixth grade loomed. So when the year ended and I ‘graduated’ to middle school, everything which took so long to make, was destroyed.

Middle & High School: Coerced Loneliness

                I didn’t adjust well to middle school. Everyone I knew from elementary school was divided into different wings, and we barely saw one another; drifting happened… I did not respond well. To cover a lot of time, I will just say that in order to cope, I simply refused to attend. Obviously, this behavior made it difficult to learn the curriculum. I was held back twice and isolated myself, only making a couple of contacts whom I faded from associating with as time moved on. I was alone. And that was the way it remained for the remainder of my time in day school; by the time I dropped out, and was studying for my G.E.D, I eventually began to wonder what happened to those old friends I had and ponder if they may be interested in hanging out with me.

Internet Hoopla

During my lonely time studying in night school, I reached out via Facebook and Myspace to some of my old friends. Contacting them was awkward. I was awkward. I didn’t know what to say. To be honest, I didn’t really know how to interact with people online, what some of the slang meant and whatnot. So, the internet helped but what I remember realizing was something that though simple, was deep: in the years I had been missing in action, they had had lead their own lives, lives which featured those meetings of new people and growing up without me. Part of the reason why I found it so hard to relate to them was because they have had a time going through high school and finding themselves as adolescents. Their subjectivity was alien to me, as mine was to them. The void that was temporarily filled, opened back up, if only a bit.

 

~

 

Now that I have offered some brief remarks on my school day interactions, I wish to offer some memories on the decline of friendship.

Daniel: A Gamer

Danny was one of my early online friends; he and I did the sorts of things which you could expect two young Queers to do; though based largely on me advising him and just talking about video games, the friendship was complicated because I eventually grew feelings for him that were never returned. Although the friendship did not breakdown due to our different standings on affection, but rather my own behavior while intoxicated (talking about suicide and depression and the like, as well as begrudging him into a forced obligation), his disassociation was hard to take; upon finding out the Fall I had returned to university that he had blocked me from Steam (out chatting platform of choice), without so much as a message why he no longer wanted to associate with me, I took his rejection hard and nearly drank myself into a coma. Our friendship, though only ever based through the internet, was a long lasting one which had, over the course of around four years, had traversed many an obstacle. I was not well with this happening for a long while. It was the secretive nature of how the friendship ended, that bugged me—during our interactions the previous year, he never informed me that he felt uncomfortable with my actions, nor did he ask me to change my behavior in regards to him; in fact, I did try to isolate him from my actions via encouraging him to go to bed when I got bad. But, he never confronted me on what disturbed him; instead, he waited until the summer break, when he knew that I would not have an internet connection, and removed me from his life. I supposed that I should have suspected something when he didn’t text me over the summer, but I always assume the best in people and had presumed that he had difficulties of some kind and perhaps lost my number. But, he didn’t and under the cover of technological night, had removed me from his life. Though I attempted to apologize via cell, he would not respond.

Justin: False-Friend Obsession

In terms of university contacts, Justin is likely the only person whom I could have honestly called a friend. But all of it was based on pity for my depression and loneliness. First meeting during a summer event at university before we entered as first-year students, I got eyes for him right away. Once the school year began, and the water separated from the oil, I gained an audience with him as a friend by helping him out one day with his schoolwork. From there, I tried to deepen our relation by email and sharing in our mutually shared interests. Well, as time went on, and I sent messages which I regretted and apologized for, and he forgave me while still pitying me, one day I simply gave up and sent him a level-headed, non-hostile message asking him if my accusations—that he was only friends with me because he pitied me; he never responded.

I still feel unsettled by these events, over a year later. I had not held feelings for a guy like I did for him since middle school, but, like middle school, I was destined to be rejected, not only as a lover but as a friend.

Morgan: On the Christian-Secular Redux

                I met Morgan during my internet hoopla spree; part of this spree was discovering my identity as a gay man. At the time, I had joined a support forum for gay youth. A little later, Morgan joined. At first, he and I were on opposite spectrums—he, a Christian (Methodist), and I, and atheist. We butted heads in the religions forum a lot but managed to find some common ground.

We became Facebook contacts and would keep in touch that way. However, I am not a person who has a stable emotional life and after a protracted period of us not talking, I deleted him, with a bunch of other people I knew from day school (this was what I called ‘the great purge’). Some years went by and I decided to search him out and friend him once more; we exchanged some messages and became FB friends again. I was surprised to learn that during his time in college, he abandoned his religion. Things were good, for a while, but one day he deactivated his FB account and would not respond to the email that I sent inquiring why. Then, one night, after having a bit too much to drink, I sent him an angry, accusatory email. This earned a response from him (level-headed) which had boiled down to the following: he was entering a new time in his life and wanted a fresh slate.

I wasn’t among those he had deemed important enough to retain; though that was the truth, it was still hurtful nonetheless. As of writing, I have yet to respond to his original response as I simply do not think a response is needed: I accept his proposition and must accept it as truth.

Chris: A Causality of Distance

He was one of my oldest friends. Aside from David, who did come before, Chris and I spent the latter half of elementary school and the whole of middle-school together; for a time, he was my best friend. I would spend many a night at his house and we would stay up late playing video games and talking. Together, with his brother and his friend, we would have a grand old time just fooling around. But, as my depression grew and I felt increasingly confused about my place in the world while my absences piled up, I distanced myself from him. Finally, when I stopped going to school entirely, I dropped out of contact. Though we would eventually, close to a year or so later, reunite on Facebook, things simply were not the same. I would be the one to put in the effort to call him and text him… but never he to I. During my so-called ‘great purge,’ I deleted him from my FB account thinking that things had reached their normal end—for a brief time, we were close, but that time had ended and now we each had our own direction to go. I didn’t even know him, anymore. Better to let the past remain where it thrives and not in the future, where it withers. I will always remember Chris.

Lucien: a logical conclusion

                Soon after I met Chris, I re-acquainted myself with Lucien, a friend who had been there in both elementary and middle school, but not in my general sphere. Actually, we had met again when I had been out for an evening walk; since he had lived close by on my very same road, my walking trail had gone by his very house and one day, while some guests were leaving, he saw me walking and ignited contact.

From that moment on we planned many a weekend together. Indeed, over the course of the next five years, we would be very close—this young man is, in fact, the subject of this piece’s opening lines, the boy I had known for five years who had recently distanced himself from me. Instead of talking about how our separation happened, I will simply re-post what I had commented on my FB:

Unfortunately, today seems to be the day that a long term friend of mine (one in real life, mind you, not the internet) has decided to end our friendship, a 5+ year association; recently, he deleted me from Facebook but the signs were there before as he didn’t acknowledge anything I tagged him in and nor did he respond to my private messages asking him about his life.

I do not know why he refused to respond to my entreaties, but I suspect it has to do with either the content of my FB postings (in which case, he may just want to withdraw from FB), since we never really talked much about politics and whatnot in real life; or, the other reason could be that he no longer wanted to handle or be in the way of my depressive episodes. As he has remained silent on his course of action, I can only grasp at straws.

I supposed that I should be upset, but I am not.

Honestly, each of us has just gone in different directions: he, a blue-collar worker, and I, an academic; even a couple years back, we never had much in common and there were moments where I needed to ask him to talk about more serious, relevant issues than the sort of abstract humor we usually conducted; I had told him that it was simply hard for me to spend so much time with him, and yet not having anything concrete to talk about during that period: I liked joking around and playing video games, but there comes a point where discussing current events and real life needed to make an entrance. He agreed and things during the last couple of years have been swell; but, university happened and it grew increasingly hard for us to get together.

Lately, I have, admittedly, been distant– I did not make any great efforts at getting together (provided, transportation, financial matters, and simply scheduling made it hard) but neither did I talk with him much via cell due to both my irregular service and my own psychological hesitancy in contact. This, in addition to my own (recently), intensified battle with depression, and how it has put him in some difficult personal emotional situations, may be why he has selected this path.

It has placed me in an uncertain spot. On one hand, I feel that it would be a concession to my depression should I let this friend go, but on the other hand, with my own studies intensifying and graduate school being a real possibility for the future, and subsequently, it meaning a time when I will not be able to see anyone from Maine except for on special occasions, I feel that with everything considered, it could have ended far more acrimoniously.

I mourn the loss but it is a part of growing up and defining your own personage. One one side, I have lost a good friend, on the other, I almost feel liberated in my deepening isolation because it releases me from the psychological stress associated with talking with him on the phone and planning a get-together– it means that I can go forward in life knowing that the past is passed and the future is golden from this point forward, in that, I am able to press forward.

Well, there is still grey areas to fill in so maybe I am making too much, but there has also been no effort on his part on establishing contact or informing me of his non-communication (he was always the better at maintaining contact; my phobia prevented much proactivity on my part). At any rate, I will treasure those moments with him and wish him the best in his future; hopefully, everything works out for him and his decision.

If this is not defined as ‘self-explanatory,’ then I do not know what is.

~

Why do you make friends? Because you are forced: the situation you are thrust into, whatever it may be, such as, during elementary school—and like middle and high school, or like the job you toil in so as to avoid eviction—you are forced into association with people for a quarter of the day, five days a week, or more, for the next twelve years (or life). You have to find someone who shares your interests, or at least, doesn’t hate you or mind you hanging around.

So, what did I learn from all of these experiences? I have some extrapolations which should clarify my views.

Meditation 1: Be proactive, not Overactive

                When making new friends, whether you are a student or an adult, the key to building friendships is not to be overbearing. There is a difference between sending a few emails and spamming. Generally speaking, unless someone is greatly put off by you, they will not mind you asking them or messaging them a few times to hang out or do something sometime, especially if it is for a shared interest. What puts people off is the over activity, where you spam them nonstop with the same request every time you see them. Although it can be difficult if you are desperate to make a friend, remember that every interaction you make registers on them on some level; if the only thing they are registering is you single-mindedly perusing a certain interaction, then that tells them very little about you the person while telling them a lot about your personality. Interspace your desire for quality time with some small talk. Don’t give up trying to do something with them when their schedule is busy, but neither incessantly hound them. Maintain a good distance between reality and the future; if you try and rush things before the burgeoning bond between you two matures, then it will make you look either manic and odd, at best, or mentally unstable at worst.

Meditation 2: Best-Friends forever do not exist

                I know it seems like a downer to say that BFFs aren’t real, especially with all the media which likes to say otherwise, but it is true, they do not exist. Yes, good friends whom you have known a long time and are close to, do exist, but to take that concept and extend it to absurd lengths with the BFF concept, or even best friends, is simply ridiculous.

In some measly twenty-something years on this planet, there have been three different people that I have called my ‘best friend’ at one time or another. All of them are no longer my best friend. Why is simple: life happens. In something as loaded as existence, where you, as a person go from a young person with (likely) little life experience to a full adult with their own existence and history spanning decades and decades… how can you think that any one person will be able to sympathize with you (even if they have the time to do so with their own life) throughout the vast changes which transpire over the course of you living and changing? Throughout high school college, a job or career and the building of that occupation, of you maturing and possibly starting a family or seeing someone, of you moving to new cities where seeing someone you knew from back home, or wherever, and then gaining new hobbies and tastes and interests… the list goes on; assuming that your BFF remains as you knew them from your time together, and, perhaps, takes up your new interests with you (something that is both unlikely to happen as well as, if it did happen, a clear sign of co-dependency) , how could you expect that you two are still ‘compatible,’ that is, still share the same interest and personality traits which brought you together in the first place? Exactly, there is no reason; this fairytale idea of BFF, where two close persons know each other for life and never tire of one another’s company over the years, is just a premise for melodramas and comedy films. Good, long term friends exist, but they come and go.

Meditation 3: Friends are Ephemeral

During my first year in college, I briefly talked with a consoler there about how to associate with other students. A remark of his made an impression on me; though incredibly basic, something which should be known by everyone without thought, it had never really occurred to me precisely because it is so basic. He said that my friends at university would likely change semester to semester depending on my friends’ schedules. At the time, this allowed me to conceptualize my exteriority and making sense of my reality enabled me to find some degree of inner peace to the troubles which had been plaguing me.

But this bit of information, this advice, is also applicable to really anyone: the people in your lives have their own thing going on and are only going to be able to associate with other people to the degree that they are free and find you compatible enough with them that they wish to share in your company. Many of these friendships will blossom as quickly are they fade since they are based on momentary collisions and random exits; you meet one-another for but a short time (a week, a semester,  couple of years, etc.) and then, through a vast agglomeration of factors and variables, are torn to new directions depending on your respective goals and hopes.

Losing and gaining friends, when considering these factors, thusly becomes just a part of life—you associate with those whom you find valuable in some regard, and then are forced to part with those friends and make new ones depending on your circumstances. Lacking friends or lacking close friends is therefore not a rejection of your value as a human being, but just an indication that other factors in your life, or your target friend’s life, are preventing you from realizing a friendship (a busy schedule, professional or recreational obligations, etc.). Lamenting a lack of friend or close friends serves no one save your own self-doubt and simply does not match up with reality; perhaps there are personal issues which many people, save a select few, find it hard to put up with, but there is additional variables to consider as well, many of which you have little to no control over as you prepare to live and lead your own life.

Meditation 4: Leave the Past Where it belongs

I am not going to tell you to never reach out to people you used to know; sometimes, checking in on people and getting to know what they have been up to, will result in fantastic premises. But, honestly, most of the time, it will not. For the most part, I am of the opinion that the past should be left where it is—in the past.

Friendships are odd. You meet people and then, for whatever reason, you fade away and find new people. When considering whether to reach out to someone you used to know, you have to ask yourself this: “Why did we stop seeing each other?” More often than not, the reason was because that you either, didn’t, and never did, share much in common (really think about this), or because you diverged on what brought you together in the first place, or, additionally, because something came between you two and conflict ensued.

The thing about time is that it exacerbates difference (both positive and negative); as the old saying goes, time heals all wounds. In terms of the first two reasons why you and the ‘blast from the past’ that used to be the person you associated with, should think twice before reaching out is the following—do you really believe that someone you fought with, or someone whom you never shared many interests with, is going to be different? With the passing of time, do you believe that your interests will collide or that the altercation which drove you apart will have healed? I supposed that there is always a chance, but one has to be realistic and remember that although people do certainly change, and time does heal some wounds, you have to consider the plethora of other variables as to what may have happened in the interim, and what did happen between you and how things may not even be worth touching on again.

Everyone is haunted by the ghosts of their past and the point is to move on, not to befriend your ghosts in the hope of becoming ‘best bros’ with your demons. If you hold onto the past, then you cannot move into the future; it is such a cliché but a cliché for a reason. If you constantly ruminate on what has happened, then you become paralyzed and do not undertake the necessary actions to actually triumph over your past. The point is to be your own exorcist and rid your body of the need to re-do the same thoughts over and over again.

 

~

 

Well, those are my remarks on friendship. Perhaps in certain places it was overly negative or preachy, maybe in others still, it was an inspiring moment. Whatever the case, however, those are my own idea on what friendship constitutes.

As always, feel free to share your own experiences and ideas regarding friendship and friends in the comments.

Help, Advice, and Windows to Me

Obviously I have not been updating this blog frequently or even irregularly at this point. This is not to say that I have not been accurately aware of when people comment or even the general stats of the blog. I have just been very preoccupied with the typical: writing essays, theorizing, waging unending blood war against the religious and political Right, and huffing fairy dust(*) (you know, the typical young adult stuff). However, I have not forgotten about the people who view my posts. I still intend on creating original multi-media content when I am able to buy a new computer but until that magically day I am moribund with my junker. But since I will be making an effort to post a least a little more frequently, and while I whittle away on my newest advice guide for ya’ll, I wanted to just post this hold-over until I am able to post something more substantial. It is just a compendium of useful posts for the wandering teen or young adult to enjoy, posts which I believe in some way of value to anyone willing to click on a site with the word “Queer” in the title. Enjoy!

~      ~      ~     ~

Self-Help/Advice

The Gay Guide to High School: A primer (of sorts) concerning some situations which you may encounter at some time in high school. Though the post/short story itself is short, there are many additional comments left by others users and myself which expound upon the core material.

Cyber-Bullying: How to Prevent and Manage Online Harassment: Online can be fun and harmful. Predators are everywhere and though the comments section on a politically charged story often come with more than one politically incorrect surprise, with this guide you will know that you are not alone nor the only one with a bit of hesitation about the internet.

Overcoming Obsession: Outgrowing Infatuation with Straight Peers: Every gay kid knows the feeling– that moment when you realize you have fallen for someone who is totally straight; the sadness, awkward feeling and loneliness. It weighs on you night and day and doesn’t make seeing him around school any easier. Read this post to gain some helpful advice on how to handle these less-than-awesome feelings.

Queer Forward: Resisting Bigotry and Struggling for Social Change: Although this post only applies to people with a hankering for activism, and has some protocol/situational advice which is only useful in large cities, I think the general contents will be of interest to anyone wanting to help alter their community for the better.

Personal Stories: Queers Talk about “Coming Out” and Accepting Themselves

Coming Out: The Inner War: I, the blogmaster (TGU), share my coming out story. Dramatic and lovely, if you enjoy reading tales of people revealing their true selves, then you will want to give this a glance.

Pride Parades: A First Timer’s Account: TGU’s tale of attending his first gay pride parade; riveting!

Love and Support: Why they are Needed: An entry which discusses the virtues of a loving family and the support they can offer to their kids who are still struggling with their own identities.

Defending Queers: The Queering of Life

The Ex-Gay Myth: A polemic concerning the fallacies of the so-called “Ex-Gay” movement and why they are liars, hypocrites, and delusional and self-loathing persons who harm the liberation movement.

In Defense of Gay Pride: In a time when so many supposedly proud gay men and lesbian women feel the need to attack the concept of Gay Pride, due to ignorant and misplaced idealism, this posts argues decisively in favor of pride as both a tool for self-empowerment, as well as a political weapon against the right-wing.

(*) Warning: Tinker Bell is a pain in the butt to catch and much crankier when you do… proceed with caution!

The Gay Guide to High School

 

The Young Man’s Gay Guide to High School

                I’ve heard this coming school year will be an exciting year for you: entering into the ninth grade, going to be a high school freshman! That is an exciting event. Only happens once in your life, after all. Still, as a gay kid you might have some questions about high school life. Well, don’t you worry because not only are such questions normal but we have you covered, for enter, the Gay Guide to High School!

Here in this handy guide you will find some answers to the most frequently asked questions about school life and about the problems you may face when entering into the new school year. So, without any further delay, read on and lets ease some of your anxiety.

Question #1: “It is my first day tomorrow and I am freaking about whether I should be open about my sexual orientation!”

Listen here bud; this is a demanding decision, to be sure. Yet there is something you should know: life in high school isn’t like life in general. Though I would say that this depends largely on if your area is homophobic or tolerant, I can part onto you some spicy wisdom that may help you make an informed decision.

By holding off on telling your peers about such an important aspect of who you are, you are not only selling yourself short, but you could be closing possible opportunities with other gay freshmen; if you have the courage to be out not only does it set a precedent for the rest of your time there but it may give other closeted students the courage to be open. Being “out” on the first day sets the stage for your other three years. It wipes away the most challenging aspect of high school, self-expression, while having the potential to affirm who you are as a person.

There can be some repercussions if you live in a hostile environment, which is why I suggest doing some preliminary observations on whether it would be safe to come out, but I still take the stance that if not being completely out and in the open is possible, than telling a couple friends is a suitable alternative.

Question #2: “Okay, I have decided to be out about my sexual orientation, but how do I talk with my classmates about being gay?”

At first this may seem daunting but fortunately this problem is actually a paper tiger. The great thing about high school is that everyone is either already talking about their sexual preference or will soon be talking about their preference. Because of this you do not actually have to start a conversation or be dramatic and come out in a spectacular manner; which, in regards to, is better handled by simply stating your orientation non-chantly instead of making a production over the event. The same goes for conversation: sooner or later your friends, or potential friends, will chatter on about sex, who is cute and hot, and what interests they have. Use this opportunity to state your preference.

From here it depends on your school and how people react. Even if this first group of friends reacts badly, however, to you coming out or talking about homosexuality, so as long as they are not bullying or harassing you, you should feel more than free to salvage what you can from that encounter and move on to another group of students knowing that you were completely open about who you are. This being said, I would recommend that you not engage in even mild flirting with anyone until you have yourself established as “a dude who likes dudes.”

Question #3: “Okay, thanks for the advice. But, ummm… there is this guy who I am pretty sure is straight. I really like him and want to hit on him but am unsure of what I should do.”

Believe me buddy, nothing good comes from hitting on straight guys, it is a dead end. Likewise, trying to seduce them into sexual acts is only going to direct negative attention towards you. Youth play cruel tricks so do not believe that a perverted guy wouldn’t set you up for a colossal humiliation. Video recording pranks and posting them on the internet is very easy these days; so never assume what happens behind closed doors will stay there. Hormones are hard to deal with but not impossible. If you find that your feelings for a certain guy are too overwhelming than you may certainly tell him of your feelings (assuming he isn’t homophobic), just avoid making your revelation melodramatic (no one, especially heterosexual guys, enjoy drama).

Question #4: “Well, that makes sense, so thanks again. But still, it is awfully lonely in this school without a partner to call my own. How do I find a boyfriend when I don’t see any other gay guys?”

Finding a partner (aka “boyfriend”) is never easy, especially when you are going at it all alone in a heterosexist atmosphere. Still, it may be worth looking into if your high school has a Gay-Straight Alliance (G.S.A). This way, if it does, than your problem of finding other homosexuals has probably been solved. However, even if your school doesn’t have a G.S.A, than you haven’t run out of luck yet. As stereotypical as it may sound many gay youth are interested in the performing arts (dancing, acting, etc) so it might be valuable to joining the local theater or drama club. Though gay guys are likely to be in any extra-curricular club the odds of finding a gay or bisexual kid are more likely in the artistic segment.

Question #5: “Okay cool, I will put that to use. In the meantime, however, I found this Bisexual upperclassman and I think he might be interested in me. Should I ask him out on a date?”

My approach to students who are older than you and in a higher grade is to leave them where they are. While it is hard being alone, and even harder to pass up an opportunity to be with someone, you have to consider that he is several years older than you; as a result he is several years further in life than you.

If you are in the ninth grade and he is in the eleventh grade than that means you will only have one year together before he graduates. And when he does graduate you have to remember that he will probably have college ambitions: do you think he will wait three years for you to finish high school prior to leaving for institutions of higher learning? Is it really ethical for either of you to hold up his life? The conditions here are simply stretched too thin.

Chances are any older boy who shows in interest in you is only doing so because they want sexual favors. They will lure you to what they want by promises of companionship and then ditch you as soon as they slack their sexual urges. Unless one is ready to trade off loneliness for short term companionship at the price of engaging in possible sexual acts, it is best to wait until you meet someone closer to your own age.

Question #6: “I put what you said to use and guess what? I found a partner!!! I am so happy that I want to tell the world… but should I?”

First of all I congratulate you on finding your partner. Secondly, in response to your question of whether you should be open to the school about it, this depends on how open you have already been about your homosexuality. If you have already been as open as you could possibly be than there is no cause for you not to be open about your partner. Yet, if you haven’t been open than it would be best to be cautious as rumors travel quickly in the adolescent den of high school. Just remember that if you are open more attention will be leveled at you and such gossip may spread towards segments of your life which do not know about your sexual orientation.

Question #7: “Argh! Well, I was open about dating my dream guy but now some bullies have started calling us names and threatening us. What should I do?”

Terrible to hear about this situation but do not worry, there are steps you can take to resolve the situation. First things first you have to tell your parents as well as the school officials. Inform both of them of what is happening (if your parents do not know about your sexual orientation than this might be a tricky area to balance with lies). Both need to have constant communication with one another.

If the harassment is taking place in the classroom than request to be transferred to another wing of your grade level so you have different teachers and different classmates. This will place you out of the immediate reach of the bullies and give you some breathing room until the school administration disciplines the offenders. If bullies ever physically confront you and you are not in a position to flee than do not be afraid to strike any blow with any object. If it means sparing you pain than unleash your inner beast.

Likewise, however, bullies can also use the cyber world to belittle you. If this is the case than you must remember that no matter what hurtful instant messages you receive or what degrading harassment is thrown your way, you will overcome. Be patient, change cell phone numbers if possible, and increase your online security (for full details see our guide to cyber-bullying).

Bullying is hard to endure but if your parents/guardians and school administrators are proactive such horrid behavior can be stopped dead in its tracks. If you find that the school is not fulfilling its obligations to protect you than there is always the option of legal action; your state’s local American Civil Liberties Union (A.C.L.U) chapter would be more than willing to help you in this regard.

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Well, there you have it my young chum, I hope what you have read in this guide has helped you in better understanding what to do in the event these scenarios happen. Though far from perfect, life rarely is, if you tackle the myriad of challenges that school offers you with your head held high I have the greatest confidence in you that you will emerge on the other side of the year more confidant, powerful, and happy than when you entered.

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