by Kristin Russo & Danielle Owens-Reid
It is highly likely that you have friends or siblings or colleagues in your life. It is also fairly likely that one of these friends or siblings or colleagues identifies as something other than heterosexual.
And at some point they may decide to tell you that they are gay or bisexual or a lesbian, or whatever the case may be. Regardless of who that person is or how they come out to you, many of us automatically enter panic mode in the moment and blurt out the first thing that comes to mind. Those initial-moment blurts (sorry for saying blurts) are sometimes not so awesome, so we thought it helpful to give you an idea of what those not-the-best blurts are, and how to fix ‘em if you have already blurted ‘em.
1. “WHO CARES. IT’S 2014!”
Who cares? The gays care. The lesbians care. The bisexuals care. Most of the humans who decide to tell you about a part of themselves care, and some of us care a lot. While it’s slightly comforting to know that you aren’t phased by who we like to bang/hold hands with/make googly eyes at, it still probably took us a lot of time and courage to find the words and say them. You know?!
HOW TO FIX IT: “OMG, by the way, I didn’t mean ‘who cares’ like ‘this doesn’t matter.’ At all. What I meant, and what I should have said, is, ‘I love you and you’re perfect and I’m so glad you wanted to tell me. I wish people didn’t even have to come out, because everyone should just be able to love who they love.’”
2. “Why didn’t you tell me sooner?”
Uhhhhmmm… Because I was dealing with my own internalized homophobia and felt like who I loved might make me less of a person? Also PS I don’t even have fundamental human rights because of who I’m banging/holding hands with/making googly eyes at so I was/am going through some stuff. Capeesh?
HOW TO FIX IT: “Hey. Hi. Listen. I did NOT mean to sound shitty when you came out, I mostly wanted to let you know that I would have been here for you and would have helped in any way you needed and I will literally always be here for you and I love you. I know that it must have been a really complex process for you to get to this place, and I’m sorry I made it about me for a second. I take it all back, and I love you.”
3. “You don’t have a crush on me tho, right?! LOL.”
Girl. Maybe I do. Don’t be rude.
HOW TO FIX IT: “Uhhhh by the way, that was really self-centered of me and I realize that just because you like girls doesn’t mean you’d like me so you do not have to answer that and how about we just pretend I didn’t say that. Also, like, if you do have a crush on me that’s fine, not that I think you do, but like, you know what I mean, I didn’t mean to make it weird, I was trying to make a joke sort of, it’s just…. There isn’t a way to fix this, but I love and respect you and want you to know you can talk to me about anything.”
4. “Oh, so you were dating INSERT_NAME as, like, a cover up?”
If you dated one guy for a year and then dated a different guy for another year, would the second guy cancel out the first guy? Were you just dating him to cover up the fact that you wanted to date a different guy? It doesn’t totally work like that. All relationships prior to gay ones do not become invalid, nor were we incapable of feeling something for the people we dated before we came out. Respect.
HOW TO FIX IT: “Circling back, to what I said before, I don’t think your relationship with INSERT_NAME was fake, or whatever. I think I got overwhelmed and wanted to immediately know all the facts and your feelings on the facts. If we can start over, I’d love to just tell you that I respect you now and then and into the future and even though I sound like a cheesy rom-com right now, I REALLY MEAN IT. If you ever want to talk about your feelings I am here, but I am also here to just be your loving and supportive rom-com friend. Or whatever.”
5. “Ohhh, wait so, do you watch Glee/listen to Tegan & Sara/have thoughts on Blue is the Warmest Color?”
Here’s the thing. PROBABLY?! But It feels a little weird to drop this life bomb on you, only to be met with words about TV shows/music/movies that only sort of applies to my life.
HOW TO FIX IT: “I panicked I’M SORRY. Please feel free to use that moment for a hilarious anecdote in your memoir!!! I know you like lots of things and who you want to make out with doesn’t determine your interests ALTHOUGH JUST FOR THE RECORD I LOVE TEGAN AND SARA K BYE
6. “Who else knows?”
You. You know, because I just told you. Can we spend some time in this moment and maybe you can hold me or something? Why do I need to list people who are aware of what kind of person i prefer to bang? Also can you not ask me with your eyebrows raised like I just told you that Brad and Angelina broke up? THIS ISN’T JUICY GOSSIP.
HOW TO FIX IT: “OH GOD I’m sorry i immediately asked you who knew, I didn’t mean it like that UGH SORRY. What I do want is to make sure that if it comes up in conversation I don’t blow up your spot. Tell me whatever you think I need to know so I can be supportive and awesome. Also I am sorry about my eyebrows, I know your life isn’t like Star Magazine.”
7. “Everyone is gay these days, am I right!?”
Yes, yes they are.
HOW TO FIX IT: No need, we good.
Read more in Cosmopolitan
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.