Find an appropriate time to broach the subject. Here’s what you shouldn’t do: Just walk up to your friend and blurt out, “Hey, you’re gay, right?”1 As ridiculous as this may sound, some well-intentioned people have done this. The damage done by this approach can be irreparable. This is a sensitive topic regardless of whether your suspicions are true, and can humiliate the other person.
Educate yourself. Homosexuality is a manifestation of deeper issues in your friend’s life. Your goal is not to expose your friend’s homosexuality but to unearth and attend to the underlying problems.
Look beyond the behaviour. Your conversation should not focus on homosexuality. Attend instead to the core of the problem. Fixating on homosexuality is like trying to relieve the symptoms but not address the cause.
Maintain a network of friends. As you walk alongside your homosexual friend, it’s important that you maintain other close friendships as well. Encourage your friend to also pursue other friendships. In addition to time spent between just the two of you, spend time in groups: invite others to lunch with the two of you, get involved in church and other interest groups where you interact with others. These safeguards will help avoid the exclusivity that can lead to an emotional dependency.
Draw specific boundaries. There is a chance that your gay/ lesbian friend may be attracted to you, but the chance is small; they typically are sensitive to whether you are of a similar sexual orientation.2 Don’t pull away totally if they do develop an attraction toward you. If they’re calling you too often or at inappropriate times, gently mention this and offer specific times when it’s convenient for them to call.
Provide a healthy example of nonsexual friendship. This is the best way to help your friend meet his/her legitimate need for companionship, acceptance and emotional support in a healthy way.
Be trustworthy. Many homosexuals have had their trust abused in the past. Some will be sceptical that you are someone they can rely on. Like the rest of us, they need accountability in their lives; but they also need to know that you – the one to whom they’re willing to become accountable – will not abuse that trust.
Winning their trust does not mean that you should hide or gloss over your stand against homosexuality. In fact, if they discover later that you firmly hold opposite views, they may perceive a sense of betrayal that you disapprove of them as a homosexual, rather that objecting to the LGBT lifestyle and agenda. Where possible, gently make known your stand upfront as you love them regardless.
- Do you struggle in any area of your relationships?
- Where are you in your journey?
- How can I journey alongside and pray for you?