Many years ago when I first began sharing my story with friends, I had an encounter. A friend from high school shared that she had another friend who was also same-sex attracted (SSA). He was much older than me, but she wondered if we’d be willing to meet.
To be honest, I didn’t have a great track record with SSA men at that time. Mostly my record was blank. The three names that had once skirted the list weren’t even in my life anymore.
I agreed to meet her friend and was initially excited to meet him. We grabbed lunch together and began chatting.
It became quickly apparent that our common sexuality could not overcome our other differences.
We had completely different perspectives on faith and the church. We had different acceptance levels of our sexuality. I was “Side B” and he was “Side B-ish when convenient.”
About 20 years separated us in age, and he was also an “in your face” vegetarian.
I left that day confused. Shouldn’t he and I have had an amazing conversation? Weren’t we supposed to get along amazingly with no issues? Wasn’t he some long lost brother who was going to fill a void in my life?
I never talked to him again after that day. And I had zero desire to do so. Good chance he felt the same.
Our mutual friend never even asked me about the lunch meeting, and it’s been years since I’ve spoken to that friend in particular. Honestly, it’s as if it never happened.
However, the impact of that day still comes to mind from time to time. Especially these days in our culture.
As I have come out more and more to those around me, I have started seeing this phenomenon.
It seems as though everyone around me assumes that, simply because someone else struggles with their sexuality, I will become friends with them without any trouble.
“Dean, guess what — my cousin’s brother’s boss has SSA! I bet you guys would get along. He’s also in his 90s and only speaks French. Is that a problem?”
That may be an exaggeration, but that’s genuinely how it feels at times. People simply believe that this shared quality — sexuality — will make us best friends. As if it’s the most natural thing in the world to do!
Friendships take a lot of work. Sexuality — that is just one minor aspect of a relationship.
For one, sexuality is vast and complex, and even those who share a common sexuality vary in their experiences with it.
Plus, so many more things can account for friendship: temperament, hobbies, extraversion/introversion, strengths, weaknesses, family of origin, faith, work, physical location, love languages, and so on.
These all play important roles in friendships.
To say that sexuality is the defining feature to unify all is to overestimate the influence of sexuality on a person’s relationships.
I am always excited to make new friends. And I love meeting people who have had a similar journey to mine. Hearing their stories is always exciting and affirming.
However, I know I won’t be friends with every SSA or gay-identifying guy and girl out there. I don’t have to be.
And they don’t have to be best friends with me, either. We simply have to embrace the brothers and sisters God brings into our lives, being open to whoever that is.
And, honestly, that right there is all we really need to be friends.
Have you ever felt boxed into a relationship based on a common or similar sexuality?