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?
OMG, love the overstatement! With me it’s resources. A relative gave me a couple of books recently that centered around telling Satan no and the same BS wishy washy stuff most of my church friends have told me…council it out of me. Okay, that last part may be an overstatement too. But I’m just done with that. Major issue for me is how much someone cares to be a friend. Got a pastor I spoke to in the beginning. He hasn’t ever asked me specifically how I’m doing with SSA afterwards. I plan on asking him why that is.
Robert, here’s wishing you lots of people who care enough to be your friend, to be interested in you and how you are doing. I pray this for you. Hang in there, brother.
Ah, yes, the resources. I get wary when people get excited to share a book with me. About half the time it ends up being less than helpful. Praying you find brothers and sisters to journey with you in your home area, Robert.
[…] Head over to YOB and read the original post. […]
This post is important and needed! I explain why here.
wow…I went to your blog, and have enjoyed reading some of it so much!!! Thank you.
I’m so grateful you’ve enjoyed it! Thank you so much for your encouragement. 🙂
What a great blog! It felt like I was reading about my growing up, fighting my sexuality, ad nauseum. I’m still haven’t labeled myself as gay, but certainly not straight. Your writings help soothe the pains of adolescence.
Thank you, friend! So grateful to hear that!
this just reminds me about how when I lived in south america people were always really excited to introduce me to other americans thinking I’d also be really excited, but I usually wasn’t and very few times continued knowing said people. I always got along better with a lot of my latino friends lol
Amazing how differences can be such a powerful bonding tool in friendships!
Never so much because of my sexuality, but this is a common issue I face as an African American. A lot of people have mentioned similar things to me and were always surprised to hear me express the same sentiments that you expressed here. One shared commonality does equal a new immediate friendship, contrary to Hollywood movies.
I can only imagine what you have faced in this area where it concerns race. Your perspective in this area is even greater than mine.
“He’s also in his 90s and only speaks French. Is that a problem?” Dean, that is spot on in representing some of the silly things are friends can do, and it is the funniest thing I have read in a few days.
I attend a community Bible study for homeless folks in our county. There is a transgender teen who also attends. The leadership wanted me to connect with him, as well as be a resource for their interactions with him. So far this has lead nowhere as I am much too old and reserved to spark any interest in him. No smiles or greetings have been returned. Your points are well-taken. He has connected with a couple of the older men who are much more outgoing than I am.
Common sexuality has been the basis for some strong friendships in this community that I do cherish, but it does not ensure the Hollywood movie outcome that Brandon references. I am trying to give God more and more control over friendship decisions as He has the wisdom that I lack. I am supposed to meet another man from that same Bible study for coffee next week. We were in the same small group recently, and I was struck by the overwhelming difficulty of his present circumstances. I wrote him to ask if he would like to meet for prayer or to share more of his story. He responded that he desperately needed a friend as he was feeling altogether isolated. This is a man who travels the world sharing Jesus while having a teaching ministry in our community. I sense that we have little in common apart from Christ, our wives, and our children, and we seem to look at all three of those commonalities very differently. But I could sense his deep pain, and I know we share that. God will take his where He likes as long as I can quiet my many reservations and trust his leading.
You point out something great- the commonality is not the end all. It’s what we do with it and how we build with it. Thank you for sharing, MI.
My relationship with my exboyfriend was doomed from the start. I was a conservative; he was a liberal. He loved country western music; I was a ‘Weird’ Al Yakovich fan. He was a smoker; I was not (in fact the only time I ever smoked was around him). I was side B-ish (at that time); he thought our sexual encounters were blessed by God (he even called them holy). He had grandiose dreams of being the President of the United States; I was grounded in the reality of paying the rent.
In truth, all we had was a sexual relationship, and even that was tenuous. We were both promiscuous (the only thing we had in common). He was unstable, always moving around and having no end of waiting table jobs; I settled down and bought a house and stayed at my television job for eleven and a half years.
The last time we were together was after a fight with my wife over laundry. I felt terrible about it. I told him that it could never happen again. He told me that I was only good for sex anyway. Our threadbare relationship had come to an end. He moved off to another state and I haven’t heard from him again. I expect him to come back at anytime (that is so like him). I do hope that if he does return, that I will not have sex with him again.
Weird Al! My wife was on the special events team that set up one of his first concerts at his alma mater, Cal Poly, which is also hers and mine.
I got his autograph on my 45s the first time he came to town. If I had an idol, it would be he.
I am proud to have peed in the restroom at Cal Poly where he recorded one of his first hits…was it My Balogne? Well, not exactly proud, as I peed in a sink rather than a urnial. I had never seen such a sink before, and didn’t know what it was…Didn’t know quite how to explain myself when others walked in with stern glances…
By the way, the song was ‘Another One Rides the Bus’. He recorded it while getting his architecture degree. He sent the recording to the Dr. Demento Show. The rest is history.
I stand corrected again, as I did before that “urinal”.
Still laughing at that. You made my day!
Thank you for all your posts…have learned from your insights and experiences. While it would be nice to meet others here…I know myself too well and I would clam up and say little, feeling like I have little to offer. You would have to go looking for me hiding in the corner! I am an extremely private person in relating to others and this is an area I need God’s help in and others’ help to pull me out of my deep-seated shell I have allowed myself to crawl into. Yikes…I said too much, I think!
Oh my. Dean, I think I inderstand what you are saying here. But I do not understand some of the commenting posts. Whoa.
“I am a companion of all them that fear thee,” said the Psalmist.
I can bear with your idiosynchrasies and be your friend, if for no other reason than that you need a friend. I can put aside my interests and try to understand and engage with yours.
I am very clearly living in a different world than others here. I have never felt more like an outlier.
I think the Lord calls all believers to brotherhood, and I could frankly care less about my incompatibility with someone else. I’m not living to fulfill my own sense of happiness, but to glorify Him and love those who are His. And I don’t say this sanctimoniously. My heart is broken. Clearly, I do not belong here.
Kirk, I am sorry if anything said here has been offensive to you. I don’t believe anywhere posted here maliciously. Also, I think everyone here would agree that all believers are called to be as one- that was Jesus’ prayer for us in John 17.
This post was to discuss a balance- that it’s possible to have a common bond with someone but not feel an obligation to have a close relationship with them. The intent was by no means to make anyone feel like an outlier. I have felt that before even in this community.
You are welcome in this community, Kirk. And we value your presence.
Thank you, Dean. I’m not offended, and I don’t think anyone was being malicious. Just disheartened by some of the comments. Love you, brother.
I feel like I can connect on a basic level with most SSA guys way more than I do with straight guys. Even though I connect well the relationships do vary. Sometimes we click instantly and become best friends, other times we click well and are basic friends, and other times we’ll have a nice chat but don’t really pursue friendship outside of that. It depends a lot on personality and basic interests. I think every time I’ve met One I get at least something out of it. I do enjoy connecting.
Glad to make you happy, Matt, lol
Friendships are definitely a lot, harder to make as an SSA male. I can make friends with all girls all ages. Guys are a lot harder to develop any level of depth. Whenever I try to be friendly with guys who aren’t gay, they just make jokes about gay sex toys, and the gay ones want pics…. :/ It’s frusturating
Caleb, may the Friend of Friends bless you with true blue, tried and true, male friends. Keep your chin up, brother.
Dean after listening to you on the Yobcast I actually read this article hearing your voice. Is that weird? You have a very distinctive way of saying things. It’s more distinct then even an accent though I’m not American so I can’t distinguish between regional accents very well.
[…] “Our Sexuality Doesn’t Make Us Friends” by Dean: yourotherbrothers.com/2018/01/19/sexuality-friends/ […]