One of my good friends came out a couple years ago and just drunkenly admitted that he’s had a bit of a crush on me. I totally accept him and want to remain friends, but I’m straight and not interested. How do I react without hurting his feelings? – David, Albuquerque, NM
So a gay guy’s got a crush on you? Congratulations! You haven’t grossed him out enough with your straight boy ways to completely rid his desire to have sex with you.
Joking aside, knowing that a good friend — regardless of gender — has a romantic interest in you may feel quite uncomfortable. But I can assure you, at least from a gay person’s perspective, that you should take it as a compliment.
We often hear over and over again “I’m cool with you being gay, but please don’t hit on me” from straight men who can best be described as Uncle Fester’s pleated khaki-wearing brother. Just because someone is gay, it doesn’t mean that they want to have sex with everyone who shares the same gender. In fact, gay men are notoriously picky and maintain the same unrealistic standards they place upon themselves when it comes to romantic interests. (That means the bootcut pant and Hanes boxer combo really isn’t doing it for us, sorry to say.)
“Turning” a straight guy is, however, a common fantasy and there is something quite titillating (minus the tit part) about hooking up with a guy who’s a little curious. But if the crush is innocent and playful, you absolutely have nothing to worry about. And you should be able to maintain a genuine friendship with mutual respect and boundaries.
So how should you handle this situation to avoid jeopardizing the relationship you’ve already established?
1. Be honest
We homos love a bit of candor. And sometimes we love it a little too much. It works to our benefit during convos with girlfriends, like ”absolutely do not wear that Coach wristlet or those Tory Burch flats” or “dump his ass immediately for taking you to a dive bar and ordering you a Miller Lite,” and many of us grew up being bullied, so we’ve developed a thick skin and can tolerate rejection. Treat the situation like it’s a good girlfriend who crushes on you, but you have no romantic interest in her. You’d likely be flattered, but also want to let her down easy.
2. Tune in to how you feel
If the idea of being with another guy conjures an extremely negative and repulsed reaction, it may be time to address some deeper rooted homophobia. Again, having a gay friend who is crushing on you does not mean you’re going to wake up in the middle of the night with a dick in your mouth. It is not a reflection of your masculinity (or lack thereof) or the fact that you may project an air of “gayness.” We simply like nice things and you happen to be one of them. You’re welcome.
3. Set boundaries
In rare instances, a gay will be annoyingly relentless in his advances and that aforementioned discomfort is more than warranted. Nobody — male, female, and everyone in between — should say or do something sexually without your consent. If at any time you feel like flirting has evolved into full-fledged harassment, then stop it in its tracks immediately so that your friend fully gets the hint. If he doesn’t, it’s time to cut him off completely.
Every situation is different since we’re all unique and complex in personality, social interaction, and friendship dynamics, so you’ll ultimately know what’s best for the both of you. Trust your gut and understand that if he is a good person, he will not pressure you to cave in any way. And then you can be BFFs until the end of time, even if he does force you to watch RuPaul’s Drag Race (which you know you secretly love).
Or just go for it. Life is short and you should try everything once. Kidding (kind of). [Insert purple devil emoji.]