Welcome to Friendzone, Jezebel's column devoted to dealing with the valuable people in your life who you're not humping. Got an issue and looking for guidance? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I'm a lesbian in a relationship with the most wonderful girl I've ever met. We're engaged. She makes me so happy. But we have a mutual guy friend who has a big crush on me. Since both me and my girlfriend are in the closet, and our relationship is a secret, the guy has begun asking my girlfriend and plenty of other people to set me up with him. And they try. Constantly. At first it was just jokes and childish teasing, but it's gotten steadily worse. He's nice. He's 100% awkward. He's a major Christian. And I'm gay. My girlfriend cries about it all the time and it doesn't help her depression. What should I do?
Look, I'm not going to tell you to come out of the closet. I don't know the details of your life, and I want you to make choices that keep you physically and emotionally safe. I also don't know how old you are; if you still live under your parents' roof; what would happen if your parents found out; and so many other things. All I can do is make a call based on what little information I have about you. And here's that call: it's time for you to get some help from a higher power, in this case, your local LGBTQ advocacy group. Check out the site Everyone Is Gay for info on LGBTQ groups in your area.
Tell the guy you're not interested in a romantic relationship with him, although you certainly appreciate his friendship. No means no means no. If he's as nice as you say he is, he'll get it right away. Tell your other friends to buzz off about the relationship stuff. And then get to work on yourself, figuring out how and why you think you need to choose to live in a secret marriage. It sounds like a hell of a burden. It seems to me you need greater personal support right now than I can give you here. Seek out a therapist who is open to working with LGBTQ issues. Some folks will even do therapy over the phone or Skype. I wish you the best.
I have a wonderful friend who's been in my life for a long time and is pretty much my favorite person. We care about each other like family. She's a big girl - I won't call her fat because I've never heard her use that term for herself - and I've seen her overcome a lot of shame to become confident and absolutely stunning. However, her health has been taking a turn for the worse lately. To be clear, I don't think any of her health problems are due to her weight, but I do think she's ignoring some potentially dangerous symptoms because she's afraid of how she'll be treated by doctors. How do I talk to her about her health without making the issue worse? My friends and I are really worried she won't seek care. (If it helps, I'm an ally with a fat acceptance group in our city, but I'm afraid even inviting my friend to join us would make her upset.)
You sound like such a cool person! And you've made this a really easy question to answer, because you're already doing such good ally work. Ask your friends at the fat acceptance group for fat-friendly doctors who won't shame somebody for being bigger. I'm aware there's a difference between shaming someone for being bigger and offering actual helpful suggestions for a healthy life. I'm also aware that fat does not always equal unhealthy, or vice versa. But ask the women for good recommendations – I say women specifically because I know some doctors treat men and women differently when it comes to weight issues.
Then have a frank chat with your friend, one-on-one. Tell her you're genuinely worried about her health problems and that you suspect she has been avoiding the doctor because of past bad experiences. Let her know you did a little research and found a doctor who is cool (you can just say you asked some friends who are smart about this stuff). And then you might even offer to go with her and wait outside while she is seen by the doctor.
You are a great friend. She is lucky to have you.
So, I have a very good friend who is openly lesbian and her and her girlfriend just got engaged. Yay! They wanted to go to a gay club to celebrate. I knew my boyfriend wouldn't go as he does not like going to gay clubs because he gets hit on a LOT and it makes him uncomfortable. So of course he politely declines and my good friend takes this opportunity to tell me to tell him to "stop being so damn homophobic." My boyfriend has no issues with LGBTQ people. He just hates the club scene. What should I say to her?
Well, first things first. I think a lot of folks are going to hear this question and wonder if your dude is in fact a homophobe. (I know because I threw it out to my Twitter people and we all went back and forth about it for a bit). My opinion is that if he genuinely dislikes getting hit on in clubs, he and I should be buddies, because I feel the same way! It doesn't matter to me what the person's gender is. There's just something skeezy about people getting too close to me in a loud environment, breathing alcohol fumes in my face, not even trying to have a real conversation about something interesting.
You might want to have a little chat about this with your man just to make sure you really know his attitude on this. Because if it turns out that he loves going to clubs where women hit on him, maybe he's got a little homophobia going on – albeit a mild case. "A Wee Touch of the 'Phobez" is what I like to call it. It doesn't freak me out as much as your more aggressive forms of homophobia because I feel one can work with A Wee Touch of the 'Phobez and cure it rather promptly through good dialogue and education. (If I had a church, we would invite homophobic kids to go to Homophobia Conversion Therapy where they were "cured" of being hateful. There would be a lot of interpretive dance because it is my favorite thing.)
Once you're sure of his position on this matter, take it to your friend. Have an honest conversation. Tell her the truth – either he doesn't like getting hit on at all, or he doesn't like getting hit on by dudes. You and your friend can have a talk about what that means for your friendship – if she doesn't want to be around him; if she resents him; and why she jumped immediately to the conclusion that he is a homophobe.
Illustration by Pete Ryan.