"How do I find lgbt friends, especially when I’m extremely shy and socially awkward?"
- Question submitted by Anonymous
As a socially awkward human MYSELF, I will tell you I feel a lot better about getting to know strangers (which btw we are taught NOT TO DO OUR ENTIRE LIVES) when we are all working toward a goal. So, I’m best at getting to know STRANGERS at events, community projects, or work stuff. If we’re all focused on a thing, we AT LEAST have that in common. You know?
Check out your local (or closest) LGBT*Q center. They almost ALWAYS have events going on, and if not they offer workshops, classes, and volunteer opportunities. Another way to leverage doing awesome stuff within the community is to invite someone you don’t know very well. Is there a gal you’re super into being friends with, but you don’t really know each other? Invite her to the BIG GAY POTLUCK. You can literally say, “Hey, I’m going to this BIG GAY POTLUCK and none of my friends are queer, so I figured it was time to branch out, have any interest in gay themed-snacks?”
I think we all know what it’s like to want more friends in the LGBTQ community and it makes us (as people) feel awesome when someone wants to hang out. It’s even better if you sort of halfway know a couple, that way you can invite them both and you won’t be worried that someone things you’re tryna date. You know?
Also, re: socially awkward, I make a list of talking points in my head before I talk to a stranger. Simple questions about a persons work, hometown, neighborhood, mutual friends, travel, kewl clothes, all of that can make for a good conversation. Hit up that LGBTQ center and make that list. I used to hyperventilate against a wall rather than talk to people I didn’t know that well. It took a lot of practice to become comfortable, but I’m here to tell you it is totally possible. Baby steps. I have so much faith in you.
Yup yup yuppity yup. These are all great suggestions.
I will add a couplea things:
1. The Internet. Listen, I am like 407 years old or something, so I don’t know exactly what the KIDS ARE DOING these days, but I do know that there is this f*cking box full of infinite knowledge available to most of us, and that it is a preeeetty incredible way to find out about things happening from a local to a global level. So, spend some time on your social media network of choice and find organizations and humans who let you know about cool shit that’s happening around you. You will be able to meet other people through those avenues, and then BADABINGBADABOOM you have yourself some new lgbt friends.
2. IF you are not out and you are like, BUT I NEED LGBT FRIENDS BUT I CANT ASK MY MOM TO TAKE ME TO A BIG GAY POTLUCK, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. You can find lgbt people doing work that isn’t JUST for lgbt people (ps: if y’all think you can only do work for lgbt humans bc you are lgbt, please note this fact). Is there a local soup kitchen or homeless shelter or domestic violence organization or even a theater or sports or other group you can join? Poke around a little to find out what else is happening in your area, and you might just uncover a little unknown lgbt enclave. Once you are on a team / in a group / etc, feel out the conversation and then let people know you are really into doing work for the community and hope to put your focus on lgbt issues as well in the future. Then they know you are either an ally or a queermo, and you can suss out the situation from there. TADA.
PS: I am SO excited I got to use the word enclave in this post.
PPS: You don’t have to be lgbt to do lgbt work, so you can ALSO stay closeted if you need to and tell your moms-n-pops that you are being a supportive ally.
PPPS: Hiiiiiii, good luck!