“I’m in college and just overheard my roommate telling her friend she doesn’t support marriage equality or parents telling their children it’s ok for girls to kiss girls. We’re friends but she doesn’t know I’m bisexual because I have a long term boyfriend, but this really got to me. I want to assert my pride and values but at the same time don’t want to ruin our friendship. Any advice?”
- Question submitted by Anonymous
Here’s the deal, your friendship is already kinda screwy. You ALREADY feel weird about the situation. Not saying something is only making you feel a little bit worse and it’s not making your friendship any better.
I would say something, but be kind in doing so. These kinds of conversations can go sour pretty fast if you’re trying to tell someone their beliefs are wrong. Being away at college is complicated, too, because you’re finally in an environment where you aren’t completely clouded by the thoughts / opinions of your parents and your parents friends, etc. You finally have a chance to start learning about the world in a different light, you finally get to meet people who are different from you, you finally get to experience life as your own and come to understand the way you truly feel.
Say to your friend, “Hey, I overheard you saying some stuff and I wanted to have a conversation. I do identify as bisexual and I know that you might not be totally okay with that, but we are friends and I do value our relationship. I just kind of wanted to talk to you about those things because what you said hurt my feelings and I just wanted to clear the air a little bit.”
I guess I sounded a little bit like a robot, but like YOU GET THE GIST. Be kind, recognize that people opinions can change, take into account that she was saying a bunch of things back when she had no idea that it would affect one of her close friends.
Hm. Well, in my opinion the key word in this question is “roommate.”
If this was a friend of yours, period, I would say one MILLION percent follow Dannielle’s advice above and have a respectful conversation with your friend. In that scenario, generally one of two things will happen: 1) Your friend will have a meaningful dialogue with you, both parties will feel mutually respected, and the friendship will deepen, or 2) Your friend will respond poorly to your words and reject your identity or make you feel disrespected in some way, and the friendship will wane. These are both excellent outcomes, because, as Dannielle already stated, you don’t want to deepen a relationship with someone who won’t respect your identity.
However, you have the added complication where, if the latter happens, you still are living with this person for the balance of the year.
With that in mind, I want to say:
It is March, which means you likely only have a couple more months of living in the same space. In this light, I think you should have that conversation as soon as you feel comfortable and ready.
Also, it issss March, so if you want to wait until the end of the semester and have the conversation when you are legit done living with this person, that is totally cool.
But again, it iiiiiisssss March. Just kidding, I don’t have another point that hinges on March …that just started to feel fun.
SO. The long and short of it all is: you have to navigate this situation as you see fit for yourself, and your comfortability. Your question is phrased in a way that makes me think you are worried about your friend’s feelings more than your own While I appreciate your big heart, that should not be your central focus. Your friend has said words and expressed views that invalidate you as a person. Your feelings are hurt, and they matter more than enough to be spoken, regardless of what that means for your friendship.
I agree with Dannielle that you expressing your position doesn’t need to automatically throw her in the “wrong” bin as this will likely make her defensive, but she has to learn that her opinions and words affect other people around her. Maybe you will be the first bisexual person she knows, and maybe hearing how her words affected you will open her eyes to the real, lived experience of so many people around her.
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