Many teen and preteen girls are familiar with Gurl.com, a website where girls can go to get advice, give advice, and talk about the issues that they face on a regular basis. The site is filled with forums to discuss every subject from pop culture to rape recovery, and an entire forum is dedicated to “when girls like girls.” The site also publishes articles and comics about topics girls might find interesting, including an advice column called Help Me Heather. Help Me Heather has been running on the site for years and just today Heather published an article called What To Do If Your Friend is Bisexual and You Feel Weird About It.
The article is written in response to a girl’s letter asking for advice regarding a close friend who just came out to her as bisexual. She says that the girl has not come out to her parents yet, and that she is worried about her, but also that she feels uncomfortable knowing about her friend’s orientation. ” I feel sorry for her, but I feel like everything has changed,” writes the girl. “Whenever we do something where we have to be close, I feel awkward like I would feel around a guy. I also try to avoid walking alone with her and I don’t want to talk about her being bisexual. I feel like it’s always awkward silences with us now. I don’t want it to be like this.”
Heather’s advice? Think less about you and more about her. “Right now, it seems like you’re taking this very personally and making it about you, when really, this is about your friend,” Heather says. “She’s dealing with a lot right now, and she told you guys because she trusts you and wanted someone there for her. It doesn’t seem like you’ve been there for her, though.” Heather also validates her feelings of confusion, but goes on to remind her that just because the girl’s sexuality is different doesn’t mean anything else has really changed. “you need to stop feeling awkward around her like you would “feel around a guy.” Just because your friend may be bisexual doesn’t mean she’s attracted to every girl out there, including you. It doesn’t mean she just confessed her feelings for you, or that she’s going to grab you and try to kiss you. More than likely, she told you about her sexuality because she wanted a friend to have her back. Acting like she’s in love with you is never going to make her feel better.”
She also encourages the girl, who states that being gay is against her family’s beliefs, to make sure she’s thinking for herself. “You say that being gay, lesbian or bisexual is against your family’s beliefs – but is it against your beliefs? Remember, we don’t need to have all of the same beliefs as our families do. You are allowed to accept your friend as bisexual, if that’s what she is, even if your parents don’t. You need to figure out how YOU feel about this. Look at your friend: has she really changed that much she confessed her sexuality to you? Or is it your opinion about her that has changed? And think about it this way: she was bisexual for a while before she admitted it – would you have guessed that anything was different about her before she said that? She was still your close friend before you knew – why can’t she still be your friend now that you do know?”
Sound advice, and hopefully it helps this girl and her friend to remain close, and since it is such a popular website for girls which published the advice, perhaps it will inspire more than just that one girl. Thanks Help Me Heather, for yet another good piece of advice that can help young girls (and women too) learn to support each other. You can read the full piece here.