Dear Hobie & Monk,
I recently came out of the closet at college. Since then, however, all of my friends have been wanting to set me up with their other gay friends, even if I am not remotely attracted to them, because they feel we would be a perfect match. I do want to date but would rather date someone I am attracted to. While I appreciate the sentiment, and I realize I am lucky to have supportive friends, how do I ask them to stop without coming across as ungrateful?
- Looking for love on my terms
Hobie: Yes, it’s kind of your friends to want to set you up. Yes, no matter how kind they are, it’s also patronizing and insulting that they’re convinced every one of their gay friends would naturally be a perfect match for every other gay friend. There, I said it — because you sound too nice to be offended by these otherwise lovely friends to say it quite that starkly.
Admit, to yourself at least, that it’s offensive and that you’re allowed to feel offended. Take a deep breath and then, precisely because these friends are lovely in every other way, proceed to do a little educating of said friends. Choose the way that best fits your style — talk to them one-on-one or in a group, toss some humor in there, or keep it low-key, whatever fits you — and just tell them what you told us.
And if you do want them to keep trying on your behalf, give them a better, fuller sense of the kind of person you’re hoping to date and you might be pleasantly surprised.
Monk: I agree that all these well-intentioned matchmaking efforts are meant to be supportive. But, as Hobie mentions, your friends seem to be focused on “gay” and “single” in a way that obscures all of your other unique and interesting facets — probably those very things that made you a friend in the first place.
Help them remember that you’re the same person you were before you came out of the closet, and that your choice of whom to date is based on more than gender.