UConn Tell Me About It: Coming out and making friends

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Welcome back to “UConn Tell Me About It.” I’m Homie B., UConn’s anonymous advice-giver for any and every question on your mind. In this edition of the column, we’ll advise one reader’s anxieties about coming out and another reader’s question about making friends. Let’s dive in! 

Q: I’ve never been in a relationship, hooked up with someone or really ever had a crush. I thought I would eventually find a guy someday and just wrote myself off as weird. But in the last year I’ve realized that I’m queer (lesbian). It’s taken me some time, but I’m finally becoming confident in that. The problem is, I’m so scared to tell my friends and start putting myself out there. I’m still nervous of what people will think and how things will change. Any advice? 

You are who you are. No amount of willingness to change yourself to accommodate the needs of people around you is going to change that. Change is scary, but it’s necessary. You can’t live forever without sharing this part of yourself with the world. You deserve love as much as anyone else. Remember there are resources on campus like The Rainbow Center and mental health services to guide you if you need help at any point. Now, let’s talk about how to get you out there to explore this new part of your identity. 

Firstly, let’s talk about coming out. It’s okay to be scared about how things will go if you come out to your friends. You can probably already anticipate the way that your friends will react. However, in my opinion, you shouldn’t weigh your friends’ immediate responses too heavily. If they have known you for a long time, they might feel a little taken aback. But, what really matters is what they do or say after their initial response. If they are your real friends, they will accept this part of your identity. If they don’t, they might not be the type of people you should surround yourself with, anyways. 

“YOU ARE WHO YOU ARE. NO AMOUNT OF WILLINGNESS TO CHANGE YOURSELF TO ACCOMMODATE THE NEEDS OF PEOPLE AROUND YOU IS GOING TO CHANGE THAT.”

In terms of being scared to put yourself out there, the only way to squash that fear is to face it. Not every date or hookup you go on is going to be amazing. But eventually you’ll go on one that is! You just need to be brave enough to do it.  

Dating apps could be a good place to start. Messaging people online is a little less intimidating than approaching people in-person. Additionally, there is no guessing game about if the people online are queer or not, and people tend to be more straightforward about what they’re looking for. If you’re eyeing someone cute in-person, put yourself out there by asking for their Instagram handle or Snapchat. Start talking with them by messaging or interacting with their Instagram or Snapchat Stories. After you get to know them a little better, ask them out. There’s no formula for this stuff, but these are some good places to start. Good luck! 

Q: How can I make friends as a new freshman and someone who is new to in-person school? 

The best way to make friends is to find people that you have things in common with and talk to them. Firstly, find people that you think are cool. You can find people that are similar to you in classes that pertain to your interests, or by joining clubs or activities that you enjoy. If you don’t know what you’re interested in yet, try something new. Keep an eye out in the Daily Digest — which is emailed to all students every weekday at 11 a.m. — for cool events happening around campus, or browse the clubs listed in UConntact

Secondly, start up a conversation! Find a common interest or cool topic that you can talk about with someone around you. Ask if you can follow them on social media, or get their number to keep in touch. The key to building friendships is staying in touch, even if it is in a super casual way. Interact with their social media, or message them if you see something that reminds you of them. For example, if you talked with them about being stressed about an exam, send them that funny TikTok or meme you see about the stress of being a student.  

Keep in mind that friendships take effort from both sides: Find people that want to reciprocate building a friendship. Your relationships with the right people will organically grow. 

This has been “UConn Ask Me About It” by Homie B. Submit your questions for future columns to this anonymous form. You will be required to use your UConn email to access the form, but no email will be collected from the response. Responses will be published online and in-print on Mondays and Thursdays throughout the semester. See you next time! 

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