I’m a lesbian teenager living in the Deep South. I’ve been aware of my sexuality for about a year and a half, and I’ve been slowly coming out to the people I care about for the past few months. At this point, my parents, sister, therapist, and most of my friends know. I’ve always struggled with friendships because of social anxiety and bouts of depression that have left me with little energy. Most of my best friends have eventually moved away, and I’m bad at keeping in touch. My last best friend (I had a crush on her but never said anything) abandoned me and found a new BFF, although we’re still loosely connected. Because of all of this, I don’t know how to form close female friendships. My friends are all the affectionate, “you look so beautiful, I love you” platonic types. I’ve always struggled with this, even though I love the relatively rare instances where they say this stuff to me, and I’m trying. But now that my friends know I’m gay, I worry they’ll mistake it for some sort of attraction, especially since it’ll be new for me and I’m sure they’re not used to it. Right now, I’m closer to my therapist than any of my friends, and I don’t know how to get closer to my friends. I feel so alone. How can I form meaningful female friendships without my friends thinking I’m into them?
—Navigating Female Friendships After Coming Out