FFAQ–Guy Friends

All right, let’s do this thing.

Here’s the question posed by Nicole which was the runner up last FFAQ (or FOLS–short for Friday… oh, look! Shiny!) as some commenters have more appropriately named it since I’m doing it on a random WEDNESDAY):

Do you have a hard time having guy friends? I know as a married woman, I try not to have friendships with men, but since your attraction is different, does having male friends pose a problem for you?

I do have trouble having guy friends. 

But it’s probably not for the reasons you’d think.
Obviously, it’s wise of Nicole to avoid friendships with guys because she is a woman, and there is high potential for mutual attraction, which could be very problematic and complicated and an unnecessary risk. For me, it’s a lot less dangerous to be friends with straight men. In fact, as long as I’m sure a guy is straight, there is really no danger at all in being friends with him. Crushes are rare, and I find that as a genuine friendship emerges, any such feelings disappear.

I’ve recently discovered just the degree to which being friends with guys is one of the most healing, important steps to feeling like I’m leading a congruent life.

Here’s how it all breaks down.

When a guy is gay, he usually doesn’t feel very good about his masculinity. I’m speaking in generalizations here, and obviously there are exemptions to this. I, however, am not one of them.

I grew up feeling rejected by my male peers. This started as early as grade school (perhaps even before then). I was bullied and sometimes ruthlessly harassed. I was beat up several times by other boys as a kid because my blind eye made me cross-eyed. I did not feel accepted at all within male culture, and I did not feel part of the community of boys I grew up with. I never felt like “one of the guys” in part because of my attractions and in part because of my more effeminate interests and in part because of emotionally traumatic experiences of rejection. (Those experiences might not have been intended to be rejection in every case, but that’s how my mind perceived it.)

This led me to cut myself off from other guys–a kind of self-disenfranchisement from male culture. This was totally subconscious–I had no idea I was doing it. No sports, nothing macho, nothing masculine. Basically, I detached myself from other guys preemptively, to protect myself before I could be re-traumatized by feeling rejected by them. As an adult looking back, I can see that this behavior was pretty irrational, and I know now cognitively that guys were not as “dangerous” to connect with in a buddy way as I had subconsciously perceived them to be. But back then, I was just surviving. I was trying to get through adolescence in one piece. My detachment from male culture became so extreme that for a while I started to feel very elitist–like I was somehow better than guys and that their masculine traits were less refined and more brutish than my cultured sensibilities. I now see this as absurd, but at the time this furthered the wedge between me and other guys and made it so even if a guy did want to connect with me as a friend, I would send him unintentional signals that I rejected him or would give off the vibe that I was better than him. (This was all subconscious, and I had no idea I was doing it at the time. But it’s easy to recognize in hindsight and still happens from time to time I think–especially the unintentional signals of rejection. I think I might do those to this day even though I don’t mean to at all.)

What I had no way of knowing was that I was actually missing something really, really developmentally important. As it turns out, same-sex friendship is an incredibly important part of human development, and most people spend a large amount of time during adolescence bonding with and identifying with and spending lots of time with their same-sex peers. The friendships made at this age are vital for healthy development, and–although most people never think about it because they don’t really have a reason to–most people end up with a rich history of same-sex friendships and bonds by the end of their adolescence that kind of help define them as adults. 

I missed that entirely. And I only very recently realized what a huge problem that is. So, basically there is a part of me that is stunted at the age of 13 or 14.

It hit me how important same-sex friendship was for development–especially male development–when I was doing drug assessments a year or two ago. I’d have these absolutely gang-banger pot head teens in my office–guys who until I won them over would have just as soon popped a cap in my head as be there being questioned by me–and as part of the assessment, I would ask them a sequence of questions that, over time, began to really get at me because these guys ALL answered in the same way and the answer was totally unexpected to me. 

They’d be leaning back in their chair, all cool, and I’d get this part of the questionnaire and, without fail, it would go like this:

Me: Now I’m going to ask you a few questions about the people in your life. Okay?

Addict: Okay.

Me: Do you have a male best friend?

Addict: Yes.

Me: How close are you?

Addict: Very close. (and/or) He’s like a brother to me. (and/or) We do everything together. (and/or) Extremely close. (and/or) I’d kill/die for him.

Me: Do you have a girlfriend?

Addict: Yes.

Me: And how close are you?

Addict: ….Meh. We fight a lot. (or) We’re… kinda close. (or) We’re not close.

I’m not kidding. Some variation of that was what happened, no matter who the guy was, what his socioeconomic status was, independent of race, religion or creed. Seeing that over and over, I found myself really bothered by that sequence of questions, and I couldn’t figure out why. But it finally occurred to me one day: I realized that I had a problem. Whatever that connection was they were talking about, I had missed it. I had missed out on something huge. Something that most people don’t even realize they have because it’s so normal and natural. But something crucial in adolescent development, the lack of which was a huge, gaping deficit in my psyche. 

So, now as an adult–when most of my peers no longer need that kind of connection as much–I’m kind of having to re-create as much of that as I can. I’ll be totally honest, this question is right at the cutting edge of my own development. Seriously, it was probably within the last year-and-a-half that I even realized I was missing something by not having genuine male friendships in which I was totally real and allowed myself to be vulnerable to rejection. But when it hit me, when I finally allowed myself to see the deficit that had been there all along, It shocked me. The void in me was so incredibly large and I hadn’t even looked at it. I had just ignored it. I had missed something big. It was one of those insights we sometimes have that stun us so deeply we almost don’t know what to do with it, or if we can ever fix the problem. Plus, along with it, I realized that one of my biggest hangups in developing friendships with other guys is that I don’t feel worthy of that type of friendship. I feel that if other guys really knew me, they would reject me (a throwback from the olden days, I’m sure). I don’t feel valid as a “guy” and thus my brain tells me that I’m basically pointless as a friend, and that my friends would be better off hanging out with someone, anyone, else but me. 

I’ve worked hard on this. I have a couple of friendships right now that feel as close to approaching a genuine, quid pro quo, close buddy relationship (where I open up and trust and am real instead of detaching) as I’ve ever had. When these friends spend time with me, it directly challenges my internal assumptions that I’m worthless as a friend and as a male and as a buddy. This process is not perfect, and being in my thirties where most of my peers have families and careers and not a lot of time to spare isn’t really the optimal time to be trying to forge friendships like the ones those gangbangers were describing–especially since most of my peers no longer require that kind of connection anymore because they’re grown-ups. But I have a couple of really, really good, patient, understanding friends who have been absolutely clutch in this way, and they will probably never know how much their friendships have helped me. 

So, to answer the question, yes I do have trouble having guy friends. Because I don’t feel worthy of male friendship, don’t feel legitimate as a male, have spent my entire life disenfranchising myself from male culture, and don’t have a lot of practice. But I’m working on it, and it’s getting better, and I’m unlearning the false things my brain has told me my whole life, both about other guys, and about myself. 

I’m going to let you guys know right now that this post is actually really hard for me to put out there because this stuff is still really fresh and current, is all connected to early trauma experiences, and is stuff I’m actively working on now instead of being old resolved junk. I don’t mind comments, of course, but I need them to be extra sensitive and non-confrontational, or I can already tell that this is a post that will have to go bye-bye. I’m willing to put this out there because I mean it when I say I’ll answer any question that’s voted on for FFAQ, but I’m not gonna lie: some questions are harder than others! Thanks in advance for treading lightly.


  1. That was really brave of you. ๐Ÿ™‚
    I'm so sorry for all of the horrible things that have happened to you. I can relate to the distancing thing for sure. I still sometimes have a hard time with making friendships because I'm scared. But I've learned that the Atonement, amazingly, applies in this part of our lives too. It can help take away the fear and worry that seem so overpowering.
    I'll be praying for you, Brother Weed. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Wow! Thank you for your honesty. I have been following your blog for a while now & find your honesty and willingness to be so open refreshing. I am also mormon and feel you tackle such a breadth of sensitive issues so well.
    This post has particularly struck me & made me think about some issues I may have that I did not even realise I had. I am married but still feel a great need for a deep female friendship, which looking back I now realise I never developed during my youth. I am unsure why. It is something I need to address.
    Thank you once again for sharing your experiences, I don't think you realise how much this can help people to think about things and consider a different point of view.
    Thank you

  3. Very heartfelt and genuine post.I had a lot of close female friends growing up, but I always felt that I didn't measure up to them. I am still friends with some of them (we are now 30, so have been friends for about 20 years), but I STILL feel those insecurities. It drives my husband and my family crazy that I still feel like I am not as smart or pretty as they are. I can't get past those feelings. And even though I care very much about these friends, when I am with them all the feelings of being the only one of our friends not to get asked to prom come right back to me; even though I am very happily married and feel fulfilled in my life. So I relate COMPLETELY to what your saying and how hard it is to say it.

    So thank you for your post! I really could relate. I love your blog because it touches on so many topics, and can reach a lot of different people.

  4. You're a brave man, Josh Weed. Totally understandable that you would have problems with this and still do after putting so much distance between you and "the guys." I still have problems making friendships easily, male or female, and I can count my real friends on the fingers of one hand. I think most of do have some fear of rejection when we try to reach out to others in friendship and that keeps us from forming those connections that we need.

    I've suffered from anxiety ALL of my life, but didn't actually know that it wasn't a normal level until I took a drug to help with something else and found that it took away my anxiety. Didn't know how bad it was until it was gone. I'm not as scared as I used to be to go outside my comfort zone and meet people. Not going out of my way to look for guy friends, though, because, well, as a married woman, that's not the most appropriate thing for me. I do get along better with females, though.

  5. This post really struck me because it reminded me so much of my husband. Although his problems forming male friendships aren't partially due to him being gay, he has always had trouble forming male friendships, and now I wonder if part of that reason is that he fears rejection and thinks he isn't male enough (he's a soft-hearted guy and doesn't like sports). Hmmm, something to think about.

    I do disagree though that it is "wise" for women and men to avoid having friendships. I have had many rewarding and completely non-sexual friendships with men from high school up to now. There are still men, friends from high school, who I know I could call this moment, say I needed them right away, and they would be on the next plane. And it has never interfered with my relationship with my husband. I understand that friendship can lead to romantic feelings sometimes, but it seems a bit like throwing the baby out with the bathwater to completely avoid such friendships.

    1. I strongly agree with this, Cara. As I said on another post, I don't believe I have ever received any counsel to eschew friendships with men (if you don't count When Harry Met Sally), and I am very grateful for the presence in my life of some very dear male friends. I'm also very grateful for a husband with whom I have a relationship of the utmost trust and fidelity.

  6. Your post reminded me about this guy, he was so very sweet, always had a smile on his face. This was in high school. He was a really handsome guy too but I always suspected that he was maybe, well, gay. Aside from being a really great dresser, he had no real male friends. He always hung out with mostly girls and I never saw him make any flirtatious remarks towards them. I wonder if maybe he was going through something similar to what you had to go through, with the distancing himself from other males. I've always been curious about him and have wondered where his life has taken him since then. Whatever he's doing, I hope he's happy. And bless you and your family. I've no doubt that you have been truly blessed. May you always be.

  7. Thanks for sharing, Josh. This was all so interesting to me, and also sad because I felt for you. I'm glad you've been able to address these issues and started healing.

  8. Thank you for this! It is hard to go through something like that. And it is super brave to put yourself out there for people you don't know. I always appreciate your words and you help me be a more rational person. Thanks!

  9. Joshua Weed, you are huge beyond comprehension. You literally brought tears to my eyes. I was fortunate enough to have, in my tender teenage years, half a dozen straight male buddies of the same age with whom I developed deep, meaningful, engaging friendship and who were incredible enough to accept me unreservedly and unquestionably after I came out to them.

    What brought tears to my eyes is that up until this very moment, I was totally oblivious to the fact how huge that friendship had a profound and lasting positive effect on me. Yes, Josh, Lolly was right. You are a diamond, but not so much in the rough any more.

  10. I appreciate you answering this question. I find that today I am still trying to overcome the effects of childhood bullying. Some of it was due to Tourettes and some for just being different. In some ways, I'm better for it. I've had to develop a thick skin. I've had to learn to nit worry too much if others don't "approve" of me. This is why I can almost single handedly take on an entire online board of conservative "marriage preservers" and remain mostly unphased. (mostly). But into adulthood, I've had to acknowledge that my need for friendship is greater than I've wanted to admit. So I work at it. I work at remembering that I'm no longer in elementary school or jr high or high school. Several years back I was going through some other stuff and seeing a therapist who annoyed me with how much she wanted to talk about my childhood and the bullying. Maybe I shouldn't have resisted so much. It's hard to go back. Thinking back makes me sad. I asked myself last night: Why do you care so much BQ, why do you care? I didn't have an answer. I really felt I needed one. But I guess a big part of it is I think I just can't stand to see people bullied. That's just my opinion. I'm not trying to open a can of worms by throwing that word around. I think it's often overused. I don't think bullies are always aware of what they're doing. It was chilling to me to hear Mitt Romney laugh off the story of how he and a group of boys physically assulted and cut the hair of a gay boy in prep school. Some people just don't get it. (Couldn't resist bringing that up.)
    Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks, Tammy. I had to shut down my blog (you may have noticed) because of some creepy goings on.
      Since my email is my first and last name, I'll have to figure out a way to get it to ya without posting it publicly.

    2. BQ very sorry you were bullied. It's so healing to be able to look something on the face and try to understand it and how it changes our feelings and actions towards current issues in our lives.

      Ps can't be quiet about the Romney thing though. Prob should read up on that again. You'll be relieved to know, that is not true and very poor news coverage ๐Ÿ™‚

    3. PS and yes I've read the accounts from both sides but I am and have been part of the news media for about 15 years and you can find whatever you want to write about. The fact that they have to go back to his youth to try to find any possible thing to hold against him is laughable. Pranks he admitted to. But the "victim" happens to have passed on, convenient for those writing the story and the family has no recollection of the incident (you think they would have noticed their sons butchered hair). Anyway bla bla, the point is, be careful not to believe everything you read. And I'm open minded enough to believe he was a normal kid that played pranks. I believe him when he says he has no recollection of the incident and had no malace for any classmates. Sorry to go on and on but you opened a can of worms ๐Ÿ™‚

    4. Tammy, not talking about his foreign policy. It is on topic re boy bullying. And anon, there were other living witnesses whose testimony agreed. And I think that referring to physical assult with scissors as a prank is indicitive of a larger problem within our society. Boys will be boys, eh?
      This was the attitude held by administrators when I was sexually harassed for three years by the same two guys at early morning seminary. Oh you boys! Right?
      Well anyway, presidential candidate or not, violent physical assult is not a prank. I see this as "legitimate" assult.
      Oh dear, another GOP reference. Bother.

    5. You seem to like to have the last say on topics. I'm so grateful I have the very rare opportunity of actually knowing the family. Had a crush on one of his sons too. Haha. Which is why I take the ridiculous slander more seriously than I normally would. They are the very best people. Media will try as they may to smother them but I can assure you there will be no "sex" with white house interns or any of the other lovely things past presidents have gotten away with. I'm so happy to be able to vote for someone I truly respect. And yes I'm aware of the democratic leaning classmates that gave quotes. I'm also aware of the misquote and correction the article had to issue.

    6. I'm way more worried about Romney's stance on 47 per cent of the American population, his foreign policy stance, etc,than how nice a person he is. No, this is not a political blog obviously but it has always concerned me that some folks don't seem to care about any issues as long as the president seems 'nice.' I'm not saying anyone here is doing that.Although I don't think it was so nice when he noted that half of the American population is living off of the other half. The thinking behind that terrifies me.

    7. I also agree with him on nearly every issue on the platform. Lucky me to get to vote and feel this way! It is a wonderful feeling!!!!!! And as far as that quote, you took it a little out of context but I actually agree that a percentage of the population lives off of a percentage of the population. Of course they do. And that percentage, whatever it is, has no interest in voting for Romney. People with an entitlement complex have zero interest in him. I'm super excited for election night! Party at my house!

    8. Anonymous, we can keep talking about this. Whether or not the story was exagerated (and I don't believe it was) , it is no laughing matter. It was not a prank. I know lots of conservstives. Some of them, I like. They are nice people. That does not qualify them to be president. So what that you "knew" the Romneys? Not thst impressive.
      Now, at the RNC, Ann went on about how Mitt likes to help people privately. That's great. But President Obama wants to implement far reaching policies that will drastically improve the lives of countless Americans. The things Mitt does now and then don't compare. Not to minimize his good efforts.
      Now as for sex, about which you seem greatly concerned: Clinton was a bad husband but a GREAT president. He balanced the budget. You can look down on somebody who strays sexually, but it's not the biggest problem our nation faces. Not even on the list. But don't let this be the last word. You can reply if you want.

    9. Just because somebody leans democrat doesn't make them willing to lie on a national level. Please. And trying to gain credibility because you had a crush on the son of a rich man from a prominent family who probably inherited daddy's good looks? Desperate sounding. I'm sure lots of people know and idolize the Romneys. That does not speak to his qualifications or capacity for empathy.

    10. I would genuinely like to know what issues on his platform you agree with.The exact issues. I find that interesting. And which percentage isn't intereste in voting or Romney? Romney himself is incredibly entitled. He knows this and is pulling out all the stops to try and not appear this way. Here is the exact quote: "There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what. … These are people who pay no income tax. My job is is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives." So are you speaking of the poor as the 'entitled' ones? Have you been poor? Have you been a single mother working three jobs who incidentally pays income tax? These are the kinds of people Romney is talking about. Now would Jesus go to the working poor and say, hey you are all just a bunch of entitled people. Work harder! Would he?
      A terrible stereotype about Christians in the U.S. is that they will vote conservative and believe that people should be able to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. This is, in fact, the opposite of what Jesus would say.
      Romney has done little if anything to show his empathy for those Jesus woul most certainly side with.
      Now some will say, hey, don't talk politics in the comments. Well in the U.S. unfortunately right wing religion and politics are extremely intertwined. Not the case in Canada, where there is a greater separation.

    11. Wow, BQ, you have an extremely aggressive and attacking personality. Calm down dear. I was taking about the crush I had to lighten the tone of the conversation, not to add credibility to the fact that I am very excited to vote for a president I respect and agree with. As to Karen, both parties want to help poor people. The just have a very very very different opinion on how to achieve success in doing so. It's the "give a man a fish" philosophy compared to the "teach a man to fish" philosophy. People who feel entitled truly cannot be helped. They are takers. Are all poor people entitled? Of course not. But his point was he does not have their vote nor is he seeking it. If you would spend even 1/10 of the time you spend reading the medias slander to look for positive aspects of Mitt Romney, you would be pleasantly surprised. But people with your level of hostility aren't open to that. It's a shame. Life is so much more rich when you can just be at peace. I was excited when Obama won. I don't vote for him but when the deed was done I decided to be optimistic and look for the good in the situation. I am very excited this time around to vote for someone I respect and trust and have the good fortune to know. It's an exciting thing for me and I look forward to voting.

    12. Guys, let's just let this be. This is probably not the best place. Any other post, perhaps. But not here. (BTW, for the record, I think this conversation has remained civil from all parties and for the most part kind–I just would rather have the conversation go elsewhere as it gets political because of the vulnerable nature of this post for me, and so ask as a personal favor to have it continue in another place. Even another post would be fine if you wanted to coordinate that and let the other interested parties know where you post in a subsequent comment.)

    13. Fair enough, Josh. And I do ask that now that i'm being vulnerable enough to put my name on here, that people don't attack me personally (i.e. 'your level of hostility.') If that is not possible, then I will stop posting.

    14. Thanks, Tammy. I'm not sure why but it is much more harsh to read personal attacks aimed at my comments with my name attached to them. I don't deserve it and won't, as I say, continually put myself in that position.

    15. Yah I agree with Josh here… no more politics… it already gets heated talking about gay rights let along why Romney is this and that…. The only thing I will say is voting is a personal thing. All we are asked to do is study up on both sides, pray that you know who to vote for, and vote your heart. DONE. No need to discuss more. ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Josh, you are not the truely happy person that you and your friends and family say you are and this current blog reveals the true psychological damage that has been done to you by your culture. You were afraid of males not because you were gay but because you had learned that you could be "sinful" in your attraction and association with them and you were afraid. Not afraid of male rejection, but social rejection for being "too" interested in men. Good luck fixing yourself, because really there was nothing wrong with you except what someone else told you was wrong. Its hard to fix something that isn't broken. You have been fixing yourself all your life. You will be fixing yourself the rest of your life unless you can rid yourself of the propaganda imposed on you as an infant by your community.

    1. Alot of people are fixing themselves. It's call life. We have no right to judge why feels the way he does. He just feels. I do not think it all bout his culture. Life is messy. Life is hard. Families are dysfunctional. Kids are dysfunctional. Dysfunctional is societies new normal. Passing judgement needs to be done in a righteous manner, no blaming others for our own ideas. Josh asked for people to be sensitive. This post was not sensitive and it saddens me. ๐Ÿ™

    2. This is wrong. Even if it were true what you are saying, you are exploiting Joshua Weed's vulnerability that he consciously put forth before us and at a great emotional risk. Show some respect and if you really need to, bring it up in another post and not here.

    3. Man, there are so much better ways to bring up the issue of internalized homophobia than to completely write off the stated feelings life experiences of a total stranger just because they can't be shoehorned into a morality tale about self-hatred.

      Also, gay guys aren't attracted to every guy any more than straight guys are attracted to every girl. Being attracted to girls in high school didn't make me worry about my female best friends. They weren't my type at all – it would be as likely as developing a crush on my sister.

    4. I couldn't disagree with you more anonymous. The psychological damage that is being inflicted upon our society today is telling men that they can meet unmet non-sexual (see social, emotional, physical, intellectual) in a sexual way and that it will bring about any kind of lasting peace. Josh is bravely facing his deficits rather than giving in to the lie that he can meet those needs through behavior that contradicts his values and in my opinion, God's purpose for him. I've never met (doesn't mean they're not out there) any man who found true, lasting happiness in the gay lifestyle- only that the harder they tried to meet those needs that Josh speaks of, the more rejected and alienated they felt. The only part you got right is that you can't fix something that isn't broken- so good job to Josh for not trying to fix himself anymore and accepting himself for who he is as a man and child of God. That's all I have to say about that.

    5. I think Anon's comment was insensitive, mean-spirited, and unnecessary. However, Mat's comment has me seething. His comment is an example of the attitudes and stereo-types, that are often sadly.reinforced in conservative faith communities, about LGBT that are indeed harmful and damaging. I am on my mobile and about to eat dinner with my family so I cant really expand on that right now but Im shaking with frustration…

    6. I agree, JPD. I'm so disappointed that such blatant homophobia would show up here, of all posts. Especially after Josh's very understandable request for sensitivity.

    7. I'd really hate to see this conversation shut down.
      Anon, I agree with the idea that sometimes we try to convince people that they're diseased so that we can fix them. In this case, though, Josh seems to be happy with his life. I don't think that what he has is typical or even forseeable, but I do believe that he is being honest about his life. I have to take people at their word (even when it's hard to do) because if I don't, then I'm no better than those who insist to gays that they can chose this or that they can change if their knuckles are bloody enough, etc.

    8. Now I really have to disagree with Matt and say that if you haven't met happy gay men you either haven't met enough of them or that you don't want to see them as happy.
      Please stop!
      I would really hate to see this post shut down so please stop!

    9. Josh didn't say anything about feeling rejected by Mormon culture. He said he didn't feel accepted by his male peers and male culture in general.

      At the elementary school age when Josh said he started feeling rejected, he most likely had not had any church lessons about morality or sexual purity, so it wasn't because he was "taught" that his attractions were sinful.

      When we start to notice that we are different from the people around us in some way, most of us feel insecure about it for some period of time. When those insecurities are reinforced by those around us (like getting beaten up for having a blind eye) feelings of rejection can build quickly. Mormon doctrine doesn't teach that it's wrong to have a blind eye–that was just mean kids being mean.

      And as for propaganda from his culture making him feel rejected because of his sexual attractions. . . I am under the impression that a lot of gay men, even outside of organized religion, have a hard time accepting their own sexuality. Part of that is just that it's not as common in society in general. Most people are heterosexual. Most guys like sports. Most people have two good eyes. It's not just Mormon culture– it's human culture. It's society. People can be mean, and people were mean to Josh a lot, and that made him feel like he wasn't good enough.

    10. Jill, I think you bring out some really great points. The journey of self-acceptance is difficult for a lot of LGBT people and it is for a variety of reasons. What I find sad, as a gay man with a faith background, is that our communities of faith so often do nothing to decrease the heavy burden of coming to terms with our sexuality that is outside the majority. In fact, many communities of faith add an extra layer of shame by communicating in a variety of direct and indirect ways that we, as gay people, are morally inferior and psychologically deficient in ways that our heterosexual counterparts are not.

      I would agree with Josh, and I can personally attest to similiar feelings, that many (certainly not all) gay men have difficulties feeling secure in their masculinity and can struggle in friendships with other men. I think Josh's observation, that he cut himself off from guys and as a result recognizes some unfulfilled relational needs, is valid. Where I disagree with Matt, and the many folks in conservative religious circles who think similarly, is that our homosexuality is not born out of the kind of relational unfulfillment that Josh describes. Rather, the inaecurity, low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression that many of us often experience is a result of being demoralized for our non-heterosexual sexuality. I would like folks like Matt to recognize that "societyl is not damaging us by telling us that we can meet unfulfilled needs srxually with other men. That is not what homosexuality is. In fact, for most of history, american society has celebratef heterosexuality and demoralized and marginalized homosexuality. Perhaps, if gay youth were met with the same excitement and support for reaching relational milestones (first dates, first kisses, dances, weddings, having children) as straight kids are and if our communities of faith validated our existence and relationships then maybe our burden of coming to terms with our sexuality would be much less. Maybe we wouldnt cut oyrselves off from peers out of fear of rejection and maybe we wouldnt expetience as much life impacting shame.

    11. I apologize if my comments were out of line, and I don't pretend to be the world's expert on the subject- only speaking from my experiences. I will say that it was probably not helpful for me to say that I didn't think lasting happiness could be found in a gay relationship. I suppose that it could and it was short-sited of me to say otherwise. I just haven't seen that, but then again my experience has been mostly with men with religious background. So please accept my apology for my being insensitive and my lack of caution before posting. I can see where I went wrong and why it is offensive.
      My original intent was to challenge Anonymous, who stated that Josh is not happy (when he says he is), and that HIS beliefs and culture are what are causing him psychological damage (when he says they are not).
      To those hurt, angered or confused by MY stereotypes, please know that they are not just mine, and that they have been a source of peace, understanding and great help to others. They may not fit for all, but I was trying to address Josh's post and what I believe to be the spirit in which it was written. I think he is pointing out that part of his struggle has been to relate to and see himself as part of male culture and that this is becoming more important to him. Am I wrong in inferring that this might be a struggle for many gay men?
      Again, to any I offended, please know I have no such intentions.

    12. Matt that was an excellent clarification. I feel people should live as they see fit, so I take offense for Josh when his motivation is attacked or his lifestyle as was the case with anon. He should be allowed to live by the dictate of his own moral conscience. I did cringe a little when I read your original post, but I didn't feel you intended to offend, in fact it reminded me of something my father might say, without intending any offense or harm. I really appreciated your clarification.

  12. Thank you for sharing so openly things that you're currently dealing with. It's easy for us to think that we're the only ones working through issues from the past. Thank you for being vulnerable and allowing for more meaningful connection.

  13. I've always gotten along better with girls than guys for many of the same reasons, and although I have never felt any sexual attractions towards guys (seriously, males are gross. What are women thinking?), I find myself quite often feeling kinship with "normal" gay men (I say normal to differentiate between regular guys and the ones that dress in drag and paint their nails and talk in effeminate, over-theatrical drawls). I had a roommate for a while who I'm pretty sure had homosexual tendencies, but we had one of the best friendships. We had deep philosophical discussions, played Mario Kart and generally just got along well. Sexuality never really came into it even though I would bet money that he wasn't attracted to girls. Even though I had a girlfriend through much of the time we were roommates, the same-sex friendship we had filled a gap that I don't think my girlfriend could have (of course that particular girl didn't fill an awful lot of my gaps, but I hear she's happy now). Now that I'm married with 3 kids and working full time, I don't have a lot of opportunities for hanging out with buddies, and I miss that. I don't really know where I'm going with this except to say that I agree that for anybody, it's important to have some platonic same-sex friendships and to not necessarily be a manlyman. In fact, I think much of my success in life comes from not getting lost in pointless man activities (except golf. I took that up a couple months ago and I think I'm addicted).

    Don't take this post down even if stupidheads say stupidheady things. Your willingness to show vulnerability makes you look strong, and you inspire people.

    1. Guys who dress in drag, paint their nails, and talk in "over dramatic effeminate drawls" are normal real guys too and desreve being valued, respected, and treated with dignity.

    2. def normal:conforming to the standard or the common type; usual; not abnormal; regular; natural.
      while there is certainly nothing wrong with someone making the decision to dress in drag and paint their nails or speak effeminately, it by definition is not normal, not even 'normal' as far as homosexual men are concerned, it a small subset of a statistically small subset of the population.

    3. I just reread this and realize it comes across wrong and rude. What I meant, and stated poorly, is that I identify with non-macho men, having many non-macho qualities myself. As a result, similar men (many of whom are gay) get along well with me and we can have great platonic relationships. I don't identify with valley girls from either gender. That doesn't make such a person less worthy of respect and love, I just don't connect with that personality, especially when accompanied by drama and theatrics. I'm a pretty straightforward guy and I have a hard time relating to people that hide behind layers of affected behavior, attitude, and false fronts. Many others who are somewhat in the fringe are just trying to be true to who they feel they are. I applaud them for that. I still don't identify with them. They are probably okay with that, because they probably don't identify with me, either.

  14. I've been following your blog for a while and appreciate your honesty and vulnerability. I don't think your experience is limited to being gay. I was sexually abused by my father and as a child, I always had trouble developing female friendships because I was so afraid they would discover the truth I worked so hard to cover up. I'm not attracted to women sexually but I really missed those best friend friendships that seemed so magical to me. I also had to learn how to have those kind of friendships in my 30's. Hang in there, Josh, it's worth all the work to have all those different parts of you grow up to the same age!

    I wish parents really understood the huge, huge impact they have on their children, good or bad.

    1. Ruth, I, too, am a member of that club that no one wants to be part of. My abuser was my friend's older brother. I can't even imagine the pain of the abuser being my father. I also have had issues with friends. My best friend from high school died 5 years ago from cancer, but even before her death we were not close anymore.

      Now I am trying in my early 40's to find that friend who understands me. My husband is my best friend, but it is not the same as having a girlfriend to do stuff with.

      Thanks for sharing Josh. It is funny that even before I read a word I knew what you would be saying in this post.

  15. Thanks for sharing Josh! I don't know you personally, but I work as a therapist with guys who experience same-gender attraction (or whatever anyone wants to call it). This is brave and I think healing and helpful to other men who at the root of their struggle are learning to be more accepting of their self and their manhood. I know for a fact that your blog has been an inspiration to some of my clients. Thanks again for posting- it was touching to read.

  16. Josh was not broken until his community told him he was wrong. Josh, you were not wrong in your attraction to men. That was your nature. The wrong in your life was the community that tried to make you feel that way. You are sensitive and want to reveal your thoughts. That's great! What I am saying is not cruel or insensitive, its the way it is. You don't need to fix your ntural feelings, you do need to reject what you community tells you is "sin" and free yourself.

    1. what? what FG? What is your point in putting that there? If you find anon's comment unhelpful, could you please just say so?
      I appreciate your vulnerability, Josh. What were feeling as a teen is fairly common amongst gay male teens – they feel different, not 'manly' enough (or what society tells us is manly). often these teens then go to the opposite extreme andbecome uber 'manly' adults.
      And I often feel that I am most definitely stuck at a teenage age as well. As a single woman of a certain age, I find friendships essential.

    2. Karen – Josh once jokingly compared reading certain negative comments to finding decapitated babies. I think it was in one of the posts he made shortly after his coming-out post went viral.

    3. Anon
      I agree that the LDS community and other religious and political communities are wrong to make gays feel broken. I disagree that just because Josh has chosen this path, he can never have happiness or peace. He seems to be happy and at peace. Look at his beautiful girls and beautiful wife.
      I would not encourage this choice to anyone else because I don't think these results are in any way forseeable. But Josh seems to have lucked out so why not leave well enough alone. I would like to try to advocate for gay people who are being sold snake oil without disparaging a happy family.

  17. Never commented before, but just wanted to say thank you for being so brave and sharing so openly. I am not male or gay but was painfully shy growing up and still have some lingering self-worth baggage about how few (comparatively – the problems always come from comparing, right?) really good friends I've made in life. Which is all to say, I empathize! Also, if we lived nearby, I would absolutely make my husband make friends with you, b/c I think you and your wife are awesome! Love the candor and the hilarity too – thanks again for writing.

  18. For me I have a resistance to relying on friends that are girls. I have been betrayed and also left in the dust before. Another one was completely not her fault and was due to mental illness. So opening up and relying on girls can be difficult for me at times. I have developed a few really close friendships where I live now and I am working on building them. It is a work in progress. I also struggle with letting people know what I need form them in a friendship, because I don't want to burden them. But that is a huge part of a friendship;being there for each other so I need to let myself be vulnerable and give people the change to be there. I think I am afraid that they will choose to leave me like those in the past have if I rely on them. Or something, still working that one out.

    Thanks for sharing Josh, I am learning new thing about you!

  19. I appreciated this post- it made me understand my own brother better. He really struggled to have friends in high school and always seemed to have this "elitist" attitude and I could never understand why he seemed to think he was better than all of his peers and didn't want to have anything to do with them, and I think what you wrote in this post helped explain why he may have put on the attitude that he did. Since he came out to immediate family within the past year, he has seemed a lot more comfortable around everyone, especially once he realized that none of us felt any differently about him than we did before, and I feel that I am able to understand him more. Thanks for the post.

  20. Josh….Thank you…I am a little uncertain about reading all the comments so I just skipped to the add comment box. This post really touched me and struck a lot of very sensitive issues. I am going to have to read it several times so pleasepleasepleaseplease don't ever delete it ๐Ÿ˜€ It is so comforting to know I am not alone in realizing I am a person in my thirties who needs to work on healing her inner 13 year old!

  21. Josh, you are amazing. I was blessed with many great Platonic male friends growing up, and it's one of the things I really miss since I've been married. I have always made friends easily and I still have a lot of guy friends, but so much of my energy is spent working and with my family that developing those kinds of friendships tends to be put on the back burner. I can't imagine how hard that would be at your current stage of life.

    It's funny, but I tend to not be comfortable being alone with a female other than my wife because of how it is perceived in the church, but there's no real danger since I'm not attracted to women (although nobody else knows that). But would you feel it to be inappropriate if, say, I gave you a ride somewhere and we were the only people in the car, both of us being gay?

  22. Wow. I could have written this. I never knew there was somebody out there in the EXACT same situation as me. Thanks, Josh. It is so comforting to know I am not alone. You're lucky though in that you only have daughters. I have a son and worry that I won't know how to teach him to be a "normal" guy after everything I've been through. Hopefully it's inborn… Thanks again for sharing!

    1. I think Josh is lucky to have daughters, but he would also be lucky to have sons. Or to have both.

      I think your past experience (and Josh's, if he had a son) can ~help~ you teach your son what it means to be a normal adult male, in a deeper, truer way. You have had to struggle with the "normal" guy stereotype, and so whether your son really struggles with it too, or whether he experiences none of the issues Josh mentions in his post, you can speak from the heart. Instead of rattling off societal stereotypes without pausing to think.

      And maybe Josh will write a post giving you some good ideas ๐Ÿ™‚

    2. Thank you for taking the time to comment. That means a lot to me. Ha ha, I'd love to hear Josh's thoughts on it, but also realize he could spend his whole life answering questions an comments on here and never finish. I'm just glad he wrote the original post so I know I'm not alone. And I'm glad to know there are supportive people like you out there too.

  23. I've always had way more female friends than male. I'm an introvert, too, and just find it hard to get past the awkward small talk with guys. I'm not into sports, especially not into watching on TV, and that seems like the thing most guys talk about at least at the beginning. I've read about some programs or therapies that encourage trying out sports and such, but I'm just not interested (I'm sure I'm also afraid of not being good enough). Anyone had this experience?

    1. There are intellectual and thoughtful men out there that are interesting and deep, you just might have to look in new places to find them. The boys locker room is prob not a good place but maybe hobbies or organizations/clubs that cater to your interests. As far as the fear of being unsuccessful. Everyone struggles with that. Whether its school or sports or dating or jobs. Totally normal! Be brave! In your weaknesses you will discover new strengths! And your life won't pass you by being paralyzed with fear. Don't be a "cold and timid soul that knows neither victory nor defeat". Look up the quote. It's amazing. Good luck!!!

  24. I think you have both the incredible gift of clear communication and good (witty) writing as well as being a wonderful example of pure humble honesty. No, honesty isn't strong enough, the exposed stark shameless inner turmoil shared with so much courage. Those things combined with all of the other goodness of YOU is powerful enough to break down walls of misunderstanding and hatred. And it inspires honesty in others and the desire to be a better person. Your readers love you, because you aren't hiding, you are baring your soul, and that leads to understanding and love for those that can see past their own biases. The more we ALL understand one another, the more we can stop pointing fingers of hatred and judgment, and the world becomes a better more peaceful, loving place. So, thank you, again for what you are doing. It has inspired me to try to be more open with myself and with the world.

    All of that of course has not much to do with this exact post, but this post just reinforced that with me. Thank you Josh for being vulnerable enough to share things that are healing and helpful for others.

  25. It's always interesting how much of ourselves can yet remain hidden, despite an extremely strong desire to understand ourselves. To think that you are still discovering new things about yourself is a strong testament to the inner richness we all have — and how much bettered we are as we understand, love, and accept ourselves just as we would others.

    In some ways, it kind-of reminds me how long it took to figure out that so much of my struggles were ADD in nature.


    PS I never had really good friends after moving to a new school in Oregon (5th grade) until I found Sue in 10th. Pretty sure that's contributed to the awesomeness of my perpetual awkwardness as well.

  26. Now let's dive deeper and talk about ADD and friendships ๐Ÿ˜‰ .I've never been able to keep and develop close friendships because of my ADD. While I am a straight female, your words hit home in so many ways. I feel like I have so many "sorta" friends, and so little close friendships. I think I self consciously sabbatoge every potential "best girl friend" before they find out who I really am.

  27. I have a kind of related question: Do you think these close relationships need to be with someone other than a family member? Do you think a kid needs to have large groups of friends that they routinely hang out with? I've recently been more attracted to the idea of keeping my kids AWAY from large groups of kids. I was just reading something about how kids don't need to have friendships outside of their families. Nt that I'm going to keep my kids locked up…not at all. I just like that finally someone says that a friendship with your brother is as valid as being 'socialized' into public school. Am I making sense?

    1. I was homeschooled, and I would have benefitted from a larger-than-the-stake's-youth non-family group of people to make friends with. My brothers were good, but they were brothers, so they had to be my friend whether they liked it or not. There's something validating in someone choosing to be friends with you.

    2. Kayla, I think you can (and will if you look hard enough) find compelling arguments for both sides of this…or any question. But I wonder, if you look back at your own life, what does your experience tell you? Did you have friendships that were deep and meaningful to you? Did you have friendships with your siblings? Did either one contribute or detract from the other? I think your own experience is what you need to draw on to make this decision for your family.

      My children are very close friends with one another, and they have close friendships outside of the family. I don't see one as precluding the other…but your mileage may vary…

    3. Matt kinda has a valid point in saying "There's something validating in someone *choosing* to be friends with you." Sometimes I also think its good to have friends outside the family to realize that your family will be the friends that will never desert you, regardless of the choices you make. Leslie makes some good points too.

    4. I feel that it should be a combination of both, if at all possible. I had times in my life where I wasn't great friends with my siblings, not that i hated them by any means. Just that I didn't get along super well with any of them. Being friends with your sibling and being friends with someone outside of your family are completely different relationships in my eyes. Also you cannot guarantee your kids will be friends just like you can't guarantee your kids will have friends. So working on both is important. Also having a family you can rely on even if you don't get along with them at times is very important. That way if you do not have friends you can fall back on them.

      Okay I kind of went on and on. To sum it we should strive for both because both are important, and different.

  28. Ok…"my Italian mother" line made me laugh so hard. One because it is funny and two because I would have never thought that you were that Italian. Your comments are very thoughtful and insightful and not overbearing.

  29. There are some interesting comments here about people being 'broken'. It reminds me of a news report I heard many years ago about some members of the deaf community who were against the use of cochlear implants, because they felt that deafness was not a disease that needed to be cured.

    We are all broken, in my view. And thankfully we can all be'fixed' thanks to the atonement of Jesus Christ. Problems arise when we compare ourselves with others and make judgements because 'I sin differently than you'. Pride involving enmity for others leaves people feeling like they aren't good enough, or puts them in the position of having to prove that the way they are is actually just perfect. Neither view is correct, as I see it. We are all broken, but all good enough to be worth fixing, in the Saviour's eyes.

  30. Josh, Thank you for this Post. I don't comment very often. But I am an avid follower of this blog and a huge fan. I was so incredibly shy growing up and went through some bullying myself, I still feel like I am working through some of the crap that I went through as a kid. You are so incredibly amazing for sharing your story. You are so inspirational to others in so many ways. To be honest with you before your "coming out" post I really had no knowledge as to what it meant to be gay. As far I knew it was just a choice. I had gay friends who I thought the world of. Some of the best people I have ever met. But I did think that they chose that way of life, and I respected that the choices that they made. That was my line of thinking until I read your blog and the discussions that follow it. The subject is so much more complex then I ever thought and my heart pours out to the challenges and prejudices of those with SSA face. I have been so enlightened by all of you. FG mormon, Gemma, BQ, Tammy, Inkstainedpsyche, and a few more. (But I am tired and I can't remember everyone right now) I may not agree with all that has been said on comments, and even hurt by some things that were said disrespectfully towards my beliefs. But overall I feel that I have been enlightened and educated by all of you. We all face challenges, and having a deeper understanding of what others are going through is really important if you want to be uplifting and helpful to the ones we love and the people that we come in contact with on a daily basis.
    Josh and Lolly you are always going on about how you love all of your readers even the haters. Well I have to say that in general I think that the feeling is mutual of your readers. You have enriched and touched so many people lives including mine. Keep on doing what you are doing, because you are educating and changing lives with your blog.

  31. Josh, this whole experience of following your blog (and commenting way too much) has been very monumental for me. I've had to challenge a lot of the things I used to believe. Maybe it doesn't seem that way, but I have. I don't know if I'll ever get to a place of understanding and peace where this issue is concerned, but one thing I can say for certain: You make me want to try to do better.
    You're a class act.
    I'm currently sleep deprived and nervious as hell about the state of our country. Civil rights. The poor. Leaders in Florida trying to jerry-rig the election (and succeeding). I'm on ADD meds for the first time in my life and adjusting to that. And there's other stuff. All this stress has made being open minded especially challenging (and it's never been easy for me to being with).
    But you make me want to try harder.
    Thank you for that.

    1. BQ, Your awesome. I have really enjoyed reading your comments these past few posts. I agree this blog makes me want to be better too, which I love. Hope the meds work well and you adjust quickly, I personally know how hard that process can be.

    2. Cool. But Tammy you do need to realize that the Mormon Church has worked hard and will continue to work hard and spends millions of dollars to prevent you from ever being able to legally marry your girlfriend. It is genuinely inspiring to see the level of kindness on here toward one annother, it really is. However, the Mormon Church (and other churches) have made it their mission to keep your rights from you. Can minds be changed from the bottom to the top? Maybe. And certainly your being on here is for many people the first gay person they have ever befriended (as much as people can be friends through the internet) and this could go a long way to getting things changed at the top. But people like the commenter above (not sure whether it was a joke or not)hits the nail on the head: if you can handle being on here with people who will treat you kindly on here but will ultimately believe that you should not have equal rights and that what you are doing is evil, then you are a mighty brave person. I think the bottom line is that I'm trying (badly!) to say – don't fool yourself about what happens when the rubber meets the road and people are voting whether or not to give you equal rights.

    3. Tammy,awesome. you so get it. Awesome. It is times like this, Tammy, when I'm thrilled to be a Canadian. Gay marriage has been legal here since 2005. Not one church has been forced to perform the ceremony and many prefer a non-religious ceremony (can't say I blame them).
      I've been worried that you might not have realized the reality of the undercurrents but you so do. Silly of me worry!

  32. This post makes me think about bullying. I think part of the problem is the attitude "kids will be kids".

    I hear this about siblings quarrelling, and recently a mom talking about the bullying her daughter experienced in Kindergarten last year, "At first, I thought this is how kids are and she just needed to deal with it."

    And yet, as adults, do we have to put up with bulling? No! At work, if someone bullied me that would be harrassment.

    To the saying, "kids will be kids", I say, "yes and puppies will be puppies…they will pee on your carpet and chew up your favorite shoes, UNTIL you teach them better."

    The bullying needs to stop, and we can be part of the solution by teaching our children how to treat others, and not looking the other way if they are bullied because we incorrectly believe it is some normal form of "socialization."

    Stepping off the soap box now… ๐Ÿ™‚

  33. Ok know itยดs been said before but WOW! What an incredible description! Itยดs makes soooo much sense, as in Iยดve had this line of thinking myself except not quite as precise and deep and personal as YOU PUT IT OUT! I was trying to explain it to a person that is an adolescent and that is in a similar situation you were in, but because this is not my personal experience I tried to translate from my own experience from feeling emotionally rejected by my father and therefore subconsciously rejecting anything and everything from my father and and ending up repeating the pattern by rejecting men that were capable of loving me! (which offcourse led to the sad story of engaging wth men that werenยดt capable of loving me!) Which is just soooo much harder to get to make sense! (even if it is alot of the same mechanisms!)!!!!! THANKYOU SO MUCH, now Iยดm simply gonna send him this link!!!! (which Iยดve already sent him the link to your "unicorn" as it turned out so has others and I hope heยดs actually already following your posts on here…but this one is too good not to link to!) This is another of those days where I think THAT GUY AND HIS WIFE! Theyยดre too cool! and realising Iยดm sounding like an overexcited american when I say I just want to give you guys a HUG (and trust me, thatยดs very undanish to "sound" like an wooohooo overexcited american!) #anypredudismtowardsamericansunintended#

    1. oh typical I reread it and there are soo many typos as in I started one sentence, but rephrased it and then it just ends up weird and with words missing…I just need to tell you guys I do know how to write english! But I forgot to emmmm reread before I posted…oh and I do know of the excistence of commas and punctuation…the thing is my mind doesnยดt pause in all the right places :p
      Signed #thelazyperfectionist#

  34. Wow! This was so insightful!!
    I don't think I have ever, in my life, posted to a blog of someone I don't know. Truth is, I don't read a lot of blogs, but I just couldn't close this entry without telling you how grateful I am for your willingness to share your life and feelings in this way.
    My husband and I were introduced to your blog a couple of months ago and we both really look forward to reading your posts.
    We have several people in our lives, whom we love with all our hearts, who have same gender attraction and it is invaluable to be able to read and understand feelings they have had or do have but may not be able to express it in words.
    I am a person that loves to figure out why we do what we do and this post is such an incredible look into the why. You have a gift to be able to express real feelings this way. Thank you for sharing it.
    I don't know you or your beautiful family, probably never will, but I love you and them and want everything good to happen in your lives.
    Thank you for arising and shining (yes, I serve in the YW:) in a way that so few ever have.

  35. Thank you for your blog.

    It's so hard to make friends as an adult family man. I pray the Lord brings a bff your way. (That's what guys call it, right?)

    This post reminds me of the movie, "I love you, man."

    It's about a guy who has no male friends, so he goes on some man dates and of course, hilarity ensues.


    Peter Klaven's world revolves around his real estate work and Zooey, his soon-to-be fiancรฉe. After he pops the question, she calls her best friends and they go into wedding planning mode. Peter has no male friends and that poses problems: will he turn out to be a clingy guy, and who will be his best man? Zooey, her friends, and Peter's brother Robbie offer help that results in awkward moments. Then, at an open house Peter's hosting, he meets Sydney, an amiable, low-key guy. They trade business cards, and Peter calls him to meet for drinks. A friendship develops that's great at first but then threatens Peter's engagement and career. Can guys be friends and couples be in love? Written by

  36. There are some issues that only God can heal, and I pray that He would do that in you. I pray He would speak truth to lie that you're not "enough," that you're less valuable because of your differences. Psalm 139 says that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. We are God's creations and He doesn't make mistakes. I pray that God would speak truth to your perception of personal deficiency and heal the wounds of your past.

    I think everyone can identify with what you said in this post. It might not be for the same reasons, but we've all felt like we don't measure up, and often it's connected to our pasts, to judgements we made about our experiences. I believe the only path to healing lies in identifying and releasing those judgements and replacing them with God's truth. What does God say about you, Josh? That you are fearfully and wonderfully made, that he chose you before the foundations of the world to be the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. God says that His love for you is complete, lacking nothing, and that nothing can separate you from it.

    Wow, that was preachy! Love your blog, btw. It's a highlight of my day.

  37. Josh, your courage and faith are inspiring! As you confront your issues, it gives many of us the desire to confront ours. God bless you!

  38. Hey there Josh, just wanted to encourage you to keep posting, even if people try to take what you write and twist it into their own self-assuring world views. When we share the things that have had significance along our journey of dealing with our SSA (same-sex attractions), it helps to spark many thoughts and conversations among those who just haven't thought about it from our angle before. Our silence has left a huge vacuum, and it is really worth it to put yourself out there. A lot of good has been gleaned already, and will continue. Have faith, lean on the Lord, your wife and good friends if comments start whirling out of hand, take breaks to breathe in the fresh air and live life. Love on your kids. And keep up the great writing!

  39. I feel cheesy saying this, but I'll say it anyway. I really appreciate your heartfelt, deep and sincere posts. In my church responsibility I work with young men, 12 to 17, many of whom struggle. Your comments have been a HUGE help to me as I struggle to figure out how to help them. I appreciate your insights, they help me see what's going on in their mind and I start to see the mechanics, things I overlooked when I was there myself. Your comments have helped me find ways to be sensitive in helping them address their struggles and pushing them to be sensitive to others. Thanks for throwing this out there, I really believe it helps quite a few folks.

  40. I totally get what you are saying! I felt like I had a huge problem connecting with same gender peers growing up. I think I more chose to withdraw from the potential of being hurt rather than the other boys actively picking on me.

    Like you, when I've been able to experience a close friendship, it's been very healing.

  41. Josh, I think it is incredibly brave of you to share such intimate parts of yourself. It is no easy task to own one's shortcomings (whether real or percieved) in such a public way. Please know the tremendous amount of good you are doing.

    You strike me as someone who would be a wonderful friend to anyone. Hugs to you.

  42. Thank you for explaining this! You just described my struggle with connecting with other women perfectly, right down to the childhood rejection issues, the tendency to act elite and aloof, and sending out subtle messages of rejection to others. I've been swirling around this issue for years, with snippets of understanding floating to the surface from time to time, but not until I read this post did I almost scream, "THAT'S IT!" You just fit the puzzle piece together for me. Now I'm wondering how to unravel all of this.

    Thank you for being so open.

  43. Josh (and readers), I relate deeply to the difficulty making close friends, feeling unworthy of that kind of friendship. Also, with the bullying. Also with the abuse at home that someone mentioned higher up in the comments. I had an eye injury when I was six yrs old that resulted in the loss of vision in my left eye, leaving it discolored and droopy. I began wearing a prosthesis when I was about 10, but the years of teasing had taken their toll. Add to this sexual/physical/verbal abuse at home (in my outwardly appearing stellar LDS family) and you can really start to tally the "things that mess you up" column.

    It took me well into adulthood to realize that I didn't feel worthy of close friendship. Even the friendships I did have were plagued by feelings of wondering why this person would want to be my friend, and feeling like I was faking my way through.

    One of the things that really bothers me is that, since I was a school girl in the early 70's, to when you, Josh, were a child, to stories we hear now, the instances of teasing and bullying not only have not improved, they have become worse. How can we, as a society, not have wised up in the past 30 yrs? Thank you, Josh, for speaking out on topics that are difficult but so relevant. You have really started something with this blog…something very positive.

  44. As much as I have enjoyed reading about the experiences of others here, I'm starting to wonder if I'm going to make it off the couch today now. Sometimes going back "there" makes me want to lie on the couch all day in the fetal position. I feel like somebody dropped a handful of tokens in the machine and now I'm playing wack-a-mole with my "unworthy" demons. It's times like this I wish I could ask for people to pray for me, but it seems pretty disingenuous for an atheist. Damn.

    1. I totally get that. I have a lot of those fetal-position-couch days myself. I am sorry about the "unworthy" demons.

      Does this mean I can't pray for you anyway? ๐Ÿ™‚ If nothing else, it will make ME feel better, and I know you want that.

      Can I send chocolate and macaroni and cheese vibes? (Those are my comfort foods).

      I'm trying to make you smile to help (if only a little) with the demons. Please know, I do take your pain seriously.

    2. BQ,
      Yesterday I had one of those "I am a rock star if I feed myself" days. For different reason, but I can relate on some level. I will send happy thoughts and prayers your way.

      I think it should be a call to all those religious not just Mormons, because their prayers count just as much:D

    3. BQ, I don't care if you're an atheist. I'm LDS from California, and several of my dearest friends are atheists. I'll still pray for them and you. (Not in a conversion way, but in a "Please help them out and let them have a good day" way.)

    4. You guys are all awesome and I'm touched. This blog is not about me but I wanted to weigh in and thank all of you, especially those of you with different religious/political/social views for your kind words.

    5. BQ – you have softened right up. I say this next bit not sarcastically – you never know, you might recommitt your life to Mormonism. I hope that there are live and in person people that you can be this vulnerable with as well. Online support is great but it has limits which I'm sure you realize. Perhaps you could reconnect with a Mormon temple near where you live?

    6. Absolutely not, anon. I have resigned my membership and that is the way it will stay. I don't have a problem with the Mormon people. I quite like a lot of them. But history cannot be changed. I'm not referring to my history. I'm referring to the church's history. At the end of the day I believe it to be untrue and I can't get past that. But I am nevertheless grateful for the kind words.

    7. BQ, "Deleted….delteted….dell-taco?", Homestarrunner anyone?

      Your comment reminded me of it, if you have no idea what I am saying disregard because it is not important:D

    8. BQ, I'm glad I've come back to read the comments here because somehow my email made me miss this entire thread! Know that I'm sending positive thoughts your way, for sure! You're makin' me feel all warm and fuzzy on this very sensitive (to me) post and I genuinely thank you for that. I want you to know that in my eyes, for what it's worth, you are absolutely worthy of love, affection, support, happiness and joy. As well as God's love, or love from creation/the universe, or whatever higher power you might believe in. Sorry you've been playing whack-a-mole (great description, btw). I hope you were at least able to earn enough prize-tickets to win a fun tinker toy ๐Ÿ˜‰

  45. Thanks for sharing. Sometimes its nice to know that other people have struggles too, even if they aren't the same struggles. And I think it is hard to un-learn things once you've become an adult. I'm no counselor, but I'm trying to un-learn the relationship I have with my dad (we're just not close, I don't know how to explain it), but he's all I have left in the parent department. Its hard, so I find it very admirable that you are trying to change it now, even if the environment to do so is unfavorable. Thanks for your example!

  46. Josh, you are a brother from another mother. Seriously, you are the Auburn Washington version of me. I swear I could have written this myself, but not really, because you are so much more eloquent. You know what, this is just getting scary. I'm going to check my birth certificate today to make sure it doesn't say Josh Weed – Utah knock-off version (since you are originally from here and probably have a Utah birth certificate yourself).

    Really, I'm not going to stalk you or anything, and I know we are really two separate people, but I have never read or heard from anybody who I relate to more than you. I wish I had a friend like you because I know I could totally be myself. I'm a pretender. I think my close friend (I only have one) knows I have SSA issues (don't criticize me,other commenters, for putting it like that… I can say it however I want), even if I've never told him.

    Where I think I really depart from you, and I know this is unhealthy but I feel unable to do anything about it, is that I have been afraid of being rejected by everybody, because I have been rejected by my many, including my own father from time to time. So now I view everybody with distrust and expect everybody to be a total a-hole to me, or to walk away and tell everybody they know to avoid me. I just brace myself for it, and when I don't, I literally am thinking of alternate paths to take so I don't have to pass someone in the hallways at work. I hate getting on elevators with people. People make me so uncomfortable you wouldn't even believe it. I know, I'm sick and I need help. But there it is.

    I don't even like myself, in fact I hate myself most of the time. It is perfectly reasonable that I wouldn't have friends if they saw me in any way even close to the way I see myself. I know it is wrong to feel that way about anybody, even, or especially myself, but I do. And I have tried for years to escape it, but it doesn't go away.

    Eventually you have to look at yourself in the mirror and acknowledge all your weaknesses and faults. You know that you probably aren't seeing it clearly or in absolute truth, but how do you do that? How do you clear away the filters that you have put on over the years and see what really is? People tell me what they see and they are kind, but I don't believe them. I think, "If they only knew the real me…"

    1. Here's my feeling on the subject. Tell someone. Maybe your close friend. If your friend is as close as you say, your friend will be kind and trustworthy. I have a BFF that I have trusted my deepest secrets with and she is my sounding board. She knows everything about me, the good bad and ugly, and just trusting someone with my secrets is so liberating.

      I think that people are generally better than we give them credit for, and many of our insecurities turn into pre-judging others and their level of trustworthiness.

      I had a friend that had a deep dark secret and a crooked past that included jail time. When he was trying to correct things and get his life back in line with the teachings of his faith, he knew that he needed a support group of people who knew his past and loved him anyway and could encourage him to keep going on his path back. He prayed about which friends he would tell. He was led to people that reacted with kindness and love to his past and he built a network of supporters, lucky for me, I was one of them. His courage and faith deepened my understanding of God's love and of the power of the Atonement.

      But I know it's scary to let yourself be vulnerable to people. I encourage a lot of prayer and fasting in the process. You'll find a positive support system if you are prayerful and selective about those you let in.

      Good luck!

    2. Ha ha ha! You guys are hilarious! And awesome! Is it bad if I feel like I need to come forward to say, "Hi. My name is Rebekah and I'm addicted to Weed, too. Yeah, Weed. No, not that kind. The fun-filled, inspirational, educational, encouraging, supportive kind!"

      I check 3 websites everyday (read: every spare second I get)… facebook, e-mail, and joshweed.com

      Okay, there… I said it. Glad to know I'm not the only addict! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I think I need that support group! Good thing Josh is a therapist!

    3. @Brother From Another Mother–All I can tell you is that, for me, vulnerability has been extremely rewarding. If I were you, I'd try to tell one person about your deepest darkest. Open up. It might be a good idea to start with a professional counselor in your area, as they would be trained to handle your sharing appropriately. Your self-shame is something you can fix with the right help, and it will lead to really great things! Don't give up on yourself.

  47. My comment will probably get lost in the shuffle, but thank you so much for your honest answer. I think that we all have those relationships in our lives that we don't feel worthy of for one reason or another. This life is hard, but it's in the difficulty that we find strength, that we find who we can truly be. I think that what share can touch so many people with so many different struggles, not just the sexuality one. i know i find strength and insight in many of your posts. thanks for being you! ๐Ÿ™‚


  48. One problem that I have is when my spouse develops a close friendship with a guy, and then us wives are expected to become close friends as well! I prefer the guys, and find their wives less interesting, and more difficult for me to relate to! Perhaps it is because I'm not the most feminine, domesticated gal, having stepped into the "male role" of bread-winner, bill-payer, etc. while my spouse is more softly, quiet. I really enjoy his male friends. But, I try NOT to develop strong relationships with them. It isn't a good think when his friends start to bond more with me than with him (one did. purely on a friendship, "you understand me better than he does" level. Nothing sexual at all) I wish I knew how to be a better friend to other women. sigh.

    1. yeah, I can relate to your issue! I like to be alone, and have a hard time relating to the wives of my husband's male friends…partly because they are in different stages of their married lives than I am (ie they have kids or are pregnant–while my husband and I do not), but also because I find it incredibly difficult to talk to them about things we are all interested in.

  49. Thank you for sharing. I relate to your feelings; different set of circumstances, but same feelings of rejection. Thank you for being so open and for articulating so clearly what many of us feel. May God bless you and your family and may you continue to inspire and aid many people.

  50. To the anonymous who wrote this "Josh, you are a brother from another mother. Seriously, you are the Auburn Washington version of me. I swear I could have written this myself, but not really, because you are so much more eloquent. You know what, this is just getting scary. I'm going to check my birth certificate today to make sure it doesn't say Josh Weed – Utah knock-off version (since you are originally from here and probably have a Utah birth certificate yourself)."
    I wish we could somehow connect because I am at this moment in exactky the same place as you are. Josh, this post has helped me understand so much about me today. I have acctually packed up and moved my family to be close to a "male relationship" I thought I needed to be normal. I didn'l have it as a youth and have spent my adult life trying to find it.

  51. This is similar to how I feel-not so much about same-sex friendships as to human relationships in general: friendships, either same or oppposite sex, romantic, whatever.

  52. This is similar to how I feel-not so much about same-sex friendships as to human relationships in general: friendships, either same or oppposite sex, romantic, whatever.

  53. Ok…*"that", it should read. I know plenty Italians that you describe as well. It was just funny when I read it. I've got nothin' but love for.ya Tammy!

  54. Josh, thank you so much for being so real and vulnerable. Yesterday when I read this I was struggling in my own heart and mind with how a mental disorder I struggle with sometimes hurts my ability to make new friends. I was feeling discouraged and less than. Reading your post reminded me that we are all works in progress and that if someone as awesome as you feels this way maybe I'm worth more than I sometimes give myself credit for as well. You are changing the world for the better, my friend. More than you may ever know.

  55. You just described my (SSA) husband to a tee. Except the blind eye part. : ) Besides that, I could swear this post was written about him. Thank you for verbalizing it all so clearly. And for putting your vulnerabilities out for the world wide web. Reminds me of someone else whose name would be had for good and evil, and who reaped both praise and scorn the same action. You are a brave and noble man. I respect and honor you for what you're doing. I hope you know how helpful it is for me, even if I'm too chicken to post under my own name. From, Team Josh Weed.

  56. Sorry I didn't post earlier. I just wanted to say great post Josh!!! It takes courage to post your heart. I know you feel vulnerable. I felt the same way growing up as a teenager. I remember walking around school by myself or with my only friend. Yes, I heard the same wisecracks that I must be gay because I hung out with this one girl more then the rest. I will say I find myself now not wanting to be friends with ANYONE because I have been hurt to many times. I have become a recluse. Going from a social butterfly to a recluse kinda feels good in a way for me because I don't have to deal with everyone's "bull%*&^*" pardon my french. I just focus on family, my kids, my career etc. I guess if I think about it, I do it to shield myself to not get hurt, as we all do.

    Anyways… great post. I to would love to hear from Lolly once every week or 2 also on topics for the those women out their who are married to a Gay man. I think I would be a very interesting twist to you blog and see her feelings and her side of things.

    Ok off to preparing my church talk. hmmm I have to talk on "traditions" in sacrament meeting. YUCK… ๐Ÿ™‚ WHY ME? I say… ๐Ÿ˜‰

  57. Josh, I've read your blog for a while now, but I have to say that apart from the ClubUni post, this one stands out for me most.
    I'm an 18 year old girl, straight as far as I know ๐Ÿ˜› , and two years ago I shifted to a new school. Now in my old school, I felt like my friends and I were 'the popular crowd', and by social convention I guess we really were. Then, I shifted to another school somewhere else, and felt like I was at the bottom of the social ladder, for reasons I couldn't comprehend myself. I didn't try being friends with the popular kids, even though a few of them made an effort to include me, and would literally ignore them when I passed them in the corridors, and be really stand-off-ish with them. It actually wasn't till I read this post that I realized that I probably was afraid of rejection and starting off again. Everything fits now that I look back. The stand-off attitude, the cutting-off, and especially the 'elitist' mindset that I now finally realize WHY i developed, because for a while I really did start feeling superior, for reasons unknown to me. So ridiculous now that I think back.
    So yeah, thanks for this post, it was really useful!
    And I guess I'd like to point out that people distance themselves from others and develop an attitude similar to the one you had, for various reasons besides sexuality.

  58. Josh, I found this post to be very touching, especially when you talked about being bullied in school. Your faith and determination is inspiring. As a Primary teacher, I try to encourage my kids to always look out for someone who may need a friend. Hopefully others will also be touched by your example.

  59. Thanks for your insight. My oldest son is highly gifted. His peers and truthfully most adults have difficulty understanding his dry humor and depth of knowledge. In fourth grade, he told me that the boys in his class were calling him gay. At the time, we chalked it up to naive kids and didn't press the issue with the teacher but I after reading your blog, I wish we had taken the chance to educate these kids. They wanted a name for why my son was so different so they labelled him as gay.

    We had him in public school and decided it was time to place him in a school for gifted kids. Even at the gifted school, he was above and beyond the kids his age. He was also extremely tall and awkard at sports so he stuck out even more. In Jr High, he started doing plays and it changed his life. He hung out with the kids 2-3 years older than him and found a talent in acting. He doesn't have true friends yet but he can point to a group of kids that he belongs with.

    My husband also struggled with making friends as a youth. He grew up in a small town in Texas. He was a "big fish in a little pond". He didn't really make friends until college. He says what he needed was a larger and more select group of people. As a teen, he found it easier to be alone than pretend to be someone that he wasn't. In college, he finally found people who understand who he is and he was able to shine.

  60. Being vulnerable is so hard. I've often done the "preemptive rejection protection mode" thing. Thank you for this post Josh. I think almost everyone has these painful "pockets" we keep hidden. They hinder our development if we don't dig in and clean it up a bit. I'm learning a lot about myself by reading your insights!

  61. I doubt you'll even see this cause there are already so many comments, but I just had to say: thank-you SO much for this post. Yes, it was great because that was something I've wondered for a while, but your reasoning behind it all for you is what got me. No, I'm not gay, and I did have some girlfriends growing up, but it wasn't the same as so many girls I knew. Whenever I made a "best friend," it didn't last the same as so many I would see (apparently because I ended up getting taken advantage of most times). I was fortunate enough to find at least 2 best girlfriends now, which I'm SO thankful for, but one just moved away and the other is a lot older and also very busy.
    A big reason I didn't have many close girlfriends growing up (and was mainly best friends with guys) is that I was SO boyish. Pink was a swear word. I'd rather use my own blood on my lips rather than lipstick (I was in musical theatre for over a decade). If my parents lost me, they'd just have to look for the highest, stickiest, most dangerous tree, and they'd find me. …at the top. You get the picture. And on top of that, I then I went back to public school in grade 11 after being homeschooled for 9 years. Did I mention my limp? Or the various slings/crutches/braces that appear to be glued to me? *insert neon "please bully me" sign on forehead* Many of the "friends" I had through homeschooling abandoned me when I decided to go to public school because they felt that I was going to become corrupted. I can look back and *try* to understand that maybe they were just scared for me, buuuut…….. that still doesn't quite make it sting less.
    I'm loving college now (and the Ritalin seems to have helped a biiiiit……..), but I feel like I missed out on so much by most of my best friends growing up being guys.
    Sorry for re-writing War and Peace with this post, but I just felt compelled to let you know why this post touched me. So, thank-you. =)

  62. Josh,Your childhood is a perfect example of what reparative therapy suggests caused your homosexuality and yet you reject reparative therapy (here: http://www.joshweed.com/2012/07/reparative-therapy-video.html).

    Can you elaborate more on why you reject reparative therapy, considering your childhood fits their consistent descriptions of boys failing to bond with others of the same gender leading to inadvertant homo-erotic desires at puberty which are not a pathology in themselves but an unconscious (though misguided) attempt to repair a pathological childhood development? I have my own ideas why reparative therapy doesn't work for most(that aren't the simplistic media-saturated ones of "you're just born that way") but am curious why the incongruity here for you personally? You seem to be the "perfect candidate" for reparative therapy, not because I think you are but because you fit much of the childhood background they would claim caused your homosexuality AND you seem to have a longing to fill the very vacuum they claim to address head-on. It just seems like a perfect match. Have you read Joseph Nicolosi's newest book Shame and Attachment Loss? If so, any thoughts on it?

  63. Hey Josh! I first found your site in June when my LDS girlfriend showed me your coming out post. Good stuff. I'm sharing it with a friend tomorrow.

    Although we have different upbringings and different sexual orientations, I've experienced this same problem. I feel like I just don't befriend guys. Or that I'm always doing my own thing. Or that I just don't know how to form real friendships. Idk. I don't get it still (I'm 21 in college now). I'm trying hard to get better! It's hilarious when I talked to some people about it because they have no idea what I'm talking about. haha. Doesn't seem like many people have this problem. Idk.

    Overall, thank you so much for your courage and authenticity. You're story is quite powerful.

    Jeff ๐Ÿ™‚

  64. You are amazing! I am a senior in high school. I am homosexual. I am also a very devoted Mormon. Your words on this blog have helped me better understand myself. I have felt the same way on many of these things. This post especially. I've just realized what this post is talking about. I too have had difficulty feeling worthy of male friendships, and still have issues forging these friendships. Your words have given me hope and inspiration. Thank you. (:

    1. Its not that lacking male friendships in youth causes men to have same sex attraction but rather that there is an almost perfect correlation between men who have same sex attraction in adolescence that not only lacked male friendships in youth but were rejected by there male peers.

  65. Yes. I. Have. Boyfriend. Do live. Her. Ok. What. You. Think. You. Done. Why. Still. On. Same. Shut. Trow. What. Back. To. You. My. Ass. This. My. Dance. Away. I. What. Dance. Ok. This. My. Body. Trow. You. On ass. Back. Trow. What. To. Hoop and. My. Ride. Back. To. What. Some. Read. For. Me. Ok. All. Live. Of. You. Think. You. Why. You. Gone. Ok. You. For. You. Ok. There. No. Pain. Cry. Ok. See. No. Cry. Over you. Ok. What. Was. Done. Let. It. Been. Done. Ok. You. Do. What. Me. Ok. Stop. Think. You. What. Me. Bad. You. Hit. What. What. Night. But. It. Or. Ok. Give. You. Love. Away. It. Are. Been now. There. Nut. Ho. And. Girl. That. You. Problem. Ok. Bounced. What. Ass. Ho. And. You. On. Ass. Ho. You. Never. But. Bitch ok. No. You not. Get. Twist. My. Leg. No. Get. For. Some. Else. Love. That. What. Had. Been. Gone. Long. Time. Go. Yell. About. Way. Look. Good. Job. And. Me. You never. Have. No. Go. Place. Toghter. No. We’re. Should. Have. Yes. No. One. Man. One. Woman. Ok. Let it. Trow. You. Head. Ok. Gone. On. Life. Ok. Like. Did. Ok. Bounced. You. That. Bitch. Never. To. Me. Bitch. Ok. Ho. What. To. Doctor. Start. You. Treat. Get. Some. Sick. Of. You. Body. Fuck. All. Ho. Ok. Think. Dam. Fool.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.