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All the services below are available and free* for young people to use.
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If you would like to talk to someone about anxiety, depression, loneliness, suicidal thoughts or attempts:
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Frequently Asked Questions
Read responses from our expert psychologist, to some of the most commonly faced issues
The questions and answers below on this page help provide advice to others who may be in a similar situation. Please note the advice provided on this page is of a general nature and not specific to any individual or personal circumstance.
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- I am a 14 year old boy and my best friend just confessed that he thinks he may be gay. Now I'm afraid to be alone with him because I think he may start hitting on me. I won't take showers with him after gym or footy practice. I just feel funny around him now. I don't know how to handle this, what should I do?
This appears to have been completely unexpected news for you, and about your very best mate too. It's natural to be surprised - perhaps even shocked - by information we are not prepared for, especially if we think it might 'change everything'. This can result in a lot of confusion, fear and often sadness. However, it is extremely important that you take some time to slow down and examine why you are reacting the way you are to this news: to actually have a look at how you're thinking about the whole situation. It's often the way we think about or interpret some situations that triggers off our feelings and reactions to them. Our thoughts can make things seem worse than they actually might be. It may well be that - rather than the news you have received - it is the way that you are looking at and reacting to it, that could change everything between you and your friend. At times like this, some of our own core beliefs and fears can come up and surprise us. Yet this may be an opportunity to work some important things out between you and your friend as well. Here are some of the things you might want to start thinking about: How long have you known your best mate? Why is he your besty? What are the things about him that you have appreciated and which have helped bring you closer together over time? Has he behaved in ways that are 'unworthy' of a best mate in the past? These questions, and the answers you come up with, might help you better understand and appreciate the qualities and common ground that have made this guy a very good friend of yours up to now. Then you can reflect on what it is that's actually changed. You may think 'well, he's been hiding who he really is all this time'. Yet, it's possible that it's only recently that these thoughts about his sexuality have been coming up for him. Also, if he has been keeping these thoughts to himself up to now, can you really blame him? He has trusted you with some very important, deeply personal information. If his best friend can react like this to the news, what about other friends, their families, the school, the community? What is the vibe in your group, school or community about gay issues? Can you really blame him for keeping things under wraps? A true friend needs to be very careful about how he treats such important information entrusted to him by another. While this is not information you've wanted to hear, it's essential that you respect your friend's trust in you and at least avoid letting others use it against him. He may not have even told his own family about these thoughts yet. If part of you is ashamed of your friend or worried what other people will think if you hang out with a gay guy, you are about to find out what kind of friend you really are: one that can stand by a mate in the face of prejudice and fear of the 'different' or unknown - or one that simply cannot. At the end of the day, it's not really about what everyone else thinks. It's time to have a good look about your views - both real and imagined - about gay people. It sounds like the thought that a guy might be interested in you actually scares you. Again, while that is not an unusual reaction, can you look at what you're thinking is behind this. You may be operating on some inaccurate assumptions here. For example, do you think that every gay guy will find every other male sexually attractive? Is that why you are worried about your mate 'hitting on you'? It's simply not the case. While even 'straight' boys might sometimes play sexual games with each other, has your friend ever really 'hit on you' before? Do you have a fear about having to 'fight him off?' Does any of that sound a bit ridiculous to you? If so, is it because the friend you know doesn't operate like this? If not - and if you think he is keen on you in some way - can you talk to your best friend about it to clear things up? In fact, if you guys really have been best friends, there's a great deal you should continue to talk about. His possible sexual preference does not make him a totally different person from the one you've hung out with all this time. Still, he may be feeling pretty mixed up and alone right now. The website au.Reachout.com can help you get some idea about what it feels like to be a teen trying to work out if you're gay. He has treated you like a true best friend by talking to you about this issue. By exploring your own views, better understanding what's happening for him and perhaps discussing some of your concerns with confidential Kidshelpline phone counsellors (1800 55 1800), you could be in a position to better support your mate, and not needlessly lose your closest friendship.