Dear Dr. Darcy:
I was wondering what your advice would be to a 24-year old New York woman who is questioning her sexuality. I want to have gay friends. I wanted you to know I live in New York because I think your advice will be different for me than for someone from another area. I don't have many friends to begin with. I have been shy and only now have the confidence to start exploring this issue. Thanks.
I would suggest that you volunteer for a Manhattan LGBT organization. Pick a cause that interests you – if you’re into Media, go for GLAAD. Advocating for teens, GLSEN. Interested in being a writer, Go Magazine. If you’re in equal need of money and not in a position to volunteer your time, consider waitressing or bartending for one of New York’s girl bars or contact one of the many promoters of girl parties to see if they need some help.
There are no short cuts to making new friends. It always involves putting yourself in a new situation and making yourself vulnerable by initiating a conversation. I personally have found that as I make progress in working through my emotional baggage, making friends comes easier to me. I’m no longer scanning potential friends for ulterior motives, signs that they are mentally ill, etc. And I’d encourage you to continue working through the ‘shyness,’ which is usually a result of learning at a young age that people are untrustworthy or of never having learned to push through the discomfort that comes with social interactions. Either way, the adult world does not reward shyness…and the island of Manhattan is a Darwinian petri dish for those who are shy. You might want to consider ToastMasters (linked to here). Good luck.
Writer’s Stats: Female, Questioning.