I need advice in dealing with a friendship

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    I'm 17 years old currently a senior in high school. For my sophomore and junior years my best friend was a guy whom I'll call Max. Max and I became really close our sophomore years and we bonded through our discussions of politics, love of history and other nerdy things, running, and a school organized trivia club called Knowledge Bowl. Max became severely depressed his second half of sophomore year and I helped him through as best as I could. Around our junior year things started to turn a little bit sour. We argued a lot more and fought over stupid things. I began to become unhappy and I could sense he was too. In late April he pretty much cut me off unannounced and that was hard for me to handle. Around that time I was going through a rough time mentally and that didn't help at all. Sometime in May he asked to talk to me and I agreed and he told he was gay, and that he had had a crush on me since we became friends. He told me how part of the reason he acted the way he did much of our junior year was that he knew I didn't like him that way (I'm bi) and didn't know how to deal with the fact I didn't like him in that way. This took me a little bit aback as I did not really expect that but I forgave him for how he acted. Max then told me how he felt a burden had been lifted off his shoulders now that he came out. Throughout the summer Max began to act and dress differently (more feminine clothing one could say) and made new friends exclusively with women. We saw each other a few times over the summer with stuff I planned but Max never invited me to hang or anything. By the start of this school year I saw that Max had changed a lot in my mind and didn't feel the same as when I was best friends with him. He insisted that we can still be friends, just not best friends or at that level anymore. This is where I need some advice – I don't know what to do. Max never hangs out with me or his old guy friends anymore (he says he doesn't like being around straight men), and we occasionally talk over text when we see something funny. Recently I have found it kind of painful for me to communicate with him. I see him all the time at school, and we are both involved with running and Knowledge Bowl, and whenever I see him I get reminded of when we used to be friends and how things between us and Max himself have changed and I'll be the first to admit it hurts a bit. I've contemplated cutting him off, but I don't know if that is the right decision because I'll still see him at school and in running and Knowledge Bowl (I can't quit those because I am a captain for both). But part of me is telling myself just try and move on as best you can without cutting him off and then you'll never see him again once you graduate. But I don't know what to do. Any advice would be nice.



    Dear mntwinsfan:

    The old friendship with Max is over and done with. The new association with him is more of an acquaintance. The good thing about the new association is that you no longer argue and fight, the feel-bad part is that you lost the comfort of bonding with him, before the argument/ fighting part started.

    You shared that he was severely depressed, then came out as a gay man, changed his clothing, and started hanging out with women, no longer with men, because, he said he doesn't feel comfortable spending time with straight men.

    Reads to me that he is doing the best he can to avoid becoming severely depressed again, and anxious, not trying to hurt you but trying to emotionally survive his circumstances and challenges. If you can, let him be, accept what was and what is, and treat him respectfully in the context of the new association, no longer expecting it to be the friendship that was and is no longer.




    Hi mntwinsfan,

    He either has become what he truly is, and you should feel happy for him. OR, the authentic him is still there, and you can one day reconnect with him reminiscent of the old days.

    But right now he is in his transition phase. He is trying to finally be a gay man in high school while he can. Also, he is protecting his feelings because he knew you wouldn't be interested in him.

    I've found that with fading friendships in high school is that one day decades from now, you do meet up again. And then you can re-bond, joyfully, as full grown adults.



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