An important mindset for anyone to adopt is not to tell someone else’s stories or secrets for them.
This can be especially true for members of the LGBTQ+ community and their decision to be out around different groups of people, stressed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor Throwagay1590 was perplexed when her friend repeatedly outed her, both to old friends and new acquaintances, though they had never openly discussed her sexuality.
When she realized her friend was harming potential relationships, the Original Poster (OP) had to speak up.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for yelling at my friend for continuously outing me to strangers?”
The OP’s friend developed a habit of outing her to other people.
“I (22 Female) have a friend (23 Female) who always outs me as gay whenever we’re together.”
“It started a couple months back when she saw that I was messaging a girl.”
“She never asked about my sexuality, and so I thought that was the end of it. I never told her I was gay because I don’t know what my sexuality is but I’m content with not labeling myself at the moment.”
“Anyways, the issue started after that. Anytime she and I were out together she would tell people (both strangers and old friends) that I’m gay.”
“Any time I talked to a guy at a club, bar, party, etc., she would tell him that I’m gay.”
“We would meet up with old friends and she’ll somehow manage to force it into the conversation.”
The OP missed an opportunity with a guy because of this.
“One time in a bar we met this group of guys who were pretty chill and they invited us to sit with them. They were really friendly and one of the guys and I hit it off, talking about books.”
“When I left to get us some drinks, I came back and his entire demeanour had changed and he was suddenly very apologetic.”
“He said if he had realised I was gay, he wouldn’t have come on so strong.”
“I asked him why he thought I was gay, and he informed that when I left, my friend had sat beside him ‘just to let him know’ that I was gay.”
“I immediately pulled her aside and asked her why she thought that it was okay to out me to people when I’ve never even come out to her.”
“She switched up and got really defensive, saying it wasn’t fair that I was leading that guy on when I wasn’t interested, getting his hopes up for no reason, etc.”
“But this was almost every guy I talked to in public that she did this with. Even if it was just a friendly conversation, she would still tell them.”
The OP had had enough of this behavior.
“I was really angry this time and we had a small fight and I called her a lot of names, mostly for assuming my sexuality and for repeatedly outing me to strangers.”
“I mean for all she knew, they could have been homophobic, and she could have put me in a potential danger as we live in a pretty conservative town. Not to mention that I haven’t even come out to my family.”
“She got upset that I called her names (I’ll admit I shouldn’t have) and called me the AH for lying about my sexuality in the first place and that she was just looking out for me.”
“I never corrected her assumption that I was gay because I always just thought it was easier than having to come out again despite never actually coming out to her in the first place. Coming out is nerve-wracking and I didn’t wanna go through it again.”
The OP was perplexed.
“It’s been just over a week and we haven’t spoken since I left early that night. I haven’t been able to talk to anybody about or get another perspective because I’m still technically in the closet but it’s been eating away at me.”
“Did I go too far in confronting her and potentially embarrassing her in front of those guys we were with?”
“I know I should have handled the situation better but the irritation was building for months and I just snapped.”
“AITA in this situation?”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some had theories for why the friend kept doing this.
“NTA and best friend isn’t a friend. She is either jealous or homophobic and appears to be trying to alienate OP from everyone around her.”
“She didn’t tell anyone about your suspected sexuality for your benefit. She did it to ‘protect’ these people, including strangers from you. Think about that, she’s treating you as if you were a predator or catfish that she needs to protect everyone you run into from.”
“Best Friend to the world: ‘By the way, just in case she lies to you, leads you on, or gets more attention than me, OP is gay.'”
“By doing this, she earns credibility because even if you deny it, people will assume you’re closeted and thus lying.”
“She isn’t you’re friend.” – efgrigby
“I think she’s actually trying to create some sort of cool credibility for herself. ‘Look at me being sooooo cool having a gay friend.'”
“If you do run into her again, you can just return the favour with a ‘and this is my attention seeking friend. She thinks outing people to every single person we meet when we’re together gives her some sort of cool vibe’ and then shrug.” – sharri70
“NTA – this person is not your friend. My best guess is she’s jealous of the attention you get from guys and tries to warn them away so they will focus on her.”
“She doesn’t care about your feelings or your safety, she just cares about herself.” – grouchymonk1517
Others said no matter the reason, the friend didn’t have a right to out the OP.
“I’m queer and when I chose to come out it was something that I’d battled with immensely (homophobic parent) and I’d have been devastated had someone decided to take that choice away from me.”
“Like you said, OP, it’s not always safe to tell people! I’m so sorry you had to/are having to deal with that. Is this friend – and I use the term loosely, she seems like a bad one – someone you really want to stay friends with?”
“Oh, and it’s great that you’re not trying to force a label on yourself, you’ve got plenty of time to figure it all out and even if you never really do, it’s valid!” – Ruhro7
“This ‘friend’ sounds jealous of you and the attention, and is trying to put the spotlight on herself. She seems super self-absorbed.”
“NTA. It’s YOUR choice whether you choose to disclose your sexuality or not. Who the h**l does she think she is!? She has literally zero right to do this!”
“And in a conservative area, it’s a very valid concern that disclosing this could put you in danger!”
“Don’t walk, but RUN, from this so-called ‘friend’!” – tangerinedreamery
“Full disclosure – I’m a cishet male; I don’t have any personal experience with being gay, bi, or anythings else other than being heterosexual.”
“That said, I’ve had the pleasure of being friends with a lof of members of the LGTBQA+ community in my life.”
“In my limited experience with those who I knew before they came out, being able to control who they came out to, and how they did it, was intensely personal for each of them and very important to their sense of self-worth, self-respect, and general mental health.”
“And this is true not only to those friends who were obviously gay when we were little kids as much as those friends who, when they came out, were more of a surprise.”
“What I’m saying is what you already know: it’s your decision on who you come out to and how you choose to do it. Your friend (and she’s a s**tty friend, by the look of it) took that away from you.”
“She robbed you – repeatedly – of your agency. And then she tried to gaslight you about her own misdeeds.”
“Not only were you entitled to get salty with her in the moment, you don’t owe her an apology, either. Your anger was wholly justified.”
“She is beyond an AH for repeatedly outing you, especially to strangers. I mean, why does she care if you’re leading some guy on?”
“Oh, right – because she’s jealous of you.” – FrnchsLwyr
While the OP felt she was wrong for calling out her friend, the subReddit could see how it was justified.
This argument sounded like it was a long time coming, since the friend was potentially harming the OP’s other relationships and sharing something incredibly private that she wasn’t ready to announce.