How to Make More LGBTQIA+ Friends

How to Make More LGBTQIA+ Friends

Are you looking to expand your circle of LGBTQ+ friends? Maybe you've just come out and want to connect with others who share your experiences and struggles. Or maybe you're an ally who wants to show support and solidarity to the LGBTQ+ community. Whatever your reason may be, making any kind of new friends can be challenging, especially if you’re shy. But expanding your social circle and ensuring it’s as diverse as possible can only be a good thing. 

We’ve rounded up the top tips for making more LGBTQIA+ friends and building those friendships into meaningful relationships that could potentially last a lifetime. But before we get into where and how you can make LGBTQ+ friends online or IRL, a few ground rules, whatever your sexuality. 

1. Be yourself 

The most important thing when it comes to making new LGBTQ+ friends is to be authentic and eager to learn from other people’s experiences and world views. The queer community is extremely welcoming, so don't be afraid to show your true colors and share your unique personality. If you’ve spent a long time suppressing this side of yourself, being reserved or lacking in confidence, it may take you a while to trust new people and open up, so just be honest about this struggle. You’ll no doubt meet people who empathize.

2. Remember, not everyone in the LGBTQ+ community is the same

Be open-minded and willing to listen to all the different perspectives that exist within the community. LGBTQIA+ is not a singular homogenized group—far from it, and that’s what makes it so wonderfully diverse. But being queer is not enough of a commonality to forge a friendship—there has to be more to it!—so try not to assume that every LGBTQIA+ person is going to be your BFF based entirely on the fact that their sexuality is the same as yours. It can be a great “way in” to making a new friend, but if you don’t hit it off for other reasons, the friendship will never last.  

3. Be respectful

One of the most important things to keep in mind when trying to make LGBTQ+ friends is to be respectful. This might mean using the correct pronouns, not making assumptions about someone's gender or sexuality, and being mindful of cultural differences within the community. Remember that everyone's journey is different, and it's not your place to judge or invalidate someone else's experience.

4. Don't be afraid to ask questions

It's natural to have questions, especially in the early days of a friendship when you’re just getting to know each other. But something that may be a bit more specific to LGBTQIA+ friendships than heterosexual friendships is the importance of approaching conversations about identity with sensitivity and respect.

Instead of making assumptions or relying on stereotypes, ask open-ended questions and be prepared to listen to different perspectives. It’s totally fine to ask someone, “how do you identify?” You might also offer your own pronouns to create a safe space for others to share within as well.

Obviously you should avoid asking anything as clumsy as “so are you a boy or a girl then?” But if you do feel you’ve made a mistake or said the wrong thing, just apologize and move on. If your intention was kind, no one is going to hold that against you. 

Another question to avoid is “when did you know you were gay?” as it implies it’s something you just wake up and realize about yourself one day, whereas everyone’s unique journey is far more nuanced than that. Perhaps consider reframing it: “Tell me about your coming out experience” is a great way to connect with a new LGBTQIA+ friend.

5. Avoid tokenizing or fetishizing

It's vital to remember that LGBTQ+ individuals are people, first and foremost. Avoid reducing someone to their sexual orientation or gender identity, and don't make assumptions about someone's behavior or preferences based on their identity. Additionally, avoid fetishizing or objectifying LGBTQ+ individuals, as this can be disrespectful and offensive. The tired old trope of The Gay Best Friend being a must-have accessory is well and truly over!

Where do I meet new LGBTQ+ Friends? 

Now that you know how to make a great first impression, here are some ideas for where to go to meet your new BFF.

1. Join LGBTQ+ groups on social media

One of the easiest ways to connect with other LGBTQ+ individuals is to join communities online. These groups often share news, memes, and resources related to the LGBTQ+ community, and they're a great place to find like-minded people with similar interests and passions. You might spark up a conversation in Instagram comments and then move the chat into DMs, and from there, the world is your oyster!

2. Attend LGBTQ+ events and parties

Sadly, many of the amazing gay clubs and bars that were once vital meeting places for queer people in cities around the world have now closed. There are still some fabulous venues out there, though, and a quick Google will tell you what’s on when. Around Pride there are always plenty of fun parties and events to join, from small local gatherings to massive parades. If you’re more of a shy and quiet person, this might sound like your worst nightmare, but don’t worry—we’ve got you covered too.

3. Volunteer at LGBTQ+ organizations

Give back to the community and meet new people—talk about a win-win! Whether you're helping out at a political rally or assisting with fundraising efforts, you'll be surrounded by people who care about making a difference as much as you do.

4. Attend LGBTQ+ support groups

If you're struggling with your identity or just need someone to talk to, attending LGBTQ+ support groups will connect you with others who understand what you're going through. These groups offer a safe and supportive space to share your experiences and get advice from people who have been in your shoes. Plus, you'll get to meet more LGBTQIA+ people and make new friends in the process.

Making more LGBTQ+ friends requires a combination of respect, curiosity, and authenticity. One of the hardest things to navigate in these blossoming friendships, however, is how platonic, or passionate, a friendship may become. It’s best to be really up front about the fact you are just looking to make friends to avoid any mixed messages or hurt feelings. Meeting on Bumble BFF instantly makes this easier. 

Follow our tips and you'll be well on your way to building a diverse and supportive network of friends within the community. Just remember to be open to learning and growing along the way.