Devil’s Advocate

Dear Devil’s Advocate,

I come from a very strict, Christian family and I grew up in southern Texas. Needless to say, my family doesn’t have the most liberal views on sexual orientation, but I, never-the-less, bat for the other team if you know what I mean. I am a normal person in every other respect and comfortable with myself while I am at school, but when I go home I feel like I am lying to everyone by not admitting who I am to my family. At the same time, I am pretty sure my parents would freak out if I told them. So, what do you think is the best way to “come out” to my family?

Gaylord T. Manchester

Dear Mr. Manchester,

This is a really tough question. There are so many good answers, but the hard part is choosing the best one.
Of course there is the classic method where you bring home your 28-year-old boyfriend who wears jeans, a black leather vest, and sunglasses. Then, immediately upon arrival, latch on to his lips like a leech hungry for blood right in front of your parents. Then you say, “Hey Mom and Dad, this is my friend Andrew. Isn’t he cute?” The only downside to this method is that it often results in your mother fainting and your father having a massive stroke. On the upside, though, you and Andrew can have the house to yourself while your parents are in the hospital!
Then there is the old “Dropping Hints” approach. This technique requires careful planning and skillful powers of suggestion. First you always bring up your “new best friend” in conversation. Then you offer to bake them Tiramisu. Then leave a certain inappropriate magazine sticking out from underneath your mattress and ask your mother to make your bed for you. The benefit of this approach is that you never really talk to them about it. The downside to this approach is that you never really talk to them about it.
Or you could be a man and just sit them down and tell them. Talk to them as an adult and tell them how you feel. If they accept it, then that’s great. If they throw a fit, then tell them you are still their child and they should accept you for who you are. Eventually they will accept it.

Good Luck,
Devil’s Advocate

Dear Devil’s Advocate,

I am really shy. I see people at parties always talking to dozens of people and I want to be like them. But I am scared to come out of my shell. What if I make a fool out of myself and nobody likes me, ya know? I know it shouldn’t bother me if people don’t like me or laugh at me, but it does. How do I get past that and become the life of the party?

Thanks for the advice,
Marty McShy

Dear Marty,

It’s not easy to be the life of the party. I would be willing to bet that most of those people you see were once like you. They probably stood in their little corner smiling at anyone that made eye-contact with them and then looked back down at the ground. However, they probably realized a couple things.
First, they realized that it’s hard work being the life of the party. You have to deal with some ugly notions, most notably, fear of rejection. But think about it. What if you knew you would be fine no matter what happened? That after all is said and done, you are no better or worse off than before. Get rid of that fear. You will be a lot happier without it. Franklin D. Roosevelt did it and so can you!
Either way, once they realized they had to get rid of the fear, they did what you did and watched the people they wanted to be. Then they imitated them. They practiced. If you don’t feel comfortable being yourself in front of people, then be someone else. Eventually you will get comfortable. It just takes practice.
Lastly, you need to accept yourself for who you are and honestly not let it bother you if people don’t like you. But, do this only to a certain extent. If one or two people don’t like you, that is fine. If you don’t get along with every person you meet, then there is something wrong. You are probably a jerk. Or maybe you have angry eyebrows all the time and people just assume you are mad at them. Maybe you could fix that with some tweezers or something.
Seriously, just be yourself, be confident, and be care-free. It takes practice, but you will get it soon enough.

Fear less,
Devil’s Advocate