February, 25 2015
How to Make My Possibly Gay Couple Neighbors Feel Welcome

Is it ever polite to ask people if they're gay couple, even if your intention is to make them feel accepted?

by Magdalene
Lifestyle
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Dear Madge,
 
I have new neighbors next to my room in the dorm for a month now. Two girls in a room; one is boyish and other is girly. They’re always together, they rarely speak and they never hang out with us (girls in the dorm). They call “honey: to each other. Is it polite to ask them if they really are gay couple? Or is there any other way to be close to them?
 
Thanks,
 
Demetria
 
Dear Demetria,
 


While it’s very sweet and thoughtful of you to want to get to know them and (I assume) make them know that they are accepted, you have to understand that some people may see that as some of kind of intrusion into their private lives. Add to that the fact that they may – likely – be a gay couple, which makes their seeming aloofness and guardedness even more understandable.
 
Even with all the progresses in some parts of the world regarding equality and gay rights, there are still way too many challenges to overcome for most gay young people in this world.  And a lot of the challenges sprung from within their closest surrounding: their families and friends at school. Personally, I can understand the compulsion to keep to oneself or, in the case of this presumed “couple”, keep to themselves. But, then again, they may just be two close friends who happen to be equally introverted.
 
That being said, really, why does it matter whether or not they’re gay or a couple? If your intention is good – which I kind of sense it is – then treating another person in a respectful and kind manner always wins, even if it’s not immediately appreciated. Just start by greeting them like a good neighbor, like you really mean it, when you pass them in the hallway. Refrain from asking personal questions, but feel free to offer helps or share some stuff you may have, like cakes or cool movie downloads. Find something in common with them and make casual remarks when you happen to see them, like how comfy a pair of Converse are, or how much you like the band on the T-shirt worn by one of them. Or whatever.
 
But don’t look too desperate to be their friends. Then they might suspect you of being nosey and snooping around. Just be natural. And if they continue to shun your offers of friendship, then so be it. We can’t be everyone’s friends.
 
~M

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