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How should I go about meeting new friends in college?
#1
I've lived a really restrictive and conservative life in my hometown, but now that I am in a pretty far state, I want to explore a bit more... But I have no idea where to start, and I want to make some friends. However I think the 18 years of hiding has made me really hesitant in everything I do because I don't want anyone in my hometown to know what I am, and I still can't openly say "I am gay", not even on the webs for some reason unless I put it in a certain context like I just did. Yeah I know it's a lame excuse but it's true!! I'm weird like that...

But anyway, since I can't join the LGBT group on facebook (the easiest way for me to access and talk to people), what should I do? Should I stroll into a gay bar? Am I even old enough to enter? Should I download online dating apps? I'm also a bit shy and I am not the type to be able to just go up to a person and be like "hey wassup?" I'll probably need some set up before I can talk to them without stuttering and being the awkward thing that I am.

Any help is appreciated! Thanks everyone! Rudolf
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#2
Check out to see where the homos in your college hang out. Are there any clubs that might attract LGBT on your campus; they don't have to be focussed on LGBT...but often homos are the ones who form the backbone of a number of organizations.

The other best way? Just say hi to people. All people. Smile. Engage others in small talk. Don't be afraid to say hi to as many people as possible. Invariably, you are going to connect with people and find your way into circles where there will be at least one other homo guy to connect with. Overcoming shyness takes practice. Start small. Oh. And the best thing? Everyone loves a good listener. So if you learn the art of listening and asking questions about others' interests...you'll find that conversation is easier.

You also should hit the bars and clubs. In a college town, there is sure to be one that is favoured by the boys that you can get into. I don't know what your age of majority laws are for drinking but the likelihood is that you can't legally drink at 18.

I have to say that when I was 18, I was just like you....had no idea how or when I'd connect with other guys for fun. When it happened, it happened because I was in the right place at the right time. And then there was no looking back.
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#3
Rareboy has made some good suggestions worth pursuing.

I want to approach this from a slightly different angle.

First I'd like to suggest that you don't just come here once and ask this question. Keep coming back, visit, read through some of the threads that interest you and participate in the forum. Obviously since you are in school, your studies should take first priority. However, even if it is only once a week, when you have a bit of time just come here and poke around … maybe participate a bit, even if it is only in some of the 'game' threads or whatever. I suggest this because there are a lot of good people here from different places around the world and varying ages. I know it has been a lot of help to different guys in similar life situations (i.e., not out, unsure of themselves, wanting to make friends but not sure how, etc.). Sometimes making online friends in a forum like this can be a first step in doing the same thing IRL.

The second thing I'd like to explore is what is it you're afraid of about being out? I'm not asking you to answer that question here, necessarily. I'm suggesting you think about it. I'm also not suggesting you *should* come out now (or ever, for that matter). I do want to point out however that one of the reasons it is difficult to meet other gay guys is because many of them (especially in your age group) are *not* out. They're hiding from everyone and consequently also hiding from one another. There's a lot to think about in this… Way more than I want to go into at the moment… but suffice it to say if you want to meet other gay guys your own age *someone* somewhere along the line or in some context, will have to come out. Otherwise how will either of you know the other is gay? You can't go by looks or stereotypes. IOW, there are very likely already more gay guys around you than you know--keeping themselves "safe" (and lonely) just like you are. This is all just something to begin thinking about.

I think at your age you probably *should* (with caveats) download a "dating app" like grindr or hornet. You can set up an account and create a profile that doesn't show your face. What you need to know, though, is that most of them *do* show location (how many feet or miles away someone is). So, if you don't want anyone to know this, you'll either have to turn off that feature (I don't even know if that's possible but I assume so), or you shouldn't have such apps. But calling these "dating apps" is misleading. My understanding is that the vast majority of guys aren't really looking to "date," they're looking to hook-up… have one night stands. Still, maybe when you feel a bit more comfortable with the idea, you might want to DL an app and check it out. If nothing else it will give you some idea how many other guys there are near you -- figure that for every one you see on the app, there's probably 10 that aren't using it. (That's just a guess.)

Finally, to be of more help to you, it is helpful to know more about you and your situation. I don't mean identifying details. But, for example, are you in a big city or a small rural college? Is it in the mid-west or the south or north east or west? Are you more of an athletic guy (into sports) or are you more into aesthetics (art, music, theatre)? How much do you know about "being gay"? Have you ever been sexual with another guy? Do you have questions about it, what it "means"? All I'm saying is that to really help you help yourself, the more we know about your experience level, dreams, hopes, fears, concerns, personality type, ethnic background, religion (if that is relevant) etc., the more we'll be able to make suggestions that fit who you are, where you are and where you're coming from.

In any case, welcome to GS and don't be a stranger!
.
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#4
A guy at your age needs a supportive community without regard to race, nationality, religion, gender, sexuality or age.

Join a Democratic Political Party. Some places have socialist parties.

The best organization I ever joined was Amnesty International. I would die for those guys and was never very curious. Everyone has a strange family background.

Find people who don't worry you. They won't care about your sexuality but hopefully they will educate you about life as it is.

Three times I worked at universities. I worked in airfreight and traveled a lot. Some times I became different people in different cities. I acted different in certain classes. If I liked the subject, I tried to stick out and be noticed.

Exercise and keep in good health. People who fall in love unexpectedly simply meet by accident. Gay bars are for guys who want sex.
What do you really want?

Since I was 3 I decided I wanted a guy to hang out with for eternity. I found him in a completely strange place.

I am a marine by nature. Keep walking, look around you, take deep breaths of air. The healthier you feel, you will attract others to you.

I think of myself as gay since birth. One day I looked up and found myself in love with Mary Lynch. It surprised both of us. We made love for a few years and she went back to being a lesbian and became gay again.

Whatever you do, don't slam doors. You may return someday. Try to be kind to homophobes and accept the fact that God made them stupid.

Join a rifle range. Great sport and it calms your nerves as you become a better shot.

By the way. everyone to this day insists I am straight. Don't rule out anybody as a partner. I met guys at football games, swimming, demolition derbies and book stores.

Weird guys are the best. They keep everyone guessing so you can change your mind. You often will change in the future. That is guaranteed!!!!

Learn how to relax and be comfortable with yourself. Most of your thoughts are spent on you. Learn to like yourself.
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#5
Join clubs, and be open to meeting new people.
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#6
Psst! You are at college. It is a new place. These people don't know you are shy. Just hang out where you want to and talk to those around you. Other people in class, dorm mates, people you see in the cafeteria are apt to be a lot like you and just wondering who to talk to. Go for it.
I bid NO Trump!
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#7
Heaps of good advice in this thread OP.

It sounds like you've pinpointed some of your own problems.

I'm twice your age and just now recognizing that I'm a gay man. In the very short time since I've done that I feel so much better on so many different levels.

When I was your age I was very outgoing, always joking around and often the center of attention. As I got a bit older that began to change in a lot of ways. I was less outgoing, I didn't really care for going out as much, and I found it "better" to be in the shadows instead of the light.

I didn't know I was gay, but I knew I was different somehow. I think this was the cause of me toning it down.

If you're not comfortable with yourself, if you feel you need to hide, and you're shy....this is probably your defense mechanism. If you're not noticed, you can go unnoticed. If you're interesting and outgoing, it draws attention to you. When you're hiding a secret, this is the last thing you want. Interest leads to questions.

I recently got to a point where I missed the old me...I decided to put all fear aside and set out on a journey. I didn't know exactly where I was going, but that didn't matter. I decided to explore my sexuality and other interests. I was nervous, but I was moving forward regardless.

I looked online and found a place that would meet interests. It was a gay club. I'd never been with a guy or been to a gay bar, but I went to this place anyway.

Since then I've been back every week, maybe 6 weeks in total. Between that place, and this forum, I feel better then I have in a long time. I'm embracing who I am instead of hiding from it. I feel free.

I would say I became somewhat shy as years passed by, as I got older I felt "more" different then those around me. I was a member of the group, but if you looked REALLY close...if I let you get that close...you may see it.

I think this was my mindset for the last few years. I'm strong willed, and usually carried this weight fairly well. But at times it pulled me down. Something was always in the background, some force that wouldn't allow to find true peace.

And now to the point...(I'm at an age where I answer simple questions with long stories)

Since I've looked within and accepted whatever I saw, things have improved for me in a very short period of time. My attitude, my state of mind, my interactions with other people. You need to accept yourself op. This doesn't mean you have to do anything or tell anyone anything...but YOU need to be comfortable in your own skin.

I've been fairly reserved in many ways over the last few years. But a few night ago I started a very straightforward conversation with a guy I had an interest in. The tone of the conversation was very sexual. It ended with us kissing on the city sidewalk.

I'm not out, not at all. Not long ago everything I just described would have been unimaginable to me. But the second I decided to accept my reality instead of run from it, the confidence and clarity that comes with it is liberating.

You may not be as "shy or awkward or weird" as you think. Those traits may be a result of living in fear. Fear is heavy, and it takes up a lot of space.

If you let it go, it opens the floodgates of your personality. You might like what you see!

You'll be free!
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#8
First thing is to leave everything behind, even your old thoughts, to start your life in complete freedom. Being yourself around new people who know nothing about your past should help you build up a fresh social life of your own, where you're free to hang out only with the ones you like seeing around. Also, being open-minded, released from whatever "old you" is pulling you back with, is a great quality.

As to how and where to meet guys, others above have given great advice. Best of luck.
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