Here is a message that I recently wrote to an anonymous exgay individual who said it was “the gay scene” — which, he said, seemed to consist of sad, lonely, self-centered, manipulative people — that made him pursue reparative therapy. It was apparent to me that he was still lonely and weighing his options.

There is no one gay scene; it sounds as though you have focused solely on a “singles scene,” not a “gay scene.” Loneliness and dysfunction are not hard to find among both the gay singles and hetero singles scenes.

Finding potential relationships is tough for gay people, because there they are not easy to identify in a crowd. But that general, nonsexual crowd is often where solid romantic relationships evolve. People happen to meet over shared interests and hobbies, not sex. They come to know each other, and things click. Have you sought out friendships in ordinary settings — sports groups? church/synagogue? book clubs? video game teams? What are your hobbies? Have you sought out friends who share your interests, or have you ought out people just because they call themselves gay?

If you’re tired of self-centered people, then there are some simple steps to take.

1. If you find that those around you are self-centered, don’t hang out there. Skip the bars and singles chat rooms, for example — they cater to lonely individuals (gay and straight) with little in common.

2. Beware of your own potential self-centered tendencies when you judge someone else.

Sometimes there will be a situation where Person A decides that Person B is self-centered, not because B is really selfish, but because B didn’t focus primarily on meeting A’s needs.

Other times, B talks about his interests not because he’s not interested in A’s interests and wellbeing, but because A is really shy and not disclosing or sharing his own interests.

Sure, there are a lot of self-centered men, too. If you think it is the “gay” rather than the “man” that is self-centered, then I encourage you to talk with women about all the selfish men that they’ve dated — or married. I have found women all too eager to share with me their stories about selfish heterosexual men. (And I have found that many women are selfish, also.)

But many women eventually find unselfish men, and so could you, if you want to. I’m just not certain whether you really want to — or need to, if you are also attracted to women.

Whichever way you go, here’s my advice:

Instead of looking for people on the basis of sexual orientation, or in the “singles” scene, I’d recommend meeting ordinary people in a variety of ordinary settings that interest you, based on your hobbies. Meet people because they are people, not because they are gay. If some of your friends eventually turn out to be gay, so much the better — you’ll already have built a friendship based on complementary nterests and trust.

Don’t make such a big deal out of your sexual attraction/orientation. And don’t waste time on the singles “scene.” Whether someone is gay or straight, the trick to not being lonely is to find ways to be yourself and to socialize normally while going about activities that interest you.

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