DEAR HARRIETTE: One of my closest friends recently came out of the closet at 25. I was so happy for him as he began exploring the gay scene in our city, but my joy has slowly turned into concern. He has entered a promiscuous phase, and I am concerned, not just because of sexually transmitted infections, but also because our local scene, especially as people of color, is not so big.
I really want to support my friend in exploring his newfound freedom, but I worry he may not be going about this in the smartest way. Do you think my concerns are legitimate? If so, how can I talk to him about this without sounding judgmental? Any help would be greatly appreciated. -- Drive Slow Homie, Port Chester, New York
DEAR DRIVE SLOW HOMIE: It is hard for people to have perspective when they are caught up in the moment. This means that your friend may not hear you until after the damage is done, but you can try. Ask him to get together. Check in to find out how your friend is doing and where his head is. Remind him of how happy you are for him that he accepted who he is and sought to explore that. Tell him that you are concerned that he is not being responsible to his body or to his reputation by his current behavior. Just go for it. Tell him you know he may get mad, but that you care about him enough to tell him the truth. Suggest that he take a step back to think about what his actions are saying about him and if he believes that the message matches his intention.