Tag Archives: gay life

THE BOOK THAT CHANGED MY LIFE

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I remember the day so vividly. With plenty of time on my hands due to a mid-semester university break I found myself wandering along the main street of my neighbourhood. It was an unseasonably hot winter’s day and I was enjoying my outdoor meander when something compelled me to enter a bookstore that I had so often passed and yet had never really noticed. As I entered what could only be described as a typically normal looking bookstore with no defining character yet abundance of charm, a book caught my attention. Turquoise and yellow in colour, the cover was simple which made the title sing out louder – The Power of Now.  I walked over to the shelf and picked up the book from its wooden altar. When I turned it over and read the description on the back I was instantly enthralled. With book in hand I returned home and began the most perception shifting lesson of my life. My mortal words cannot rightly describe the premise of the book which was written by Eckhart Tolle, a man who had not scribed anything of note prior to this book. Tolle will attest to the fact that the source of his inspiration was from something higher than himself.

In simplest terms though, the main teaching is that you are not the voice inside of your head but the awareness behind that voice. Although this may sound a bit airy fairy to the average reader, I wholeheartedly encourage you to read The Power of Now for yourself. Without a doubt this book is the impetus for my journey of self awareness and curiosity of self improvement. It took me no more than one day to read from cover to cover and I can so clearly recall the ‘uh huh moment’ (as Oprah often describes them) when everything clicked. It was as if for the first time in my 23 years I could see the world for the magical place that it honestly is; everything seemed so bright and illuminated and my body felt intoxicated by life itself.

I’m going to end my post here before my enthusiasm puts you off and you discount me for a total madman. Before you go though, I would like to share a very special quote with you. Taken from chapter 8, this quote is my personal mantra, the lesson that I try so hard to practice daily and I do hope that it may help you too.

True salvation is fulfilment, peace, life in all its fullness. It is to be who you are, to feel within you the good that has no opposite, the joy of being that depends on nothing outside of itself.

–  Eckhart Tolle

Follow this link to read more about the The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment

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GAY CLUBS ARE A REFLECTION OF YOU

A crowd in a gay club

I’ve had a love-hate relationship with gay clubs over the years but in this short video I discuss how they are actually a reflection of your state of mind and I offer some advice on what you can do to improve your gay clubbing experience.

Watch below or click here.

 

 

 

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GAY TEENAGERS AND THE MISSED YEARS

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Last night I watched a beautiful Dutch film called Jongens (Boys). It was the story of two teenage boys and their relationship and it made me reflect on my own teenage years. Watch the video below then check out the trailer for the film here.

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MODERN GAY CHALLENGE: 31 POSTS IN 31 DAYS

GAY VIDEO BLOG

Something momentous is happening on November 7th and to mark the occasion I will be posting 31 videos over 31 days. Nothing is off limits as I discuss everything related to modern gay life from sex, drugs, parties, boys and self esteem.

 

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SEX WITH A STRAIGHT GUY (PART 1)

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Based on a true story.

The summer of 2005 was the most sexually exciting summer of my life. There was a feeling of freedom, of fun and of possibility. It felt as though I had finally found my niche. After years of coming to terms with my sexuality I had finally uncovered a world of nightclubs and friends that were embracing of people of my kind.  It was a summer of music festivals and boys and sweaty underground parties named Bang Gang, Starfuckers, Gay Bash and Healthclub. It was a summer of dance floors filled with fags and poofters and hags and drag queens and inquisitive straight boys whose sexuality was as questionable as the drugs they put in their bodies. There was a youthfulness in the air and the atmosphere was electrified by music aptly called electro. The summer was bright, not only because the sun seemed to set late and the disco lights shone for hours but fluorescent fashion was coming into vogue. Every Saturday was punctuated by a new purchase of fluro clothing which we paired with extremely short denim short or an oversized singlet cut so deep in the neck and underarms that it looked as if someone had tried to rip it off your body.

My days were spent lazing by my pool, which because of its proximity to the beach, became the central meeting point for all my friends after hours spent on the sand. We would watch the summer afternoons roll into nights from the prime position of deck chairs, strategically placed to catch every last ray of light. The Australian sun is famously harsh but staying cool was easy with the aid of bitterly icy beers and frequent dips in our own personal backyard lagoon.

I moved around that summer with a wildly fun group of friends. We were a mix of different backgrounds; an American girl named Tessa who was studying abroad, a private school boy named Rich, his best friend and keen surfer, Dave and another boy James who at the time was the love of my life. James and I were the only gay guys in our tight club of five and although we constantly hooked up, it was an enduring summer of unrequited love (on my part). James was so different to me. He had been out of the closet since 15 and was so at ease with his sexuality. I on the other hand had just come out to my friends and was still unsure of myself. James was an only child who lived with his mum in an apartment while I had a sister and lived with my parents in home that was on the other side of modest in size. He had graduated from a public school that was accepting of gay students whereas I had spent my entire education at a conservative private school that avoided recognising the issue. Even geographically we lived on opposite sides of the Eastern Suburbs train line.

Physically we were very different too. He was smaller than me in both frame and height, with long chocolate brown hair that fell across his face and a chiseled jaw line that seemed to be carved from stone. His skin was golden which he was lucky enough to have inherited from his Italian grandparents and covered in the perfect amount of dark hair. He was the most beautiful boy I had ever seen. I was 6’3, fair, hairy and broad.

We met at university after I had spent the first semester pining over him from a distance. I can’t recall the details of how our paths crossed but I think that the now defunct social media site Myspace may have had something to do with it. By the end of the summer I considered him one of my closest friends, particularly after I realised that he would never love me like I did him. I don’t think the other members of our clan knew how strongly I felt for James nor was it important. What was important though was that each day was filled with pursuits of pleasure which often extended to pleasure of a sexual kind. As a group of two straight guys, two gay guys and a girl we certainly found ourselves in interesting sexual situations, the details of which need not be relived again. There was one incident though that was a turning point for our group and, from which I have learnt a life lesson that fundamentally changed my perception of sex and friendship.

It was two months into the summer, at the point in the year where the temperature is at its peak and the days their longest when the lines between friendship and lovers became blurred. The closer that we became as group of friends, the further the boundaries of sexual identity were pushed until one sexually charged evening changed everything indefinitely….

(Part two coming soon)

Image by Sebastian Faena 

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MY GREATEST FEAR HAS ME CRIPPLED

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It’s been so long since my last post. 92 days to be exact and the longest time since I first started this site. While I wish I could blame it on writer’s block, this is certainly not the case – I’ve had so much that I’ve wanted to share with you. On the surface I blame my job for my lack of writing as it consumes so much of my time and energy but this isn’t the cause either. What I’ve come to realise is much deeper than effort or inspiration, it is something that has affected me throughout my life and permeates all facets of my being. What I’m referring to is vulnerability and the repercussions of not giving into it.

Vulnerability is the ability to put yourself out there, wholeheartedly, in the scary big world, for all to see, and without control of the outcome. It’s the strength to forfeit expectations and honestly live in the moment. I’m certainly not the first to discuss this topic, researcher Brené Brown does a far more eloquent job at explaining the concept in this widely watched Ted Talk, but this is the first time that I’ve realised how debilitating the fear of vulnerability can be.

But first, how does this impact on writing? Well, my writing can almost be seen as a metaphor for my life. When I write I ruminate over every word and every sentence, making sure the end product is perfect. If I don’t think that the final product is perfect, particularly in the eyes of others, then I won’t push publish on WordPress. If only you could see the unfinished posts that are sitting in my drafts. This translates into the real world too. I can’t start a project or move towards a goal until I know that everything is in faultless alignment. Such obsession with perfection is evident in my personality traits whereby I do my best to portray the well put together image of someone who has their life together, who is successful, confident, unfazed by other’s opinions and certain of his future. How far from the truth the reality. Like a vicious circle this in turn influences my writing because a post about how I’m afraid of vulnerability will shatter the illusion that I’ve worked so hard to create. Herein lies the power of this particular article.

I work in the communications industry, a profession where my day-to-day task is to control ‘messages’ that brands want their customers to receive. I’m great at my job and skilled at creating the right perception for my clients amongst the public, probably because I’m so good at doing it for myself. Using these same skills, I have crafted a life that avoids vulnerability at all costs. I’ll dismiss people before I’ve had a chance to properly meet them to avoid them doing the same to me first. I’ll do the same to guys I find attractive. I’ll create stories about how I shouldn’t approach them because they’re probably stupid or an asshole and I’m better than that anyway when in actuality it’s fear of rejection which in turn is avoidance of vulnerability. I’l be loud and boisterous amongst people who I don’t find intimidating but when I’m in a crowd of people I deem ‘superior’ in popularity or status I’ll purposely ostracise myself. As I’ve become more aware of this concept of vulnerability I’ve also become more aware of how it affects others, particularly gay guys. Have you ever noticed how some gay men love to tear each other down? How they’ll look at someone else’s success or someone else’s relationship and pick at all the flaws? “Oh he makes a lot of money but I bet his boyfriend is cheating on him”. Why do we do this? Because we’re jealous and too afraid to admit that we feel less successful in comparison or worse, that we fee we are not worthy of being loved.

This particular post is a personal first step towards vulnerability, a step closer to honesty and wholehearted living. I want to share more with you, dear reader, in the hope that we can overcome our shame together. You see, shame is a component of vulnerability. Avoiding vulnerability is a protective mechanism against exposing one’s shame. If I’m not open then you can’t see the darkness inside of me. Both Brown and Alan Downs, author of The Velvet Rage have explored this concept of shame. Downs looks at shame particularly in the gay context and how it affects ours lives. Personally I think you need not even open a book to understand the by-product of shame in the gay community. In my opinion, many mainstream gay mega parties are a perfect example of shame avoidance. These gatherings are a coming together of men who are hiding from their shame (either consciously or subconsciously). They mask their vulnerability behind hard bodies of muscle and supress their emotions through excessive drug taking and sex. In my eyes, the act of taking off of one’s shirt in this environment or similarly in a gay club is an overt expression of vulnerability avoidance. The act says, ‘don’t try know me for me but judge me only on what you can see of me on the surface’. Of course I am generalising and I’m sure I’ll be accused of stereotyping or internalised homophobia but I only offer these observations and musings as my own opinion. Whether or not you agree with me or Downs or Brown is not the point, the point is that we are open enough with ourselves and each other to discuss our shortcomings. That is what vulnerability is truly about.

I hope that I can continue to write stories and post articles that you find thought provoking. Perhaps some will be inspiring, while others purely entertaining. You may agree with what I say or my words may have no resonance. Either way my intention is to be more open so that you and I can share strength and embrace vulnerability together.

Image by Giuseppe Attanasio 

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MODERN GAY PHILOSOPHY: KNOW THYSELF

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During my weekly Saturday philosophy class, I came across the following story by Rudyard Kipling, the English poet and writer who, in 1894 famously penned The Jungle Book. The topic of the lecture was ‘Know Thyself’ and the debate that ensued centred on the idea  that the unexamined life is not worth living (Socrates). Kipling’s fable perfectly explains where we must begin our examination in order to truly find ourselves.

Once upon a time, or rather, at the very birth of time, when the Gods were so new that they had no names, and Man was still damp from the clay of the pit whence he had been digged, Man claimed that he, too, was in some sort a deity. The Gods were as just in those days as they are now.

They weighed his evidence and decided that Man’s claim was good — that he was, in effect, a divinity, and, as such, entitled to be freed from the trammels of mere brute instinct, and to enjoy the consequence of his own acts. But the Gods sell everything at a price.

Having conceded Man’s claim, the legend goes that they came by stealth and stole away this godhead, with intent to hide it where Man should never find it again. But that was none so easy. If they hid it anywhere on Earth, the Gods foresaw that Man, the inveterate hunter — the father, you might say, of all hunters — would leave no stone unturned nor wave unplumbed till he had recovered it. If they concealed it among themselves, they feared that Man might in the end batter his way up even to the skies. And, while they were all thus at a stand, the wisest of the Gods, who afterwards became the God Brahm, said, “I know. Give it to me!” And he closed his hand upon the tiny unstable light of Man’s stolen godhead, and when that great Hand opened again, the light was gone.

“All is well,” said Brahm. “I have hidden it where Man will never dream of looking for it. I have hidden it inside Man himself.”

Image Credit: A Troy Dunham art piece created with photographer Jeff Eason (Wilsonmodels)

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THE TWINK IS DEAD

gay model twinks shirtless nude

What happened to all the twinks? I’m not referring to the beautiful, jacked-up 20 year-old boys who make their livings dancing half naked on podiums and posing in their underwear. I’m referring to the skinny boys in midriffs, covered in glitter who weren’t afraid to express their femininity. Ever since bigger became better and masculinity in the gay community became the norm for what is considered attractive, the image of the effeminate young gay guy who likes show tunes and tight fitting clothing has disappeared from public view. In his place are perfectly sculptured bodies of bros who dress like dudes who try to pass as jocks. With the onslaught of regularly updated images of ‘masc’ gay guys that fill our feeds and our minds and our fantasies, we have subconsciously been persuaded to value masculinity as desirable in a mate. As such, the colourful assortment of gay men that used to make up the spectrum of homosexuality has dwindled down to just a few archetypes that now form the basis of our aspirations.

The twink of yesteryear has suffered the most in the age of masculinity. Unable to grow a beard or chest hair to keep up with changing tastes, his only option is to join a gym and exercise his femininity away. Turning his back on his nature and often mocking the person he once was, the 2015 twink strives to look like the cover model of a gay magazine or a YouTube star from a homoerotic underwear advertisement. He is forced to turn to athletic enhancers to increase his size because his naturally skinny frame won’t develop as quickly as he would like. Striving for impossible perfection and acceptance, he looks to social media to parade his gains and show the world how far he has come from a girly boy to a man brimming with alluring bravado.

The twink is dead, reborn and remodelled to fit into a gay world where effeminateness makes us writher in discomfort because it highlights our own insecurities. Don’t tell me that you’ve never in your life felt slightly uncomfortable while in the presence of an overly expressive gay guy. It may have been only once, in high school, many years ago but for that one moment that flamboyant person held up a mirror to something inside of you that you didn’t like. Then again maybe you can’t relate to this experience and for that you are a better person than most because within the greater gay subconscious, flamboyance is something that makes us uneasy.

Although, maybe it’s something more than our own insecurities that make us resent feminine qualities? Something else all together? Something greater and at the same time, far worse? Maybe it is the move forward towards gay/straight equality that has altered our perception of male femininity.

Progress in social acceptance has made us strive harder to be like our straight counterparts but the victim of this social change has been the twink. There’s no place for yesterday’s twink in a gay world which wants to model itself on the straight world. Once upon a time the outrageous twink served as a big ‘up yours’ to the world of bigots, homophobes and fear mongers. ‘You don’t like gays’, he would say, ‘well look at how gay I can be’. Nowadays our mantra is ‘we are just like you’ and while our lives are in many ways better for it, diversity of expression within our own community has suffered. We have even turned in on ourselves and ostracised those who are not as quick to change. One only needs to logon to a gay dating app to see discriminatory profiles with bios such as ‘masc 4 masc’ or ‘no fems’ or ‘looking for REAL men’. This pressure from within, caused by changes from without, has forced many young gay men to conform to a narrow representation of homosexuality, one that espouses the idea that straight-acting, masculine ‘men’ are the pinnacle of desirability.

We have buried the twink of years past and in doing so we have lost a part of our own identities. We must learn again to embrace the differences within our own community by first respecting and nurturing ourselves. While it’s hard to be yourself in a straight world where they want you to be just like them, it’s even harder to be yourself in a gay world where the pressure to conform is often greater. The bravest thing you can do is to be yourself, as feminine, gay, flamboyant or naturally masculine as that may be. In doing so you will be commemorating all those twinks who have died looking for love, acceptance and bigger biceps.

Image Credit: Pantelis 

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THE MOST TERRIFYING THING ABOUT BEING SINGLE

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I’m terrified of being single but it’s not for the reasons that you may think. I’m not afraid of becoming the gay caricature of the old lady, surrounded by her cats, mainly because I’m allergic to cats but also because I’m not one to think too far into the future.  It’s not that I’m afraid that my soulmate is not out there (although it’s taking him a bloody long time to materialise if he is) but rather that I may be enjoying my own company too much in the meantime. You see, my biggest fear is not that I won’t find a partner or my soulmate but that I’ll be just as happy if I don’t.

I’ve noticed how some of my friends always seem to jump from relationship to relationship, easily finding a new partner with whom they become instantly infatuated. I on the other hand find it particularly difficult to forge such relationships. While some people need the security that a relationships brings to their life, I’m content being alone.  I refer to myself as a ‘social loner’ – a person who enjoys socialising, spending time with friends and making news friends but who is just as happy, perhaps even happier, being alone. As I become older and engrained in my routines and habits, which have rarely had to accommodate someone else, I worry that it may become difficult for me to adapt if and when a serious someone comes into my life. Will my morning, perfectly-timed schedule be interrupted by someone else’s schedule? What if I don’t feel like talking after a long day at work? Or going out with his friends? Or being in someone else’s company? What if I want to be alone?

Although it may sound arrogant, most of the time I can provide for myself everything that I need to be happy. As such, there hasn’t been a real drive to find a partner and therefore I don’t think I have made a particular effort to look. From friends, to work, to spirituality and community, I have created for myself the things that I need to keep me satisfied. What about sex you ask? Well I can find that too, although I’ve learnt from experience that sometimes it’s easier and less complicated to satisfy one’s self in this department. It all stems from my belief that we are whole as we are and that there is no need to wait to find our ‘other half’ before we can feel wholeness. This is one of the most dangerous myths of our time, that we need someone else to save us or we will never be saved. As homosexuality has become more accepted we have adopted the dangerous heterosexual ideology that to be truly happy we need to find a monogamous partner that will be with us happily ever after. What if we never find that partner though? Does that mean we cannot live happy and fulfilling lives? While I think it’s beautiful to be in a loving relationship and I certainly wouldn’t mind it for myself, I don’t think we need to be miserable in the meantime.

My Facebook newsfeed is often full of gay guys lamenting themselves for being single or congratulating each other when their relationship status changes. I’ve always been confused by the latter as if being in a relationship is some sort of achievement that needs to be acknowledged. I think that this comes out of the fear of loneliness which is particularly strong amongst gay men as we have often felt ostracised because of our sexuality. Perhaps this explains why so many of us are desperate to be in a relationship? It could also explain why there is a constant need for many gay men to broadcast their relationships to the world? The over-the-top uploads and updates might just be a desperate way for us to show the world and each other that we are loved and wanted. Or perhaps it may be because we do indeed love that person so much that we want to shout it from the rooftops. The cynic in me says that it’s the former.

Why listen to me though? All of this is just the rambling of someone who has never been in a serious relationship. Sure I have had flings and dated lots of men and even been in what some might consider the early stages of a relationships but still none of these have been worth the Facebook update. Now that I am older and more aware of the passage of time, I’m worried not about being alone forever but rather that I’ll be just as happy if I were.

Maybe I should buy a cat just in case…

Image by Malc Stone

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15 GAY GUYS TO AVOID IN 2015

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One week into 2015 and chances are that you have already broken most of your New Years resolutions. While you attempt to find your way back onto the right track towards health, happiness and your dream job, why don’t you also cleanse your soul of poisonous people? Here’s a list of 15 gay guys to avoid or remove from your life in 2015.

Disclaimer: the people mentioned below might also be your straight friend, female colleague or family member and should be detoxified from your life just the same. And another thing, don’t take this list too seriously…

1. THE GOSSIP
If he speaks more goss than Perez Hilton and TMZ combined then chances are he’s talking dirt behind your back too. Although everyone knows that a gossip cannot be trusted, he has the uncanny ability to discover information through his network of unnamed sources. Remove yourself from his network immediately.
2. THE DRAMA QUEEN
This guy lives his life as if he is a Southern Californian teenager girl being followed by a reality TV crew or an ill-tempered mob boss wife from New Jersey. He thrives on creating drama between people and as such his presence in your life is emotionally draining. Do not become caught up in his Bravo TV franchise.
3. THE JEALOUS ONE
Friends should be supportive of one another but some gay guys cannot deal with other people’s success. You’ll be able to identify this type of person cause he will always be the one discounting other’s achievements with comments like “yeh he has a good job but he’ll never find a boyfriend” or “so what if he’s good-looking, his boyfriend still cheats on him”. Stop spending time with jealous people because secretly they’re hoping that you fail too.
4. THE MANIPULATOR
The manipulator, strategist and liar are often the same person and should technically be grouped together. This type of guy likes to control situations and has a powerful ability to manipulate others into doing what he wants. He will lie and mould the people around his so to achieve whatever strategy he has thought up to benefit himself. When things do not go the way he plans, he’ll turn his back on you in jealousy and find a way to enact his revenge. This guy is dangerous and should be avoided at all costs.
5. THE STRATEGIST
6. THE LIAR
7. THE BAD INFLUENCE
A controversial inclusion on the list because a bad influence can sometimes be the key to the craziest of adventures. In small doses the bad influence can be fun and mischevious but if left unchecked he can lead to your demise. He is the friend who will convince you to stay out longer at the club when you have an early flight to catch the next day or persuade you to accompany him to a sex party in a sketchy part of town. If you enjoy missing your flight or engaging in sex acts that have yet to be named then by all means keep the bad influence around.
8. THE ATTENTION SEEKER
Loud, obnoxious, inappropriate and always vying for the spotlight, the attention seeker makes every moment a dramatic one-man performance about himself. He survives on the gaze of others and will do anything to attract attention. When you’re out in public with him he makes you feel uncomfortable with his outlandish behaviour and lack of social awareness. If you’re slightly uncomfortable being watched across a restaurant full of strangers then either ask your loud friend to step down from the table and put his shirt back on or just stop spending your precious time with him all together.
9. THE NEGATIVE ONE
Negative gay guys will suck the life out of you…and not in a good way. They complain that they don’t have a boyfriend, that they never meet anyone new, that their job is awful, that the music at this club is shit, that their martini is too dry and that nothing ever goes right. Negative people will cast a grey cloud over you, make it rain and then drown you in their pessimism. Replace the negative gay guy with a positive, easygoing and optimistic friend immediately.
10. THE BOYFRIEND THIEF
He is the friend who always dates or sleeps with your ex-boyfriend several months after you broke up. This will have you reflecting on all the times he hang out with you and your boyfriend while you were still dating. How long has he had these feelings? Why does he always end up with with your exes? What type of friends sleeps with your ex-lover anyway? You can take it as a compliment or you can just take him out of your life completely.
11. THE SPONGE
Never pays for dinners out, always manages to avoid his shout at the bar and somehow ends up in your room on summer holidays even though he hasn’t contributed to the cost, these are the ways of the sponge. While it’s commendable to help your friends when they are short on cash or in-between jobs, do not support the sponge as he has no intention of ever changing his ways or repaying the favour.
12. THE OPPORTUNIST
Have you ever noticed how some gay boys are only friends with semi-famous, extremely good-looking, well-known gays? Their so-called best friends are carefully selected based on their social capital and once they’ve infiltrated the group they work to develop their own social profile. These people are known as opportunists as they actively seek out situations and people that will help inflate their own egos. If you’re friends with one of these types then you’re probably a semi-famous, extremely good-looking and well-known gay so be aware that there is a social climbing impostor amongst your midst.
13. THE PERFECTIONIST
‘I love my life and I love my friends and I’m so grateful to the universe that everything is perfect’ reads his Facebook status. As a matter of fact, when scrolling through his social media it may actually appear that his life is perfect and if it wasn’t for his over-the-top declarations of perfection then you might almost believe them. Nobody’s life is that perfect and even though his beautifully photoshopped pictures make you feel like your life is crap, he’s probably desperately miserable and therefore terrible company anyway. Stay away.
14. THE TAKER
Do you know a gay guy who loves talking about himself? While the truth is that most of us love talking about ourselves there is a special type of gay guy who will take no interest in another person when having a conversation. He’ll never ask how you are or what you’ve been doing or if everything is ok in your life. Rather he’ll prefer to talk about his life and his problems and if the discussion ever changes where you become the focus then he’ll lose interest. This is a taker – a person who takes other people’s attention and steals other’s time but never returns the favour.
15. THE REPEAT OFFENDER
Perhaps you are friends with someone who fits one or more of the above descriptions but the good that they bring to your life far outweighs the bad. If this is the case then you don’t mind putting up with their shortcomings because you understand that we all have our flaws and that nobody is perfect. That’s completely fine. It’s not until they repeat those shortcomings over and over again till you reach a tipping point when you cannot forgive them anymore. Maybe you’ve called them out on sponging, or lying or thieving your boyfriend but they still never change. If this is true then 2015 is the year when you must decide whether or not you want to keep them in your life or remove them indefinitely. The choice is yours.
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