Abby: Lonely man during holidays should reach out

Dear Abby
Jeanne Phillips

Dear Abby: I became estranged from my family after I came out as gay. I am OK with it and don’t really care anymore. The problem is, besides having no family, I have no friends either. I always had difficulty making friends. I’m an introvert and was bullied at school, so I found it more comfortable just hanging out at home by myself.

I have come to accept the absence of friends as my reality. I try to do fun things by myself, like seeing movies and eating out at restaurants, but the holiday season is hard to bear. Most people look forward to it, but I dread this time of year. It only makes me more aware of how alone and lonely I am.

I am too embarrassed to go out by myself during the holidays because most people are out with family and friends. Can you suggest some things I could do for the holidays instead of staying home and watching TV by myself?

Holiday Hurting in The East

Dear Holiday Hurting: I may be able to solve two of your problems at the same time. Start calling some of the charitable organizations in your area and ask if they can use an extra pair of hands during the holiday season. Serving food at a homeless shelter or food pantry and delivering meals to shut-ins come to mind.

A sure cure for the blues is to reach out and do something for someone who needs a helping hand. If you try it, you may meet like-minded people and start some friendships.

Dear Abby: I’m currently interning with a government-contracted group. Part of my job involves working with LGBT rights organizations. Recently, at a meeting with my boss and several representatives of these organizations, the topic of fairness in the workplace was mentioned. I was asked what my experience was, and I shared that I thought the workplace was fair, and my experience was fine.

I didn’t think about it at the time, but I now realize I was being asked how my experience was as an LGBT person. In light of this, my boss has nominated me for a diversity award. The problem is I’m a heterosexual female, and I think he promoted me for the honor because he thinks I am gay.

How should I handle this? Do I need to go on record to my boss that I am straight and he misunderstood me? I don’t want this to come back to haunt me, but I’m afraid addressing it may ruin my credibility because it has taken so long for me to address it. I feel I am living a terrible lie, and I don’t know how to fix this.

Ashamed in D.C.

Dear Ashamed: No one should feel compelled to disclose one’s sexual orientation at work, no matter the circumstances. That said, in this particular case, go to your boss before this goes any further. Explain to him privately you didn’t realize when the question was asked that anyone would presume you were gay. If you accept the award without clearing the air first, it could jeopardize your credibility.

Contact Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.