I am a gay man in my twenties and I am infatuated with a friend of mine, who I think is gay. He does not say he is gay but has never had a steady girlfriend -- although he has dated -- and doesn't really seem that interested in women. How can you tell for sure if someone else is gay? I really would like to go to the next level with him but don't want to waste my time if he's straight and get hurt. WR
Well, it could be that he's gay, but it also could be that his seeming disinterest in women is wish-fulfillment on your part. Maybe not. I am assuming he knows you're gay? If not, then coming out to him will probably be the best way of finding out if he, too, is gay. There is no sure way of definitely knowing someone is gay (aside from intimacy) no matter how convinced you may be that he is. If you have good reason to think he's gay -- your "gaydar" is on high alert -- then talking about it with him may be helpful, but be prepared for a negative reaction if he's deeply conflicted.
The trouble is that you're not the best person to help him come out because you have such a stake in it -- your attraction and romantic attachment toward him. Perhaps there's a mutual friend who could sensitively broach the subject for you? You might be so desperate to have him be gay that you might go overboard in your protestations, which will not help at all. (I've been there.)
The thing to remember is that even if he's gay, he won't be much good to you as long as he is closeted, repressed, or conflicted -- he might as well be straight. If you get nowhere with him, it might be best to decide if you think you can realistically handle being "just friends" or if it will be necessary to part company for your own sanity -- that is, your need to get over him and move on.
When you are infatuated with someone, it may seem as if you just can't bear even the thought of not having them in your life, but the truth is that you can get over them. All it takes is meeting someone who can play back your feelings, and brother, they're out there, believe me!
Ultimately it's so much better to hang out with a guy who feels the same way about you than it is to spend your time pining for someone who might well be unattainable.
Let me know how it goes.