Oops! I wasn’t an ally

During a conversation about sex, I might have inadvertently offended one of my friends. How do I make this right? 

Don’t stress, says our elder. She’ll appreciate an apology.


Dear EWC


Hi. Thank you so much for your help; I’m very stressed about this! I am 18 years old, a senior in high school. I consider myself progressive, and try my best to model that in my life. I do my best to be an ally to all communities, and to check people when they say things that are unacceptable. However, sometimes I’ll check myself too. 


Here’s the story; My girlfriends and I were talking about virginity, and I don’t remember much of the details. All I know is that I used the word “real” sex to talk about heterosexual sex. This doesn’t reflect my beliefs at all! It’s just my mindset as a product of my family and the people around me. I truly don’t believe there is a one definition to sex. But I said it. In front of my friends. I said, “That’s not what I meant” in the moment; so I didn’t apologize. One of my friends is bisexual. So. I definitely owe her an apology, but I’m not sure how, when, or in what way to do it. It’s a terrible moment. It’s one that doesn’t reflect my personal beliefs, but it happened. How do I make this better? It was two days ago.


Hildegard replies


I don’t think you were being homophobic. I just think you made a comment that was unintentionally insensitive. I appreciate the fact that you are knowledgeable enough and sophisticated enough to be mindful of those occasions where someone could possibly be hurt by your words. 


So don’t stress. Just go to your friend privately and tell her you didn’t mean to offend her with your “real sex” comment. Let her know that the words just came out that way and, as you told me, do not reflect your actual feelings. She will probably appreciate the apology. She is probably sensitive to the words of others and will be relieved to know that the comment hurt you as much as it did her. Give her a chance to understand that your intention was not to hurt her. She will forgive you, I’m sure.


While you’re at it, it wouldn’t hurt to apologize to the rest of your group as well. It will let them know that 1) this was an insensitive thing to say, and 2) you know it’s not okay. I suggest this because sometimes inappropriate language and attitudes have a way of taking root if someone doesn’t nip it in the bud. And here you have an opportunity to establish the fact with your friends that you should be mindful at all times of other peoples’ feelings. That’s a great message to send.


Don’t feel badly about it. I can understand your intended meaning. Just make it a point to clarify that with your friends, especially the one that was unintentionally wronged by your comment.

I wish you the best!


Article #: 483848

Category: Friendship

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *