IMHO it's only difficult to deal with if they want to date and you're straight.
Oh hey, it rhymes.
I really don't see the big deal here...
i've only had friends come out to me after i'd known them for a brief period of time, & it was kind of a shock but wasn't too bad. but i think if it was someone i'd known since i was very young it would be harder because it's such a huge part of them that you never knew about before.
Nah, with my gay friend everybody already knew... He pretty much just confirmed our suspicions by actually saying it.
Assuming that their sexuality isn't already obvious
Well, not really. I would be able to relate to them better.
If it ever seemed like they were going to come out, I would stop them, get the karaoke set up, and sing If You Were Gay. Situation dealt with.
particularly if they're the same gender
Why would that be a problem?
Couldn't you simply say "Thanks but no thanks" just as you would if it was someone of the opposite gender whom you didn't care for romantically?
Yeah, because you'd be thinking "What if they had...thoughts...about me? GROSS!"
Yes, because every gay person is attracted to everyone of their gender.
No but they could've thought about you. The could have been attracted to you.
And then just as you would with a person of the opposite sex for whom you have no romantic feelings, you would say "Thanks but no thanks."
It's not that hard. I've done it with many women over the years.