When a friend comes out to you, it can be difficult for both of you. Knowing how to react so as not to hurt their feelings can be a difficult task, and so can knowing how to support them going forward with their journey. We’ve put together a quick guide to help you understand how you can do this.
When someone comes out to you, it can feel like you are doing the right thing by saying that it isn’t a big deal. The thing is, this can make the person coming out to you feel like their journey isn’t important or give them unrealistic expectations for coming out going forward. Instead, you’re better off sticking to other supportive phrases such as “I appreciate you telling me” and “I am here for support whenever you need it”.
Don’t tell anyone else
It’s really important for you to understand that no matter who this person is to you, it is not your job or place to tell anyone else at all about them. Even if you feel like it is coming from the right place, to prepare a family member or someone else for the news, by doing so you are taking away their power to control their own journey.
Offer support where it’s needed, but don’t insert yourself into their journey
There is a fine line between being there for someone and inserting yourself into their life. Making it about you or how your relationship with them might change is not the goal here, and even the most well-meaning support can become a bit much for some people. Instead, just make yourself available to them. You don’t need to throw someone a coming out party to let them know you care.
Remember, nothing about this person has changed. They are still exactly the same person as you have always known. Just like sexuality, a feeling of gender identity is something that someone is born with. So whether someone has come out to you as gay, lesbian, bisexual, asexual, pansexual, transgender or non-binary, they are still the same person you always knew. Just because you have a new piece of information about them, doesn’t mean that your relationship with that person has to change in any way.
For more information on coming out, click here to read our other information on this.