Tough Stuff

5 things to say when your friend comes out to you

When a friend confides their sexuality to you, it's a big deal; they're trusting you with a super sensitive part of their identity. If you've never been on the receiving end of this kind of conversation, you might struggle with what to say to them. Here are five simple yet valuable things to say that are guaranteed to be well-received. 

1. Thank them for telling you and assure them that they can trust you 
Whether they’re telling their parents or an acquaintance, it takes a lot of courage to come out. Chances are they’re pretty nervous that you’ll judge them, even if you’ve been best friends for years. Make sure they know that you appreciate them telling you and that you will not share or discuss their news with anyone else without their permission. 

2. Tell them that this doesn’t change your opinion of them or your friendship
They are the same exact person that they were five seconds, five hours, five days and five years before they told you. Their sexual preference or gender identity is not their sole defining characteristic. 

3. Offer support 
Assure them that you’ll be there for them if they ever need to talk—whether they’re having a rough day or hardcore crushing on someone new.  Also let them know that you'll step up if others aren’t being as supportive.

4. Ask questions! 
It’s totally reasonable for your mind to be jumping with questions after such big (and possibly shocking) news, and it’s important that you both feel 100 percent comfortable around each other. Curious about something? Let them know in a respectful manner. But don’t forget that they aren’t obligated to answer everything.  

5. Remind them that you love them no matter what
Many people are scared that coming out will result in losing the people who matter most to them, and giving them that extra bit of reassurance by telling them that you love and care about them will surely put their worries to rest. 

Has a friend ever come out to you or vice versa? Share your stories in the comments below!

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by Allie Burrows | 10/19/2018