Someone who is coming out feels close enough to you and trusts you enough to be honest with you. Here are a few ways you can be supportive friend:
- Thank your friend for having the courage to tell you. Choosing to tell YOU means that they have a great deal of respect and trust for you.
- Tell your friend that you still care about them, no matter what. Be the friend you have always been. The main fear for people coming out is that their friends and family will reject them.
- Don’t be judgmental. If you have strong religious or other beliefs, keep them to yourself for now. There will be plenty of time in the future for you to think and talk about your beliefs.
- Respect your friend’s confidentiality by not discussing their sexual orientation or gender identity/expression with others without their consent. They have the right to decide who to tell and when. They may want to tell people in their own way and on their own timeline.
- Ask any questions you may have, but understand that your friend may not have all the answers. You can save some questions for later or, better yet, you can find some of the answers together. Check out our Resources for great organizations that provide additional informational resources
- Don’t let your friend become isolated. Let them know about organizations and places where they can meet other LGBTQ people or supportive allies, including Happy Hippie’s Digital Support Groups that you can join here.
- It’s never too late to address something you said. If someone has come out to you and you feel badly about how you handled it, you can always go back and try again.
Original article here: http://www.youthprideri.org/Resources/ComingOutAdviceStoriesArt/WhatToDoWhenYourFriendComesOutToYou/tabid/226/Default.aspx, adapted from flyer by the Youth Service Bureau of Wellington, Ottawa