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How to Come Out to Your Friends

Your social group is important and you're probably worried that your coming out may have a negative impact or cause you to lose all your friends. This guide will give you an overview of how to assess the situation and find ways of coming out or being yourself that won't leave you feeling alienated or without social connections. Your first time coming out is the hardest, and it's worth it to see that it goes okay. Remember if they are true friends then they will love you no matter your sexuality.


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    Stop and assess the environment and your situation. Probably the biggest factor in whether you are accepted or not is the environment and/or group of friends you're coming out to. Also make sure that you are safe should your coming out leak to people you don't want it to. The single, most important warning you should heed is to try to delay coming out to those around you if you know your parents will react negatively (such as kicking you out of the house, acting out abusively, etc.) when you are still dependent on them. This option may suck. However, when you head off to college or out on your own, you will finally be able to come out without worrying too much that word will get back to your family.
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    Assess how you feel. Are you comfortable with yourself? A little bit nervous? Scared and upset? It's best to come out to most people when you are comfortable and happy with who you are, but that isn't for everyone. Some people want to come out (at least to their closest friends) when they are still struggling, so that they don't have to struggle alone. If you are going to do that, it is vital to be sure they are accepting.
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    If you know that your friends will not take your coming out well, do not come out to them. Instead, find new friends who will be supportive and come out to those new ones. You do not need that flood of negativity in your life that can happen when your "friends" all react badly to your coming out, start treating you horribly, or give you the silent treatment. Instead, it's much healthier to situate yourself in a liberal/socially open accepting group and then come out to those folks. It might be easier to find more supportive people to begin with than deal with the fallout from a negative reaction from people you already know.
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    Once you do make sure you're in a good environment/situation to come out, do so on your own terms. Some find that an individual basis face-to-face is best, while others decide that a public FaceBook status of "I'm trans and these are my pronouns" is better. However you choose to do it, it should be in a way that isn't awkward or threatening. By necessity this is an emotional topic, but you may want to keep it from being overly emotional as well. Consider telling them in a neutral meeting place, or in one where you have the upper hand.
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    Plan what you are going to do and say. Coming out is, by necessity, a process that can never be planned out to the tiniest details. What you can do is decide what your first move is going to be and how you will react to some likely reactions on the part of your friends. Are you going to bring up the topic yourself, or wait for it to naturally arise in conversation? Will you mention it as a joke or as a passing point?
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    Don't take their reaction personally. Some people will react negatively to your coming out even if they seemed promising or accepting initially. Don't take this personally, they're probably not great people for you to be around in the first place. If you surrounded yourself with negative or anti-gay people, you'd probably end up internalizing a number of negative messages about yourself or be prone to depression. Focus on the positive: the friends who accept you for who you are. Some people even have the experience that their coming out strengthens their friendships because it shows a higher level of trust.
    • A word of caution though––it's not a good idea to make large leaps in sharing much more intimate things about yourself. What's important is a level of equal exchange. If your friend doesn't tell you much personal about themselves, they'll probably react very negatively to you saying something personal about yourself.
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    Keep in mind that you have had a long time to get used to the idea of having a sexuality or gender, while your friends just heard about it, give them time to come to terms with it as well.
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    Continue being friends with positive supportive people. Also reach out to LGBT organizations or groups if you want to be involved with that.


  • Absolutely do not blame yourself for whether or not someone accepts you for who you are. Whether or not they choose to is their problem, and there isn't a magic phrase you can use to make someone non homophobic. That being said, try to make sure your coming out doesn't seem threatening from their angle.
  • If you feel uncertain about yourself or down about your sexuality still, you are more likely to take other peoples negative reactions badly. Work at improving your self confidence and self esteem, and get to know other similar-aged LGBT people who feel good about themselves; they can act as role models to help you along. Gay straight alliances or LGBT clubs can be a good place to do this.
  • Much like finding a job, it's easier to find more friends if you have friends to begin with. This is part of why it's so important to find a group of friends that will accept you before choosing to come out to your friends.


  • If your coming out goes badly and/or you're feeling depressed about your situation, it's a good idea to seek help from a supportive therapist. It's not a sign of weakness, and it can be a good idea for people going through a difficult transition period to seek help from a professional.
  • If you're living with homophobic people that you are friends with due to proximity, it's absolutely in your best interest to move. You do not want to be surrounded by hostile negative people in your living quarters (this includes houses you're renting with others, dorms, etc.)

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