How to react when someone comes out?

How to react when someone comes out?

Coming out can be daunting. But receiving support and acceptance can help one in this journey. It is crucial to make one feel safe, comfortable, and respected when they do come out to you.

  1. Be patient: Wait for the person to initiate the conversation. Patiently listen to them when they do. Allow them to decide when and what they are comfortable disclosing.
  2. Appreciate them: It requires immense courage for a person to come out to someone. Thank them for trusting you. Congratulate them on their journey and for taking this step for themselves.
  3. Create a safe space: Actively create a space with no judgment and unconditional acceptance. Help make the person feel like they can share what they'd like to with ease.
  4. Ask about their needs: Ask them what you can do. E.g., ask them their pronouns, if any, or if they want other people to know yet. Remember to respect these needs!
  5. Don't dismiss their choices: When someone comes out to you, they let you know who they are. Don't dismiss their choices. Responses like "it's a phase" or "are you sure?" are a big no!
  6. Don't bombard with questions: Ask them if they feel comfortable with your questions. To learn more, you can always read up from resources on the internet!
  7. Take time: Take your required time to understand and make an informed response. It will help you process things well.

Most importantly, acknowledge that coming out is a courageous process. Offer the person support by letting them know they are appreciated and respected!