How To Be Supportive When Your Friend Comes Out

Friendships in our 20s often involve talking about the little things in our lives, from the new reality show we’re addicted to, the Taylor Swift song we’ve got on repeat and the joke our co-worker made the other day. But we also discuss the big stuff, too, and that can include our friends telling us that they’re gay. Of course you want to be supportive and say all the right things. Here are a few ways to show your compassion.

  1. Keep it to yourself. Coming out is a big deal, and you never know who your friend has told. They might not feel ready to tell their parents yet or even anyone else in your group. It’s not a piece of gossip so respect your friend’s decision to tell who they want, when they want, and don’t say anything.
  2. State the obvious. When your friend tells you, say you’re totally cool with it and that you want her to be happy. If you’re their friend, they of course already know this, and this will often just be you stating the obvious. But words have power and you need to say these few words to them.
  3. Appreciate that they opened up to you. Surface-level friendships aren’t the real deal. It’s awesome knowing that your friend trusted you enough to open up about who she really is.
  4. Thank them for telling you. Two simple words, but they will appreciate them.
  5. Accept that they might not want to talk. We want to be there for our friends to celebrate the good and move on from the bad, but just because they’ve come out to you doesn’t mean they want to discuss it in detail. You might want some more information because you don’t want to think about a close friend struggling in silence, but just telling you they’re gay might be enough for them, right now.
  6. But let them know you’re there whenever. Whether they take you up on your offer or not, it’s a good time to lend your ear whenever they might need or want it. The best kind of friend is the one who is always there to lend support, which is exactly what you are going to do.
  7. Make your friendship business as usual. Your friend knows you love them but they might be nervous that telling you the truth will change your friendship. Show them this won’t be the case with actions instead of words. You know that a true friend will contact you often, so do the same. Text her the day after with a funny story or a TV rec – anything to prove that things between you will continue on as they always have. It will mean the world to them.
  8. Still talk to them about your dating drama. Just because your friend is interested in the same sex doesn’t mean they don’t care about the guy you’re seeing, or that they can’t relate to those universal relationship truths. They still want to be there for you and to give you love advice.
  9. Feel free to open up more, too. Your friendship will only grow and get stronger if you allow your friend’s honesty and courage to inspire you to be your true self, too, and to always talk to her about the important stuff.
  10. Cut her some slack. Recognize that your bestie will have some dark days. If she ignores your texts or invite to hang out, don’t take it personally. Know that she’s got some difficult stuff to deal with and wait it out. She’ll be there for you, too, when she can.
Aya Tsintziras is a freelance lifestyle writer and editor. She shares gluten-free, dairy-free recipes and personal stories on her food blog, ahealthystory.com. She loves coffee, barre classes and pop culture.