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Strategies for Coming Out to Family & Friends

Taking the time to understand and be connected with your gender and sexual identities can be a stressful and trying process. Once you have accepted yourself, you may be ready to share the news with family and friends to receive their acceptance. But nervousness and anxiety can run rampant if you don’t know how they may react. 

Here are some reminders about why it’s important to come out and a few strategies for sharing your identity with others.

Why should you come out? 

It’s good for your confidence and your mental health to be true to yourself. Ignoring or denying your truths can take a toll on your health and steal energy away from other things in your life. Being your authentic self around your friends and family is one way to prioritize and love yourself.

However, we know not everyone can be their authentic selves safely. If sharing your identity may put you in danger, reach out to a professional today to discuss your options and the best next steps. 

Share the news

Decide how you want your network to hear your news. You can tell someone in person, write them a letter, call them on the phone, or add it to your social media. You get to decide who and how to tell those closest to you. Do what makes you feel comfortable and ensures your safety.  

Encourage conversation

Those closest to you may feel overwhelmed at first. Allow time for them to process what you’ve shared with them, and encourage conversation so you can answer their questions and share why you chose to come out to them. 

It is important to remember that just because someone has questions, you don’t have to answer them. They may be personal, or you may not be ready to share that information with anyone yet, and that is okay. You can control the conversation and direct them in a way that is comfortable for you.

Be patient

Take your time and tell people only when you are ready. Start by telling your closest confidant, family member, or particular group of friends. You are in charge of sharing this information, and you can determine who knows what when. Don’t put pressure on yourself to tell everyone at once. Baby steps will still get you where you need to go. 

Find support

Making the decision to come out to friends and family can take a toll on you emotionally and mentally. It is a decision that impacts every aspect of your life, and you may need support. That’s why Valley Oaks Health offers counseling and support groups. Having a safe space to express your feelings is vital as you prioritize yourself and your journey ahead.

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