How do I support my friend who just came out to me as polyamorous?

Hi! My friend has just told me that she is poly and I was wondering if you had any advice on how to support her? Ive told her I love her and support her 100%, but I was wondering if there is more I can do to help her (she's just realised it) thank you ❤

Best thing you can do is to ask her! Sometimes, people worry that when they come out, they’ll be treated differently, and often even attempts to be supportive can feel like “different treatment” - like suddenly buying someone a bunch of pride flag stuff and sending them links to articles about LGBTQ stories, which could make them fear that you see them differently and only through this new lens. But for other people, that would feel really affirming, and they’d really appreciate a friend making an effort to bring it up, learn about it, and actively support it!

You can also educate yourself about polyamory so she doesn’t have to do 101-level education for you (answering the same questions over and over gets old). That might also equip you to head off some of questions or ignorance from other people in your social circle, but of course, make sure she’s OK with this. Again, some people would love it if the education groundwork was done by someone else; other people would be really disturbed that someone else was discussing their identity and answering questions on their behalf.

Never out someone without their permission - ask her how she wants you to discuss this with people who ask, and honor any of her concerns about how this might impact her family or professional community.

Be open and curious, listen to her, talk things through with her, be a good sounding board - but hold your own boundaries and don’t feel like you need to let every conversation center around her new identity work, or that you need to have all the answers for her. Sometimes, new realizations like this can be pretty all-consuming, so be patient if she wants to talk about it often, but be aware of your own needs and head off frustration or resentment before it boils over.

Just keep being a good friend - a good listener, an honest communicator, a collaborator in fun, and you’ll be fine!

I just started a conversation about pan-romantic, non-sexual open relationships with a good friend who I know used to be interested in me romantically. I’m not interested in him as more than a good friend but he’s a really open-minded guy and it just came up. I want to continue talking to him about poly and asexual relationships, not because I want one with him but because it’s something he seemed interested in when I brought it up. How do I do this without ‘leading him on’?

First off, good on you for being so in tune to another person’s feelings. It can be humiliating to believe that someone is interested in you only to find out you were misreading signals from their side. 

As in almost all situations, clear and honest communication is the best answer here. If he knows that you know he used to be interested in you romantically, I’d recommend just bringing it up, acknowledging that it’s sort of awkward. Something like, “I just want to say that I love talking about this stuff with you, and I really appreciate how open minded and insightful you are - I just wanted to check in and make sure this topic of conversation is comfortable for you, considering our history, and that this is all entirely platonic.”

Either he laughs it off like no, that’s not a concern, we can chat like friends; or he says actually yeah, if you’re not trying to signal romantic interest then this isn’t something I prefer to talk about with you. In both those situations, you can smile and say you just wanted to check in! Don’t make it out like a huge serious talk, or that you’re implying that he’s some lovestruck unrequited admirer. Just a friendly check-in with a friend. Good luck!