Welcome to Reggie Responds, Roar’s advice column! Our columnists are here to provide you helpful, or maybe not so helpful, advice. Tune in on Fridays to see what they have to say about your problems. 

Q: I’ve started talking to this boy whom I’ve known for about four years. I really like him, but we’ve only just started properly talking, and my other friend told me that he was apparently slagging me off. She also said something that only he knew, but she’s known for bullshitting and making stuff up, and I’ve known her for six and a half years. We’ve always got along, but not really (if you get what I mean). He said he didn’t say anything bad, but she made him sound awful. What do I do?

Nikita: Wow, that’s a lot to process, and it’s not even happening to me.

Now, personally, I’ve never gone through something of this sort, but I’ll try my best here. Given the fact that this question came in almost two weeks ago, you might have resolved this already, but on the off chance that you’re still stuck in this dilemma (or someone reading this is going through something similar), I’ll try my best to offer advice that — in a surprising turn of events — might actually be useful.

Blindly believing your frenemy(?) wouldn’t be the smartest thing to do, so it’s understandable if you find yourself doubting her words. But it does beg the question – how could she possibly know something that, as you mentioned, only this boy knew of? Is it possible that he might have mentioned it to someone else who could have then told your friend? Because while it may be true that this boy hasn’t been “slagging you off” — I’m not going to lie, I had to look up what slagging means (still not very familiar with British slang, I’m afraid) — it is a little strange that your friend knew something that, supposedly, only he knew of.

I’d say take a step back, re-evaluate your relationships with these people. Would your friend-of-sorts try to intentionally hurt you or sabotage your (potential) relationship? Is it possible that this boy might have accidentally let your secret slip? I’m afraid you’re the only one who can make a final decision in this scenario – partly because it’s your life, and partly because I don’t want the blame to fall on me if something does go wrong. All I can really do is offer helpful(?) suggestions and hope they prove to be useful.

But since I’m now emotionally invested in your drama (it’s a problem, really), feel free to reach out and let me know how it turns out!

Q: I am having trouble coming out and I don’t know what to do.

Alex: Coming out, in any context, is always a risk, and that’s because being honest with yourself and others is always a risk. Anyone who puts themselves at risk does so because they possess a degree of trust, both towards themselves and the world, but it is only through trust that we let ourselves be open to the world.

If we imagine a scenario in which you are honest about your struggles and you do not receive the reactions you had hoped for, what I would advise you to do is to keep in mind that revealing yourself in front of others should be first and foremost done for yourself, even if it seems as though you’re trying to reach another human being. At the end of the day, you are the one carrying your identity, so it is also you who needs to learn to be at peace with it, regardless of what happens.

If, by any chance, you’re confronted by someone who passes judgement on you, remember that your truth matters to them primarily in relation to themselves. It exposes their fears, their values, their inner conflicts, and they might use their discomfort or anger as a tool to turn you into a mirror of themselves. This is usually not about you. That’s why it’s so important to stick to those people who are willing to see you without baggage of their own. They are the ones who won’t see you solely in terms of clear-cut labels, because your bond will exist beyond that.

The question is: what risk are you willing to take? Do you want to remain silent and run a risk of never feeling fully safe or free or real within yourself? Or do you want to run a risk of potentially losing certain people – and inevitably gaining new ones, as well as discovering who your true friends are – but more importantly, to finally see yourself as you are, not just in the shadows but out in the open?

“You win some, you lose some,” they say, and it’s true; whenever you tell the truth, something has to step away to make room for it. Which loss are you able to live with, and which gains would you value the most?”

Due to the large number of questions we receive, we won’t be able to respond to every single one of them, but we hope you’ll still manage to find the answers you’re looking for, or at the very least to have a good read!

If you want to submit a question, you can do so here.

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