Telling people that you are bisexual can seem a big step, but for many it's a way to become comfortable with your sexuality and to stop feeling like you're "hiding".
But should you come out? And if you decide you should, who should you come out to, and how should you do it?
The first person you need to come out to, and perhaps the only person you really have to come out to, is yourself. Are you bisexual? When you come out to yourself it can be quite enlightening - being honest about who you are and who you're attracted. It can feel like taking a load off of your shoulders. Take your time, look at what you feel and what feels right for you. There is no rush!
If you've done that, and you feel you do want to come out to others, then you need to pick your moment. You don't have to do it the very next day if you don't want to. Some people find it's easier to come out as bisexual after first attending a bisexual event and hearing how other people have done it. There's a list of local groups on our Bi in the UK page.
Mood matters too: if you solemnly say "I have something very important to tell you, I think you had better sit down" then they'll be assuming it's something horrendous, and that can put people in the wrong frame of mind! We suggest not making your sexuality seem to be some sort of doom-laden revelation - instead it's often best just to casually mention it when the other person is relaxed and in a good mood.
Some people won't see why you want to tell them, or would prefer not to have a conversation that is directly about sexualities. Perhaps instead of taking a deep breath and "I'm bisexual!" you could come out by mentioning you'd been to a bisexual event, really like the way a film handled the bisexuality of a character, or comment that a celebrity coming out as bi struck a nerve?
Be prepared for awkward, or strange questions. Be ready to calmly answer these with simple short answers. Put yourself in their shoes - they may be surprised at first and not seem as supportive as they really are, just due to the shock. If they are confused as to the differences between lesbian, gay and bi, then you might get questions you weren't expecting, such as "but don't you want to get married one day?" but do take these questions seriously - they're undoubtedly heartfelt.
Remember to keep reassuring them that you're certain, that this isn't a change that you've suddenly decided to make to your life just now. You're still the same person they knew all along, just one that's being more open with them about a part of your life. When you come out to someone, you are saying to them "I trust you, so I'm going to be more honest with you. This is me."
Incidentally, you don't have to come out to everyone. Many bisexuals don't tell all of their relatives, or their co-workers. Who you come out to is up to you, and really you don't have to come out at all, except perhaps to yourself. If you're thinking about coming out to someone you're financially dependant on, like a boss or parent, and you think they might be homophobic or biphobic then please think carefully about how to do it, and whether you need to.
Some people will always take longer to come round to the news, but with these patience and consistency will usually win out. If you want to work up the courage to tell someone you think will find this difficult to hear, try some easier coming out conversations first - friends who you know will be sympathetic, or people you know are also bisexual.
Is it different coming out as bisexual? You may find that people had previously assumed you were gay or lesbian, based on the clues they'd picked up - so be prepared to explain the difference! In fact some people come out twice, first as lesbian or gay and then later as bisexual - being clear about what you now feel can ease other people's concerns.
Of course, if you are casual and matter of fact about your sexuality and you don't make it seem like a big deal, then it's quite likely that you won't need to come out to some people. They'll hear it through the grapevine. Being out and happy about your sexuality will reassure people, and many may never feel the need to bring it up with you. Maybe you'll be the person that others come out to!
Ultimately the only person who can decide if it's right for you to come out is you. It's your call, your information and your life, so you decide when to come out, or if to come out.