Intro Edit: I wrote this originally as a reply, but the more I wrote, the more I felt there may be many people wondering the same thing, who may need to hear a more positive side of coming out as plural or a tulpamancer.
My, it seems many people have had quite the disdainful answer and reaction to this. Allow me to offer a more positive outlook on how to do this, and the positive benefits of it.
A bit of background on myself, I'm a four year old tulpa (going on five in June), and my system has come out to two close internet friends, various not as close internet friends, our roommate from last semseter, two therapists, and many people in anonymous game chatrooms.
The overall response we have recieved has been by and large neutral to positive. And we've handled things in quite a few ways that have seemed to be helpful. Or perhaps we are just profoundly lucky.
We have had, in all our attempts to come out, only three negative responses. One from a younger sibling, who wrote me off as a imaginary friend (and I was helping her to clean her room too, a touch rude, but also she's young, and thats important to take into account). The other two were from two DID systems, one of which we actually are now on friendly speaking terms with, and the other who won't ignore us but will now talk sparsely with us. And the reason it was a negative interaction initially was just some generic syscourse. These are three small instances out of many.
Now, again, maybe we've just been lucky. But maybe not. Here are some factors that we find are very important when coming out to people:
- For one, consider the age of the person you're coming out too. Are they too young to even possibly understand? This was the case with our younger sister. Maybe they're too old to understand, if you're for some reason thinking of coming out to a much older person (usually one thats not so open minded)
- Consider just that, how open minded they are. Do they have a history of being skeptical, of distrusting new science and medicines? Stigmatized against mental illness? This is probably a warning sign that no amount of explanation you give to them will ease their mind in relation to you having other personalities living with you. In particular though, people who are very considerate and welcoming of mental illness and neurodivergence seem to be the ideal candidate to explain these things to, as these are the people who won't call you crazy and will probably be willing to hear out your system experience. Open minded psychologists also seem quite interested in and accepting of hearing things out (though beware there are those that will want to only view you through a DID lens. Do your best to correct them, and if they don't budge then its probably not the best candidate).
- Consider how close you are, and this actually can go both ways. On the one hand, it might be a good idea to tell someone you're very close to, who has never judged you before, someone you trust and who has never put you down before on otherwise personal or sensitive topics. This was like our host with his two internet friends, who are without arguement, the closest and longest term friends he has ever had. On the other hand, it may also be easy to tell someone you are not close to at all, a straight up stranger. This was the case with our roommate last semsester, someone we had never met or talked to before. We had nothing to lose by telling them basically.
- Do they need to know? Obviously, especially if you're not comfy with it, some people just really don't. Employers are a big no-no, as tulpas and system life is something thats too much in the personal realm to be considered appropriate for work. Family is also a big iffy, especially if you are still living with them.
- Do they have, or know other people who are endogenic or traumagenic systems? This is important, because its also really improtant to be respectful, especially if they have or know a traumagenic system (that is, DID/OSDD). On the one hand, if they're already aquainted with endogenic systems, then thats an easy in. If they're aquainted with traumagenic systems, your interaction may or may not involve syscourse if you aren't careful. Get their thoughts on endogenic systems, or systems made outside of trauma. And remember to always be respectful and not overlap your experience with traumagenic systems, but also stand firm on your own experiences. Many traumagenic systems have been phenominally friendly to us, and have been great people to come out to.
Those are factors to consider about the actual person themself. Openmindedness is a key factor, but age is also a big one. Anyone 13 and under will most likely not understand a word of what you have to explain. The closeness is more for your own sense of safety. Either you A. tell a friend who you know would never judge you, or B. tell someone you really don't care about losing or having their approval.
Now then, here are some things to do when actually coming out:
This is maybe more an assessment of their open mindedness, and its basically the slow and safer approach. This is the approach you want to use for close friends, for family if you are so daring, or just someone you want to tell but are not sure how they'll recieve it. Talk to them, far beforehand coming out, about things like how they feel about what it woyld be like to have other personalities, if they think its possible, etc. Some good segway topics to this are DID (though you want to veer away pretty quickly from it and take the approach of," but what if there was another way?"), and also AI (again, leading into talking about sentience, and other personalities). Its a good way to estimate their receptiveness to the topic in general, and then you can move on to questions like," well what if you met someone like that?" Basically, you are testing their receptivity to the topic, and also possibly assuaging their questions and concerns before you are even out to them. After you are comfortable with their receptivity, thats when you can come out. You can handle that however you want, or even segway into our second approach. Of course, if at any point before you come out you get the sense that they would not be receptive, this allows you the option to retreat before coming out.
This approach is, if you'd pardon the language, the very much 'balls to the walls' sort of approach, unless you have preceded it with the former. This is the approach for strangers, for people you don't care about if you lose them or not, people with little attatchment to you, or people who you feel so inclined and certain of their receptivity that you just want to tell them. This can be formally or informally done. Formally being, maybe sit them down to talk with them, or include it in your introduction if you are first meeting them. Informally being just state it blatantly, off hand, in text, and let the questions come later or after. There is of course, no retreat to this.
In a word? Be openly plural. This is again, something I feel like we've exclusively done with strangers online. Talk about your system life and tulpas as though they were normal, just a part if your life (which... they are!). Say 'we' as a reference to yourself and headmates. People will just naturally get confused or ask, and you explain yourself as you feel neccesary, whether you're willing to go in depth or just offhand. There is also not really a retreat to this but we've also never tried to retreat? Perhaps if you feel inclined you could stop and pass it off as a joke or you just acting weird.
But above all. Above EVERYTHING included here, in all the assessments of receptiveness, above any way you choose to approach the situation.
Know EXACTLY what you are talking about, and how to explain your experience. It helps to know about DID so you can explain exactly why you are different from it. It helps to know about some of the studies and theories behind how tulpamancy works, which I'm sure many people on this forum would love to share their theories. Talk about the Stanford study, about the census study we take yearly, talk about neuroscience and how tulpamancy may just be a unique way for neurons to continuously stay stimulated (as they need to do), or that some neurotypes may be predisposed to plurality. Know about psychology, about conditioning and personality development and consciousness. And of course, be prepared to explain exactly what you experience, and what other people experience too. Also? Frankly? Don't be afraid to admit that not a lot about tulpamancy and endogenic systems are well understood. There's lots of research to be done still, but we are slowly getting there. Maybe even explain the history of tulpamancy and how it was dwrived from an old Tibetan pracyice (of which modern yulpamancy is actually mistly difgerent from). The more informed you are, the better you can explain yourself and what exactly you experience, the better the outcome. And this is especially important why you only ought come out to open minded people.
Anyways, I do believe that is all I have to say on the topic of how to come out. Again, perhaps me and my system have been profoundly lucky. But it has been beneficial for myself and the others to be out. To be ourselves. It helps us to make connections to other people, have our own experiences, feel validated and not hidden away from the world. And its what me and my system will continue to do is slowly come out, and make our plurality a regular part of our lives. Family is still iffy for us, they have a long ways to go. But for us, starting next fall semester, we are going to be at a new college, and we are not holding anything back. It'll be our first time just about entirely open about who we are.
Best of luck to those who do come out. Cheers to this fascinating and wonderful life which we have.