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This Woman's Coming-Out Advice To Her Younger Self Is Too Pure For This World

"I know you're worried to come out to your friends right now. But don't worry. They're gonna be your bridesmaids one day."

Posted on August 20, 2018, at 6:51 p.m. ET

Grace Baldridge, 27, recently got married and spent some time honeymooning in Hawaii with her new wife, Elizabeth. But while the couple was off celebrating their nuptials, a photoset Baldridge had absentmindedly tweeted just before leaving went viral.

Instagram: @ehbaldridge

The first image shows Baldridge as a high school student at prom, surrounded by her three best friends. The accompanying photo shows her surrounded by the same friends — this time at her own wedding as her bridesmaids.

Dear Grace-At-Prom, I know you’re afraid to come out to your friends right now. But don’t worry. They’re gonna be your bridesmaids one day. https://t.co/N7UZIKZ7Vz

She captioned the tweet to her former self, writing, "I know you're afraid to come out to your friends now. But don't worry. They're gonna be your bridesmaids one day." By the time she checked her phone, the tweet had been liked more than 40,000 times.

"I definitely didn't expect it to connect with as many people as it did," Baldridge told BuzzFeed News. "I was off my phone for most of the honeymoon, so checking in to see so many retweets was surprising. I loved seeing the responses from other people with similar stories of friendship."

Baldridge said the girls have all been friends since the third grade, but grew closest in high school. "We all went to an international school in Waterloo, Belgium. None of us were raised in our parents' home countries, so we really bonded like family."

She came out to each of her friends at different times and, she admitted, sometimes more than once.

"As is the case for many, coming out was a process for me. However, their acceptance was never a process, it was immediate. Even when I couldn't express what was going on, they were always patient and supportive."

Instagram: @ehbaldridge

Cecilia Jeppsson, one of the bridesmaids from the viral photo, told BuzzFeed News that when Baldridge came out to her, she "didn't think it was a big deal at all."

"I told her I love her and support her always," Jeppsson said. "If you have a friend who is worried about coming out, make them feel loved and safe with you and show them you’ll have their back if anyone comments anything negative."

Ariane Harper, another bridesmaid, said that when Baldridge came out to her she had already secretly booked a flight to surprise her. "She mentioned she was seeing someone and all I could say was, 'Well, that’s going to work out well, because I’m coming to visit you and I can’t wait to meet her!'"

Many Twitter users commented on the photos, voicing their emotional responses to the genuine message.

A few were even moved to share their own stories of coming out to close friends:

"If I could give myself advice back then," Baldridge said, "I'd say, 'When you outgrow the dark, lonely security of this closet you've built, when you feel brave enough — your friends are waiting for you right outside. They've been there this whole time. Whenever you're ready.'"

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