The behavior young kids keep hidden from certain friends
By Colleen Cunha
Of all the people you’re friends with in college, do you know everything they do, or might they have secret night lives?
Some college students are trying to keep their “school lives” and their “party lives” separate by having no common ground between the two. For some, this may work as a way to block out the temptation to party when they should be studying and to keep their personal lives separate from their scholastic peers’ impressions of them.
For others, it may work as a way to hide their insecurities from certain people. If your friends that you study with are strongly against underage drinking but you enjoy going to parties and drinking on the weekends, it’s probably easiest to keep your weekend activities away from your study friends.
One college student, Anne*, says she very much prefers to keep her “going out” friends apart from the students she has classes with. “It’s easier for me in both situations, in class and at parties, if there are different people in each environment,” she says. But doesn’t this make it seem like she’s being two-faced? Anne is changing her personality around each group of people, but in this situation it might not be such a horrible thing.
“I do act different with different [groups of] friends, but that’s because it’s appropriate. You shouldn’t act the same way at a party as you do in class, so I guess it’s less the people and more about where I am, but the different people make certain parts of my personality come out,” says Anne unapologetically. Being goofy with your goofy friends is fine, and being studious with your study friends seems logical. Really, the whole idea makes sense.
Another student, Molly*, says she’s in a similar situation, but that she has some things she really keeps secret from her scholastic friends. “I smoke, but I have an entire group of friends who have no idea. It’s something I don’t want to be judged for, and they’ve never asked so I just don’t tell them,” she states without hesitance.
Here’s where the problem with secret night lives comes in¾is Molly really being herself, or, like Anne, does this still count as different aspects of one big, adaptable personality? It could very well be an issue of insecurity. She may be ashamed of her habits and not want people to know. Molly is very close to her scholastic friends, but it’s just not the place to bring up something as controversial as smoking. Although it’s her choice to tell them, it’s still a negative aspect of having a secret night life.
Emily*, another student, says, “I don’t keep my class friends separate from my party friends at all. We’re a close-knit group and we do everything together. They know I like to go out and they know that I like to get work done when I need to.” Emily is able to be very close friends with the other students that live in her dorm; so close that they study together, live together and party together. This lifestyle, completely lacking secrecy, seems to work in her situation.
Having different groups of friends is common in high school and, in some cases, carries on to college. It could be a phase where students are still looking to figure out who they really are, but with some people it could be a longer lasting issue involving insecurity and identity crisis.
For students like Emily, it’s easy to assimilate both parts of her life. But for others like Anne and Molly, having more than one front is the way to go. With Anne, it’s as if her personality is really adaptable, and being with different people brings out different sides of her. This isn’t negative at all. Molly’s reasoning for keeping her two lives separate comes from a fear of being looked down upon by some of the people she considers her friends.
In the end, it’s hard to say whether it’s better to keep secrets about aspects of your life from some people, or to open up to your closest friends¾it really depends on the individual.
*Names have been changed.