Keep It Low-Key: 4 Smart Reasons Why We Become More Private With Age

by Erika Huber

Back in our high school days, we were packed into classrooms and hallways like sardines.

It was hard to keep your business on the down-low. Your peers were like TMZ, always watching, always talking.

And so, we became accustomed to the spread of wildfire-like rumors, the untrustworthy confidants who let our secrets slip through their teeth and the false assumptions being whispered behind our backs.

Because of this forced openness we experienced on a daily basis, we were less prone to even trying to keep the details of our lives low-key.

“Are you a virgin?” wasn’t such a prying question back then. We used sleepover games like “Never Have I Ever” to expose personal and embarrassing information, feeling a certain obligation to honesty like we were on trial or something.

But it’s when you start lying during those games that you can say you’ve gotten a little more mature.

Sure, those who are comfortable with being open should be open if they want to be.

But, from what I’ve observed, the older you get, the less compelled you feel to share what goes on in your life with others, even sometimes with those closest to you.

You learn to play your cards right, to omit from conversation things only you need to know.

The unwarranted itch to out yourself goes away, perhaps because our lives become more complex. What we do behind the scenes isn’t the only interesting thing going on anymore.

Now, of course, adults of all ages gossip, and the weight of that gossip is usually heavier than the prom drama we once thought to be so heavy. But, for that reason, privacy becomes sacred with age.

Here are four reasons to keep our sh*t on the down-low as we mature:

Things get messy when outside players join the sex and dating games.

Sharing every aspect of our relationships with our friends and family can put us in an uncomfortable position where too much is exposed.

Not every fight or every movie-worthy moment needs to be passed along in conversation. Not only can these details become exhausting to listen to, but they’re also liable to lose their value.

It’s like listening to your favorite song too many times. Those special, intimate moments get worn out when retold, so we learn to keep them to ourselves.

Similarly, the details of the bad times lose substance, too. They become monotonous tales of our relationship woes that paint an uglier picture than the reality of the situation.

We sometimes sabotage the way people see us by venting too often.

With the novelty of sex wearing off with gained experience, it becomes a more private subject than when it was the hottest topic at the college dining hall table.

Romantic sex becomes something to keep in a lockbox. Even the details of casual sexcapades can lose the heat beneath them that once made them such fiery pieces of gossip.

The reason for this is likely because our ideas about sex evolve with time. The more emotions that get mixed in, the more personal our “sexperiences” become.

The world doesn't need to know that much and you don't want them to.

At some point (hopefully), subtweeting loses its pizazz. You grow up and realize typing up some cryptic message and throwing it out into cyberspace isn’t so cute and only stirs the pot -- and not in a good way.

Most likely, the person you’ve decided to passive-aggressively irritate will retaliate in a similar fashion, and that is not how adults handle their sh*t.

What’s even worse is your subtweet can be seen by everyone else. Making a mini spectacle of your problems creates an audience of people who don’t need to be involved.

Social media allows you to delete, but not to be unseen, which is why it’s just about the worst forum to air out your dirty laundry.

It’s when you go to type up some ambiguous comment about your relationship standards and then stop at the 22nd character to erase it all that you know you’ve taken a step in the right direction.

You want to be trusted by others.

While some of us never learn the value of someone else's privacy (those of us who suck), many of us do.

We learn when a friend tells us something in confidence, whether we feel it's really that big of a secret or not, we understand the importance of earning and keeping trust.

It makes life that much easier when you can trust and be trusted.

It's often past mistakes, like blurting out the details of your friend's hookup in front of her brother or accidentally saying too much about boys' night out in front of your buddy's new girl, that teach us a lesson.

You know there are just some things you don't repeat.

You can't trust everyone.

It takes a lot of trial and error to learn who is worthy in your life. Most of us have made the mistake of telling the wrong things to the wrong people and having it come back to bite us in the butt.

You can’t trust people to possess the same values about confidentiality you have. Some people have no real reason to keep the things you’ve told them just between you two.

You can get royally screwed over being too open with someone who hasn’t proven his or her trustworthiness to you over many years. In other words, “ride or dies” are sparse and rare.

Some people are far too entertained with other people’s lives. Some people just physically can’t keep their traps locked even when they’ve promised to.

Privacy, maturity and trust all swim in the same pool, and with age, you learn how to float in it. Just don’t get bitten by any big-mouthed sharks.