He Said, She Said: Do You Care if Your Parents Like Your Friends?

The calendar pages have flipped to September and there’s a chill in the air reminding us that summer is over. ‘Back to school’ used to be the worst time of the year, but now it something we look forward to. Returning to campus means returning to freedom—there are no parents to drag us out of bed before noon on the weekends, force us to be in by midnight, or tell us they don’t like our friends.

At a time when we focus so much on establishing our independence, it can be easy to ignore what Mom and Dad would think of our behavior. We make our own rules regarding our eating habits, what time we go to bed, and whom we surround ourselves with.

What matters to college students when making decisions? Do guys and girls have the same opinions when it comes to caring if our parents like our friends?

Although the male and female minds differ on several fronts, there is no such distinction on this particular topic. Perspectives tend to fall into one of two categories, regardless of gender.

The first is the more extreme of the views. When asked her opinion on the matter, Petra Solarik ‘15 was confident in her response. “I don’t care what my parents think of my friends,” she began boldly, explaining, “I’d rather make my own mistakes and try to judge character myself.”

Nick Fredette ‘15 held a similar standpoint, but of a more moderate persuasion. “It doesn’t really matter to me,” he started before pausing to think further. “It makes it easier if they do like my friends though. It’s more comfortable when I have people over the house.”

On the other hand, some students prefer their friends to be approved; most often citing shared values as motivation. Such is the case of Ivy Klein ‘15. “My mom and I have a lot of the same opinions on things, so if she doesn’t like a friend of mine, then I know something is probably off. She has a good handle on those things.”

In a similar strain, many students recognize that with age comes experience and knowledge. “I think my parents have a certain level of wisdom,” said Ryan Lloyd, a freshman hailing from Hawaii. “They know what’s best for me, to a certain extent at least. So I try to pay attention to what they have to say.”

So how does all this play into the everyday life of the average student? College is arguably the best time in life to establish a sense of identity, to test the waters and see what the world has to offer. It is important to strike a healthy balance between staying true to yourself and preserving your familial values.

Guys and girls face tricky challenges alike. The goal is that after four years of trial and error, students will graduate confident in their decision—making abilities.