Originally Posted by SayYes
I'm a relative newbie to all of this myself, but I just wanted to jump in and say that whatever you do, I would not let the notion that this always has to be kept a secret hold you back from pursuing what you decide you want to do. It was a lightbulb moment for me when I realized that (for me, at least) polyamory was not something that I had to keep "behind closed doors."
I always feel that hiding things from your friends is dishonest both to yourself and your friends. It doesn't give them a chance to show how grown-up they can be about it, and it forces you to lie and feel guilty.
At the end of the day, you may lose some friends by coming out, but do you really want friends who don't accept you for yourself, anyway? I "came out" to a good friend of mine. I knew she was pretty open minded, so it was a good testing ground. It was great, because even though she had never heard of it and didn't really understand it at first, I didn't feel that her opinion of me changed in the slightest. She was curious and asked a lot of questions to understand it better, and then we went about our normal lives.
That being said, I don't have a lot of friends and the ones I do tend to be very much "like me" in terms of being open-minded and accepting of alternative lifestyles. I have a lot of acquaintances, work colleagues that kind of thing, and I don't tell them because they're not "like me" and I can't be bothered to both educate them and defend myself while trying to maintain a positive work environment.