Always Trust Your Gut, Especially In These 10 Situations

As an only child, I grew up with two artistic and unconventional parents who were more like friends and who taught me to always follow my gut instincts no matter what. As a result, I’ve had no issues quitting a grad program after 6 weeks before it wasn’t the right fit for me, or cutting a mean cousin out of my life despite the fact that we were super close for years. This is just the way I am, so it often surprises me that people think it’s not always smart to make snap decisions. If you don’t follow your gut, though, you end up unhappy and you have no one to blame for yourself. Here are the 10 situations when you 100 percent need to trust your gut.

  1. If you want to turn that first date into a second date. If you’re the girl who has a million first dates and finds it difficult to accept a second date, your gut has everything to do with that important decision. Many times, you’ll have an okay yet not earth-shattering evening, but just don’t feel that connection or spark or whatever you want to call it. If you follow your gut, you’ll come to the right choice, because you’ll just know whether you want to see this person again. It’s really just a gut decision and has nothing to do with what music he’s into or if he’s as into his career as you are.
  2. If your friend has become toxic and worthy of a reality show. Our girlfriends are some of the most important people in our lives. They’re super strong women who are there to pick us up when we fall, who text us 24/7 and are basically always there for a laugh or a bad date story. But if you have that one friend (and we all do, unfortunately) who is getting competitive with you, who brags all the time, who doesn’t make time for you and sees herself as super important, then that’s a toxic person. You can list all the reasons why she’s no longer an amazing friend but in the end, your gut will tell you whether to give her one more chance or say goodbye forever.
  3. If you’re wasting your life away at your dead-end job. Your 20s are a time to figure out your career, and often that means accepting a job because, you know, we all need to eat kale and pay rent on our overpriced and tiny apartments. It’s a tough decision to quit your job and go after what you truly want, but every single person who followed their career dreams took a leap of faith and didn’t know if it would work out. It’s up to you and your gut to decide if you can handle another year or two at your boring day job or if you are dying inside.
  4. If this almost relationship is messing with your mental health. This past winter I was surprised to find myself in an almost relationship. It was like a trap. By the time I realized what was going on, I was already really into the guy and honestly believed things were going in a more serious direction. (I’m the only person to ever have experienced this, I know.) I got out before too much emotional damage was done after one evening when he was at my apartment and I just felt grossed out by the whole situation. I’m super grateful that my instincts told me this was a bad scene for me because I was able to move on easily and reclaim my happy self.
  5. If you actually want to take the next step in your relationship. We always think of relationships as living, breathing things that need to meet each major milestone, from the first trip you take with your significant other to moving in together to getting engaged and beyond. But maybe even after a year you’re not ready to shack up just yet or the thought of a shared vacation sends you into a tailspin. That’s totally cool. Just listen to your gut and it’ll tell you when those milestones should happen for you (if at all).
  6. If the guy you’re seeing drops the L-word super soon. Each couple has their own timeline, and it’s always different. Maybe you truly love this guy, too, even if it’s only been three months. Or maybe it took him much longer to share his true feelings and you’re freaking out because you don’t feel the same. Be honest with yourself – it’ll only hurt both of you if you lie.
  7. If your BFF is drinking too much, eating too little, or showing signs of depression. When we suspect that someone close to us is struggling, we often second-guess ourselves, wondering if we’re just being obsessed. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. In the age of gluten-free obsessions and juice cleanses, it’s hard to know what’s normal, but you know what’s healthy and what’s not. If your friend is hurting, you need to help – reach out, talk to their partner, call their mom. You’ll regret it if you sit back and do nothing.
  8. If your job is in danger or your company is showing signs of shutting down. It’s hard to get a job in these rough economic times and sometimes it can be even harder to hold onto your position once you land one. You know when something’s just off at the office. If you think your position might become redundant or you suddenly are being totally ignored by your boss, or your pay checks aren’t coming as regularly, you owe it to yourself and your career to talk to your manager about it. Better to be safe than sorry.
  9. If you’re living someone else’s life. We’re so conditioned to do what our parents want us to do, whether it’s go to law or medical school or get good grades or even get married young, that it be tough to strike out on our own and listen to what we actually want. If you’re generally unhappy yet can’t put your finger on what’s wrong, you’re probably not living the life you wish you were. 
  10. If something is making you anxious. Our bodies are pretty smart and tell us when something’s not right. If you’ve ever suffered from anxiety, you know the often unpleasant physical signs. You absolutely need to listen to yourself if a person or place or situation makes you anxious. That’s a definite sign that something needs to change.
Aya Tsintziras is a freelance lifestyle writer and editor. She shares gluten-free, dairy-free recipes and personal stories on her food blog, She loves coffee, barre classes and pop culture.