There seems to be a school of thought these days that you can do anything that you want when you’re in your 20s. You have the freedom to chose where you live, where you work, what you do with your spare time. But sometimes this idea translates into crappy behavior – the feeling that just because you’re not “tied down” with a husband and three kids and a mortgage, you can treat people however you want. That’s just not true. Here’s why youth is never an excuse for bad behavior. Sorry, no get-out-of-jail-free card here.
- Ghosting shouldn’t ever be a thing. Previous generationss didn’t have to deal with this since, of course, they didn’t have iPhones. We all like to think that it’s fine that we ghost because we’re millennials and that’s what we do. But just because you’re young and something is socially acceptable doesn’t mean you should do it. By now it’s super obvious when a guy is ghosting us and you know how crappy you feel when on the receiving end, so stop doing it yourself. It’s so much better to politely say that you’re too busy to date right now or have met someone else (even if it’s a lie).
- Emotions don’t change based on age. Let’s be real here: if you’re not super nice to someone, they’re going to be upset. It’s just a fact of life. Feeling badly because an old friend is ignoring your texts or a newer colleague doesn’t want to grab Friday night drinks is a universal emotion. It has nothing to do with age.
- We’re a generation of flakes. Countless guys who have happily chatted with me online and then made lots of excuses or generally made it tricky to actually meet in person. It was only when a guy on OkCupid recently mentioned that he’s had a series of girls cancel dates that I realized that this goes both ways. Both genders are super flakey and can decide not to meet up with someone on a total whim. Maybe we get cold feet about meeting a stranger or are frustrated with going on so many awkward dates. Either way, we should just stop. What’s so wrong with giving a new person a chance? At the very least, it’s two hours of your life. It won’t kill you.
- Regret is real. Oh, regret. So annoying and yet so motivating too. It may sound pretty cheesy but whenever I’m trying to decide whether I should do something, I wonder if I would regret missing out. If no, I don’t do it. If yes, I go for it. When you’re considering breaking up with a friend or taking a stand about a guy’s online dating behavior, decide if you would truly regret it or if you think it’s the right thing. But don’t just act however you want because you figure, hey, you’re young, you can.
- We should stop the busy cycle. You know the one – you complain you’re too busy to date, tell every guy you meet that your work is your entire life, then wonder why you’re still single. I love my writing career as much as the next person but I know it’s my fault if I devote 100 percent of my time to it without trying to be social. It’s kind of annoying if you whine about your non-stop schedule but then say you want love.
- We need to decide what we actually want. It’s no secret that dating is pretty rough these days. We make lists upon lists of deal breakers as if we’re kids again, asking Santa for super specific presents… only to date someone with those qualities and decline a second date. Sure, we’re still young, but that doesn’t mean we can’t want love or commitment or even just a six-month casual thing. Our youth doesn’t have to mean we’re super single all the time.
- We have to commit to something. If you don’t want a serious relationship, that’s okay. But that doesn’t mean you can’t commit to other things and people in your life. Sign a one-year lease on your dream apartment (within your budget, of course). Take a six month course. Be a better friend and make an effort to see the people you love on a regular basis. We’re all busy and stressed in our 20s but that’s no excuse to let your friendships fall to the wayside.
- Everyone was young once, too. Your family friends, relatives, the older woman at your barre studio. One guarantee is life is that the aging process will happen to every single one of us. We may think we’re young and part of the millennial cohort so we can do whatever we want, but these people were our age once, too, and they still strived to be good people. We should do the same.
- Someday we won’t be so young. I know, I know, you can’t imagine not being in your 20s anymore, but someday you’ll wake up and be 30 (and beyond). You’ll wonder why you don’t have all the things you thought you would but if you wasted your youth away thinking you had all the time in the world, someday you’ll realize you were wrong. So live your life going after what and who you truly want and forget about how “young” you are. Age is just a number, as they say.