By: Megan Christopher
Millennials have been getting a bad rep over the years, but perhaps for good reason. I've been noticing a lot of fellow millennials who are ill-mannered and negative, or just refuse to grow up. I'm no authority, but I do think there are some things we could all work on, myself included. I've put together a list of 10 things every millennial should know about "adulting."
If you want to be taken seriously…
Dress like an adult
We have been taught not to judge a book by its cover, but science has long since revealed that first appearances are a part of nature. You don't have to run out and buy a whole new (boring) wardrobe, and you can still express yourself, but maybe it's time to put away some of the clothes the high-schoolers are wearing. Or at least, don't wear them to the office.
Time seems to be more valuable today than ever before. Everyone is busy with jam-packed schedules trying to keep up with the round-the-clock nature of the Internet. Your time and others' time is very limited and must be valued as gold. That being said, learn how to arrive on time. Not just to job interviews, arrive on time to everything: doctor's appointments, brunch dates, meetings, spin class. Because if you don't value other people's time, who is going to value yours?
Don't play the victim
Life is hard. We all know that. But growing up is about learning resiliency and not letting life get you down. We all have those friends who never shut up about how the world is against them and refuse to even hear your advice, no matter how well intentioned it is. The unfortunate thing is that for most of the people who view life as this thing plotting against them, they truly can't view it any other way. They're stuck in that perspective and their perspective becomes their reality. Pay attention when you feel yourself getting sucked into the downward spiral of victim hood and learn how to climb your way out.
Choose your friends wisely
Spend time with people who you admire and look up to. You've probably seen some form of this circulating on the internet, "You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with." Whether that's the case or not, you can't deny that your peers influence your thoughts and behaviors. It's important to surround yourself with people who share similar values as you and who understand the importance of respect.
No one wants to hear it and it's almost always pointless chatter. Complaining makes you seem small and sound petty, or worse like an entitled millennial. If you find yourself complaining just to talk, try asking the other person about their day or how they're doing. That way you're building a rapport and will have topics to follow up on in the future. If you can remove the energy from the complaints and put it towards connecting with people, you learn to cultivate authenticity and true human connection.
Learn to be positive
This could go for basically everyone these days, but there truly is a lot to say about positivity and success. Just as complaining negatively impacts your view on reality, positivity shifts your perspective for the good. You don't need to be "fake positive," but try filtering the unnecessary negative thoughts that run through your brain and see how you can reverse them. Practicing positivity to alter your thoughts can alter your reality. Now, that is powerful.
Listen. Listen. Listen.
Don't just use your ears to wait for the other person to stop talking so you can talk. Growing up is about learning to listen. Pay attention not only to the words people are saying, but try to notice their tone and inflection, watch their movements and be aware of the intention behind the words. When you practice listening, you learn to slow down and be in the moment while also actually hearing what's being said.
Let go of FOMO
Do the things you want to do and say no to the things you don't want to do. Simple, right? It's easier said than done because you have to prioritize your values and what's important to you. If it's important to go out drinking with your friends every night and you don't value sleep or productivity, then do that. If it's important for you to get ahead in your career and make a name for yourself, then I'd say no to the drinking and yes to the sleep.
There comes a time when you learn what it means to be a true friend and liking each other's Instagram posts may not be enough. That's when you learn to be vulnerable and speak the truth even though it may be terrifying. One of the most exciting things about connecting with other people is when you both let your guard down and let the other person see you exactly as you are. This applies to all forms of relationships, not just romantic ones. Vulnerability takes you beyond the familiar terrain of surface-level friendships and into the unknown. Practicing vulnerability in your life will not only improve your relationships but will help with your career by learning the importance of honesty and maturity.
Understand that respect and authenticity are key
Ultimately we're all just trying to get by in life. Trying to figure out the life we want to live, then live it a little before it's over. But it's easy to forget that when running in the rat race. How can you be more respectful and authentic with yourself in order to be more respectful and authentic with others? We like to think we're islands completely independent of one another, but no man can survive without human connection, so make that connection real.