No matter where we turn, we are constantly bombarded with new articles about why our generation (mainly teens and twenty-somethings) is lazy, unappreciative, self-centered and the worst thing to ever happen to society. Of course, at 21 years old, I completely resent and disagree with many of these accusations, but I will be the first to admit that (much like the youth of each generation before us), we are known to make mistakes and represent ourselves in a negative way.
As we graduate from college, look for jobs and are released into the Real World, what defines our ascendance into adulthood? I believe in the importance of transitions, which is why I suggest a few little nuggets of advice for being slightly more grown up while you’re still young. I am no Emily Post, so feel free to add your own tips in the comments below!
The Weekend Five: Small Tips For Being Slightly Classier and More Grown Up
1. Don’t put anything on the Internet that you wouldn’t want to resurface if you were running for public office.
Similarly, if you wouldn’t want your employer or your family members to see it, then don’t take a picture or video of it. Obviously, the best way to avoid this is to not to do stupid things, but the next best option is to keep it off of your Facebook (or Myspace, if you still live in 2005). Let’s be honest – nobody is judging you for having a social life, but there are still some things that you should keep to yourself, especially in this social media-obsessed world. Not only can sharing the bad things paint you in a bad light, but it can also keep you from getting certain jobs and coveted positions later on.
2. Read something other than just Fifty Shades of Grey.
By all means, don’t be afraid to indulge in a little E.L. James here and there if that’s what you’re into, but try to be somewhat familiar with some of the classics as well. You don’t have to deconstruct anything the way you did in high school and college literature classes, but it’s a good idea to have a basic framework for some of the stories people are still talking about today. Not only does it make you sound older, but it also makes you sound a little more scholarly and well-read!
3. Be a gracious house guest.
Don’t be the one friend who shows up to every social gathering empty-handed. Even if all you were able to bring were break-and-bake cookies, the thought will be appreciated and possibly reciprocated in the future.
4. Thank you notes are a must.
A handwritten thank you note can go a long way. Whether my friend bought me a birthday present or I was just interviewed for a position I wanted, I always make sure to send something to let others know that I recognize the things they do for me and that I appreciate them. Everyone likes to be appreciated, so why not go the extra mile?
5. Know when to share your opinion.
It’s always good to be able to have a frank discussion with someone about a controversial issue, and to be able to communicate freely. However, sometimes it’s better to sit back and avoid expressing your opinion, especially if it’s going to lead to more conflict than it is worth. One mark of maturity is being able to let go of your own pride to avoid letting an argument get out of hand — in other words, agreeing to disagree. After all, if you and a friend have two strong but very opposite viewpoints about a specific topic, you probably aren’t going to change each other’s minds no matter how much you duke it out, so why not enjoy the other person’s company instead?
What are some tips you have for being classier and more grown up?