Friendships are work. Just because you’re adulting hard doesn’t mean you have to let them slip away.

When you’re going through high school and college, the idea of drifting apart from your closest friends seems impossible. When you share a bond so strong, how could living in different cities or working opposite schedules get in the way?

Flash forward to your mid-20s, and you haven’t talked to any of them in months. Maybe you don’t even have their numbers.

After I graduated college, I learned the hard way that friendship is like a garden – if you don’t water it consistently, the vines will wither and die. Busy with work and high on my new career, I gradually started losing contact with the people who once meant the most to me. I assumed it would be easy to make new friendships, just like it was in college – how wrong I was.

Thankfully, I was able to turn things around before I lost my friends completely, but others aren’t so lucky. There are twenty-somethings all over the country pining for their old buddies, wondering where it all went wrong. If you don’t want to become one of them, read ahead to find out how.

Create a schedule.

My friend Leslie told me about how she would go weeks without talking to her sister, and how sad it made her. Every time she’d call, her sister would be busy and vice versa. Sick of playing phone tag, they created a schedule where every Sunday at 2 p.m., they call each other and catch up on an episode of their favorite show, usually “Pretty Little Liars” or “Chopped.”

Leslie said that since they created a schedule, they haven’t missed a phone call unless one of them has been on vacation. I love the idea of creating a regular phone date at the same time every month.

For this system to work, each person has to promise to be available during the agreed time and not cancel when life gets busy. You can’t flake out just because you’re tired or your boyfriend really wants to watch a movie – once you miss an appointment for flimsy reasons, it’s going to be easier to skip out from that point on.

Keep it simple.

A couple weeks ago, my college friends and I took a four-day trip to Asheville, North Carolina. We stayed in a rustic cabin outside of town and planned to spend our time kayaking, paddleboarding and hiking – almost none of which we actually did.

Why? We spent most of the time talking to each other, drinking homemade cocktails and staying up late playing Taboo. I had as much fun with them singing along to the Spice Girls in the car as I did exploring downtown Asheville.

If you’re struggling to make time for your friends, you might be overthinking it. Don’t try to plan an amazing Friday night, ask them over to watch “30 Rock” or play a board game instead. You don’t have to plan a dinner party or make reservations at the newest bar to have a good time.

Run errands together.

When I still lived in the same city as one of my best friends, we would often do the most mundane tasks together, like go grocery shopping or return clothes we’d bought online.

It’s not that we didn’t want to do something more exciting, but I was very frugal at the time and didn’t have extra money to spend on movies, concerts or going out. Instead, we’d go to Costco, get a hot dog for $1 and then buy whatever was on our list. Even though we were spending our Saturdays at a warehouse club, we still had fun.

If you’re pressed for time, don’t choose between your friends and your responsibilities. Combine them instead. Who knows, your friend might also need to buy moisturizer at Sephora or a new blazer at the mall.

You can even do this if you’re on a call with someone. For example, I love talking on the phone while I’m out walking the dogs or cleaning up around the house. It doesn’t take any extra mental capacity, and I’m not shirking my responsibilities.

That’s why I would always call my mom when I was driving home from work. I didn’t have anything else I needed to do at the same time, and it always made me feel better.

Take advantage of technology.

My best friends and I are separated by multiple states and we only see each other a couple times a year. To bridge the gap, I try to send them articles I think they’ll like or comment on their Facebook photos. Technology makes it so easy to stay in touch, especially if you’re far away.

Since I’ve started texting my friends more, I’ve felt more connected to a part of my life that ended when I graduated from college. I feel happier when I get a text from a friend, even if it’s as simple as an inside joke or a recommendation for acne cleanser.

Send snail mail.

You can also send letters and cards for birthdays and random events. It’s cheap, but it’s so fun to get real mail from your friends.

What are some of the ways you make time for friends? Have you adjusted relationships due to distance or schedules? Tell us about it over at the #Adulting Facebook community.

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While fun, dating isn’t just about playing around. Life’s too short to entertain situations that aren’t right for you. Say what you mean so you can find who you’re looking for.

I’m currently dating (again) after a much-needed break from the single’s scene. This time around has been a lot more fun because I’ve removed a lot of the pressure that I was putting on myself to “meet the one.” That pressure caused me to say “yes” to a lot of dates that should have been immediate “no’s.”

As I navigate the murky dating waters of 2017 I find myself becoming more and more confident about when I need to say “no” to a date and pass on what, at the time, feels like an opportunity that can’t be missed.

In fact, after I finish this post I need to text a guy that I originally connected with on Bumble. He seems pretty nice and if pictures are to be trusted…he’s handsome. But, we originally connected at the beginning (or was it the end?) of July. It’s now August 31st and we still haven’t gone out.

The reason was pretty reasonable. At the time we both went on vacations and were out of town for a couple of weeks. In fact, when he contacted me last week, I had basically forgotten about him because it had been so long since I had heard from him. When he reached out I was actually confused and surprised. But, I decided to say yes to meeting up the following week. But, to be honest, I wasn’t excited.

Are you on the same schedule?

That “yes” left me with that feeling when you want to say no to a date and don’t trust your gut. Originally I was concerned about the amount of travel that this particular gentleman enjoys. I love to travel too, but, what’s the point of starting something with someone who has basically indicated that he won’t be around that often? In fact, he’s heading to Latin America in a few weeks and who knows when he plans on returning.

I’m not looking for a booty call, those are easy, I’m looking for someone to get serious with. In fact, my initial thought was to pass on this guy because he’s just not around enough for what I’m looking for.

My initial “yes” made me feel a little desperate as if there weren’t enough matches out there for me. So I said “yes” to a guy who just isn’t that into being in town.

The thing is, saying “no” to a date doesn’t mean that you won’t ever have another date again. It just means that you’re sending out consistent signals to the Universe about what you will and won’t accept for yourself.

Do you need a break (up)?

Now, if you have been dating your person for awhile and you say no to a date, that action is filed under healthy communication and potentially setting boundaries, depending on why you said “no.” Sometimes you just need to take a break from people-even from your lovers.

When you are honest and kind about why you need space, that is part of establishing honesty and respect within your relationship. Because, in all seriousness, who wants to hang out with someone who needs space or just is not in the mood? I don’t.

Are your beliefs aligned?

Here are some other moments when you should feel confident about saying “no” to a potential date. If you had a first date and you discover your would-be new person has habits or belief systems that are out of sync with yours. Remember the post that I wrote about being ghosted?

Well, when we initially met, that guy shared some political views that are a complete 180 degrees from what I believe in. In fact, we had a really good conversation about all of the things that you never talk about on a real first date. And, during the course of that conversation, I kept thinking…seriously? You believe this sh$t? So, why on earth did I say “yes” to that date with him? Desperation.

I’m trying to meet the one…but, the one will have to be a heck of a lot more aligned with my belief systems than that guy was. If we had gotten serious we would have had problems every time the t.v. was turned on! And, no amount of makeup sex would have fixed those problems.

To be clear, here is a list of reasons why you should say “no”.

  • There is way too much time between the time you initially connect and your actual date. The only exception to this if you bump into each in person and sparks fly like in the movies.
  • Your initial gut feeling tells you that it would be a good idea to pass on this person. Not because they are good or bad, but, because they aren’t the right person for you.
  • You don’t have to agree on everything, but, if your personal belief systems are so out of whack that you will potentially argue every time the TV turns on, you probably should pass on that date.
  • If there are feelings of desperation connecting to your “yes” that should be a solid “no.” You will act crazy and clingy in this situation. Don’t be that person.

Dating can be stressful, exhilarating, and fun. Avoid unnecessary drama (and the appearance of leading people on) when you say yes to a date that should be a solid NO!

Have you ever said “yes” when you knew you should have turned a date down? Any interesting stories about that date that shouldn’t have happened? Tell us over at #Adulting Facebook community.

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Moving home can be a good way to get your feet under you. Just make sure you move home like a grown-ass adult.

Once in a while, we present Adulting.tv LIVE! Subscribe on YouTube to hear about future events, and share your questions about or suggestions for our next discussions!

Show Notes

Does it really mean you’re a failure if you’re moving home? The good news is that it doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world. In fact, you can still be an adult and move back with your parents. But that doesn’t give you a pass to be lazy. Connie Albers joins us to talk about her experience living with her adult children.

Moving home can be a good way to get your feet under you when you’re in a tough spot. Today’s adults face many challenges not experienced by previous generations. We take a look at what it means to be an adult moving home, and how parents and grownup children can make the experience a good one that doesn’t keep you from developing as an adult.

Website: http://conniealbers.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/connielalbers

Hosted byHarlan L. Landes and Miranda Marquit
Produced byadulting.tv
Edited and mixed bySteve Stewart
Music bybensound.com

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Move beyond the petty childhood stuff.

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Sibling drama is part of life for many of us. Many of us assume we will all grow out of it in adulthood. But what if that isn’t the case? What if adult sibling rivalry becomes a thing?

In this episode we look at adult sibling relationships, what you can do to strengthen them, and how to get over the sibling drama once and for all.

Concepts

  • Sibling rivalry, in small doses can be a good thing.
  • The complexity involved with sibling relationships.
  • What contibrutes to sibling drama?
  • How life events and other factors shape our sibling relationships.
  • Tips for improving your relationships with your siblings.
  • What happens when the sibling drama is more than you can handle?
  • Strategies for dealing with sibling drama when it arises.

The DO NOWs for this week revolve around helping you develop stronger ties with your siblings. We look at how you can shift the narrative so that it’s something positive, as well as ideas for connecting with your siblings if you feel estranged.

This week’s listener question tackles the issue of what happens if your sibling BFF is no longer your bestie. We look at how you can approach the problem, and explore ideas for re-establishing good relations.

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Resources

Adult sibling rivalry
The benefits of sibling rivalry in childhood

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No cash? No problem! Fun and romance can happen without spending your whole paycheck, and may even be better for it.

My husband and I are no strangers to broke dates. We started seeing each other while interning abroad on shoestring budgets and continued to be dirt poor throughout college. Eventually, we graduated and started making decent money, but we still consider ourselves connoisseurs of the reduced-cost rendezvous.

The thing is, there’s no reason why a date needs to be pricey. In fact, those of us looking for a frugal partner may actually want to find someone who can have fun without dropping a week’s salary in the process. There are so many options for a cheap rendezvous, you can even suggest one without mentioning that you’re trying to save some money.

Here are some of the best options for dating on the cheap, pulled from my experience as a dead broke, love-struck twentysomething.

Take advantage of free admission.

Almost every local museum, zoo or other attraction has multiple free days during the year when anyone can visit for no cost. My local botanic gardens offer free admission once a quarter, while the zoo has them once a month.

Free days are usually packed with people, so it won’t be a very intimate experience – but it’s a great compromise for broke couples trying to have a little fun. Heavy crowds can also be a great opportunity for people watching.

You can find when attractions are free by searching “free admission [insert city here]” or subscribing to newsletters related to local events. Newspapers usually have an entertainment section where they list event details, and even your city’s Reddit forum will have information on when attractions are free or heavily discounted.

Get outdoors.

What better way to spend a few hours with someone special than by exploring the great outdoors? Find the best local hikes near you and pack a few snacks, water bottles, and sunscreen. You probably won’t have to pay a dime, except for the cost of gas.

Hiking not your thing? Grab a pair of old roller blades and find some quiet side streets, or take your bikes out for a ride. Being active together is always more fun than a traditional dinner-and-a-movie date, and is usually free or absurdly cheap.

It’s well known that exercising and being outdoors releases endorphins and promotes a happier mindset – perfect for a date.

If you’re not the adventurous type or don’t live near any decent hiking spots, hit up the best parks nearby or take a walk through an interesting part of town. When I first started dating my husband, we’d spend date nights taking walks around the neighborhood. Granted, we were studying abroad in London at the time so walking aimlessly was still romantic and exciting.

We didn’t have much money, but I cherished our walks, even if we covered the same ground every time.

Go to trivia events.

I’m a huge fan of going to trivia nights at my local bar. It’s one of my favorite things to do with friends, and it’s way cheaper than you might think. Trivia events usually last a couple hours, and you can order as much or as little food and drinks as you want.

Trivia on a date is fun because it’s interactive and doesn’t require you to answer repetitive questions like “where are you from?” and “how many siblings do you have?”. You’ll learn so much about the other person, like why they know Selena Gomez’s birthday or how they can list all the Star Trek captains in alphabetical order.

I always eat dinner at home before going to trivia and only order a small appetizer when I’m there, spending around $5 each time. You can find a trivia event no matter where you live or what your schedule is. Plus, it’s the perfect excuse for your friends to meet the person you’re seeing.

Cook together.

One of the most memorable dates my husband and I ever had was when we decided to make lasagna on Valentine’s Day. Neither of us had ever cooked lasagna before, but we thought it would be fun to save money and do something together.

It was a disaster. Cooking lasagna is an intense process, both in cooking and cleaning up afterward. We made enough lasagna to last the two of us for a week, after which we decided to never make it again.

But we had a blast, and I still recommend cooking together as a fun date for broke couples. Pick a recipe you’ve never tried, preferably something new or challenging like Thai Curry or a chocolate soufflé.

The point is to get you both out of your comfort zones, trying new things and embracing the challenge together. If the dish doesn’t turn out well, you’ll have a fun story to share with friends and family.

Make the shopping more exciting by visiting a local farmer’s market or ethnic grocery store together. It won’t be as easy or convenient as grabbing take-out or ordering a pizza, but you’ll have more fun and learn a new skill at the same time.

If you have any other great date ideas that won’t break the bank, let us know in the #Adulting Facebook community. See you there!

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One person wants kids, the other doesn’t. It isn’t hopeless but it will take some work to get through it. Here are your options.

In relationships, it’s often our differences that bring us together. A creative type might be drawn to someone with a blue collar background and a handyman skill set. A hardcore fantasy fan might be intrigued by a nonfiction lover. Even Yankees and Red Sox fans have been known to get along.

But there’s one difference that hardly ever jives with a healthy relationship: whether or not you want kids.

The need to have children is so hardwired in some people, it can be hard for them to grasp why anyone would forego the chance to pass on their genes. People on the other side of the spectrum might have trouble understanding the allure of changing diapers or going days without sleep.

It’s a contentious issue – so why do people wait so long to bring it up?

If you’re currently in this situation, it’s time to take action. Here’s what you need to do.

Discuss the issue.

It’s easy to bury your head in the sand about this topic. After all, who wants to talk about something as complicated as having children when you could debate what you think will happen on the next “Game of Thrones” episode?

Unfortunately, this is the kind of potential problem that needs to be discussed as soon as possible. If you’re a woman who wants kids and are married to or in a relationship with someone who doesn’t, you can’t wait forever. Female fertility goes down significantly after 35 and the chance of genetic disorders and other problems also increases. If you’re approaching 30, you can’t just ignore the problem for a few years.

Try talking about the question of children together and see where you both stand. If your partner mentioned a few years ago that he wants kids, it’s entirely possible he’s changed his mind since then. If you talk about your priorities early and often, there’s little chance you’ll be blindsided by a change of heart.

Couples who have been together a long time should consider seeing a therapist. They can help flesh out the issue, offer some perspective and lay out the best options for moving forward. For example, are you really averse to having a child because you’re scared that your partner won’t help shoulder the burden? Even if you’re sure you know the reasons why you don’t want kids, it might be easier to discuss the issue with a professional

For example, are you really averse to having a child because you’re scared that your partner won’t help shoulder the burden? Even if you’re sure you know the reasons why you don’t want kids, it might be easier to discuss the issue with a professional present.

Talk about other options.

If breaking up is not something you want to do, there might be a few ways to compromise. For example, you could look into temporarily fostering a child to see if it fulfills your partner’s parental instinct. Fostering is an intense process and a new home can have a permanent affect on a child, but placements are temporary and can let you both see what it’s like to be parents without making a permanent decision.

Fostering is an intense process and a new home can have a permanent affect on a child, but placements are temporary and can let you both see what it’s like to be parents without making a permanent decision.

You could also consider adopting an older child, if you’d rather skip the diapers-and-midnight-feedings stage of parenting.  If you want to start really slowly, try babysitting for a friend or relative to see how it feels before you decide to foster or adopt a child.

You can also talk to people you know who have children and aren’t afraid to share how it really feels to be a parent. These options should not be taken lightly, especially not as a direct replacement for having your own child.

Too much of what we see on TV and in film romanticizes the act of parenting and doesn’t prepare people for what being a mother or father actually means. Plenty of people want kids right up until the point where they actually have them, so make sure you’ve put real thought into the decision. Becoming a parent should be a conscious act, not a product of biological urges.

Take action.

The easiest decision to make is to maintain the status quo. Our comfort zone is soft and cozy, and disrupting it comes with challenges. Unfortunately, if you’ve discussed having a child and haven’t agreed on a decision you and your partner will be happy with, it might be time to say goodbye.

Everyone deserves to try for the life they want, whether it’s filled with babies and diapers or exotic vacations and late nights out. That’s not to say you can’t go along with your partner’s wishes for the good of the relationship, but make sure it’s a decision you buy into.

Don’t lie to yourself or your spouse if you truly can’t see yourself having kids and being happy, or vice versa. The longer you wait to reveal the truth, the worse the break-up will be.

How to prevent this.

It’s always hard to find someone you like, only to break things off because of a difference in priorities. Still, it’s a lot easier to break up with someone three months into the relationship than three years. Even if you’re worried the question will scare away potential mates, consider how much easier it will be to break up before you’ve moved in, met his parents and adopted a pet together.

Bring up your child-free status whenever you feel comfortable, but do it sooner rather than later. It never feels like the perfect time to discuss a sticky subject, so be prepared to feel awkward no matter how you approach the conversation.

Have you or someone you’ve known been in this situation? Let’s talk about it over in the #Adulting Facebook community!

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Single parenthood can be plenty of fun. Have the best dating life ever.

Once in a while, we present Adulting.tv LIVE! Subscribe on YouTube to hear about future events, and share your questions about or suggestions for our next discussions!

Show Notes

Are you trying to date while raising a family? It can get a little tricky. Single mom Sarah Bettencourt joins Harlan and Miranda to talk about dating as a single parent. We go over the pitfalls of learning to adjust, finding interesting people to spend time with, and how to integrate children with potential mates.

Also, the cost of dating as a single parent is financial as well as emotional. How do you find the “ROI” of your first dates? We dive into figuring out how to make it work for you.

Sarah is the co-founder of Travel Foodie Mom, The Blonde Spot, and podcast host for Monday Morning Mimosas and Nerd Biscuit (coming soon). She believes life is better when you can embrace and she does just that.

Watch the video above or listen to the audio using the player below.

Hosted byHarlan L. Landes and Miranda Marquit
Produced byadulting.tv
Edited and mixed bySteve Stewart
Music bybensound.com

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You’re an adult. Don’t let your parents treat you like a kid.

The best way to support Adulting.tv is to subscribe and leave us an honest review. Thank you!

You love your parents. But are they having a hard time with the idea that you’re a grownup now? It might be time to establish boundaries. It might be difficult, but you need to figure out how to change the relationship dynamic to something healthier.

Concepts

  • Dangers of letting your parents treat you like a child.
  • How to learn how to adult when your parents are babying you.
  • Relationship problems that come when you don’t establish boundaries with your parents.
  • Which boundaries to set with your parents, including parenting your own children and relationships with your S.O.
  • How to ask for help and advice without reverting to being treated like a kid.
  • Tips to help you establish boundaries effectively.
  • How to identify the boundaries that need to be set.
  • Ways to offer a consolation prize to your parents.
  • Reasons to establish boundaries and stick to them.

Our DO NOWs this week focus on reviewing what’s bothering you and honestly evaluating whether or not it’s a breach of boundaries. We also talk about creating a script and practicing so that you are ready to have this difficult conversation with your parents.

A listener this week is tired of being badgered about plans for work and dating. We talk about how to help your parents understand that you’re satisfied and they need to back up and be happy for you.

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Resources

Danger of infantilizing adult children.

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Intrigue leads to date number one. It should take more than that to get a second chance. Are there signs it’ll be a waste of time?

It was the end of a great date and I needed to pop into the restroom before we went on the Cruiser Ride. I had some reservations about him, but he was so cute! He was into me, leaning in, and talking about later (ahem).

But, when I returned, he wasn’t there. I had been ghosted, but at least he had paid the bill. Now, this was the first time that happened to me. You’d think I’d be upset about it. But I wasn’t.

He didn’t leave me with the bill. Besides, I should have listened to my reservations in the first place.

Let’s be honest. Should there even be a first date?

The first time we met was at a brewery.

I was with a group of friends and he was by himself, having a drink (or two, or three). This guy, like many people in Denver, was a new arrival. Somehow we ended up having a pretty lengthy conversation about the things that you’re not supposed to talk about when you first meet: politics and money.

I was surprised when he asked me out before I left, but I agreed to connect later. I didn’t think about it deeply because clearly we were too different. The initial conversation we had revealed the following:

  • He was way more conservative than I
  • He felt conflicted about life
  • He was prone to drinking way too much while out on his own

In fact, I was amazed by some of the things he said and believed because they were the polar opposite of my own personal belief system.

In reality, I probably shouldn’t have gone on a first date with him. But I loved that he worked in the financial industry. I’m a money blogger, so I find finances fascinating. He loved to travel and so do I. He loved his family and I do too.

And, hell, he was really cute. Seriously. Really cute. I was so enamored with the fact that I met someone in real life versus online that I ignored the red flags.

He made the decision for me about the second date.

Are you sticking to your standards?

When deciding on a second date, there are a couple of things you have to get real about. Those were the things I initially ignored in my first (and only two) meetings with Hot Finance Guy.

He drank. Like, a lot. I come from a family with relatives who died from the affects of alcoholism. I am not a big drinker. The amount that he was drinking made me uncomfortable. (And I’ve lived in Paris where they drink a lot more than in the U.S.!) This was actually one of my non-negotiables. I don’t want to be with some guy who drinks like a fish. In fact, I’m amazed that he looked as good as he did, drinking as much as he seemed to.

Ask yourself the following question before agreeing to a second date: would this behavior bother me if we got serious? For me? Hell, yes! This was already an issue. And it was never not going to be an issue for me.

The second way to assess if a second date is worth it is to ask yourself if the most important parts of your values and perceptions about people are in alignment. When we first met, he shared views with me that I just couldn’t wrap my head around. He wasn’t going to change and neither was I. No amount of good nookie would change how we view the world.

He had, to me, a lack of compassion towards others that I shouldn’t have ignored in the first place. Maybe I just appreciated the fact that he was upfront and honest about how he views the world. But we didn’t agree in our worldviews. Even if we had continued dating, this would have become a HUGE issue moving forward. I was already concerned about it.

He seemed conflicted about his life in general. Who needs a conflicted grown-ass man?

Finally, he didn’t seem as interested in asking about what who I was and what I was into. I actually thought this a little bit in that first date.

As I asked questions about his likes and interests, his questioning of me didn’t seem to match. Especially after I mentioned my training to do the Colorado Trail (too much walking I think?).

If you’re debating whether or not you should go on that second date, pay attention to the other person’s interest in you. Yes, he was physically interested (I could tell) but not beyond that, and that’s ok.

Pay attention to the clues.

Being ghosted was lame, but we weren’t going to be a love connection in the long-run because we were too different. I knew that I probably shouldn’t have bothered with that second date.

I’m not saying that the people you date should be exactly like you. But if the red flags are popping up everywhere, and you’re concerned about non-negotiable habits, then it’s obvious that it’s a one-and-done situation.

At least he paid for dinner before he left.

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From money to relationships and everything in between, here’s the best advice from a panel of expert adults.

I know you won’t follow every piece of advice you’re about to read. Some of this won’t have anything to do with you, anyway. But bear with me.

That’s because I and the rest of the Adulting.tv team asked hundreds of people — some of them adults and others… “adults” — what advice they’d give their younger self. Some answered with very specific advice about opportunities they had at the age of 21. Some offered tidbits of wisdom they gained from making mistakes. Most didn’t answer at all.

Don’t worry — even if you take some advice to heart, you’ll still make mistakes in life. Mistakes are the best way to learn about yourself and how you can grow as a person.

But if you have the opportunity to avoid a few, you might as well take it. So let these certified adult experts help you.

Something in this fantastic round-up of advice will apply to you, at any age.

“21 wasn’t that long ago for me but I would say this: Choose a place to live that is inexpensive and allows you to save. Spending too much in rent can really hurt your ability to pay off your student loans, invest, and even travel the way you want to in the future.” Kevin Matthews II

“Don’t be afraid to try new jobs and careers. Like your actual life, your working productive life is a very long period of time and you’ll have many opportunities to switch and try new things. Don’t be afraid to do so, especially when you’re early and have less to risk!” Jim Wang

“Take the time to explore your priorities and hobbies, but make sure you have some buffer in your account. I ran out of money in my early 20s and found myself scrambling and unfulfilled. There is a way to be YOLO yet at the same time be responsible with your spending. Think about money as buying you time and choices instead of cool things, which was what I was most concerned about when I first graduated college.” Sarah Li-Cain

“Don’t always look to see what others are doing with money or what the current trend says you should be doing. Figure out what works for you… This also applies to starting a family, your career and pretty much anything else.”

“Don’t listen to people telling you that starting a business is the ultimate thing to do. Not everyone is built for it mentally or emotionally and it takes more than passion or an interest to make it a success. It’s more than acceptable to be an employee of someone else and plenty of people have lived great lives that way.” Eric Nisall

“Alcohol and sugar are overrated. Try sobriety and protein for a couple weeks.” Doug Nordman

“21 was just a few years ago for me, but the best thing I did and therefore the best advice I have is to start paying off debt ASAP, especially if you are single and don’t have children. I wasn’t dating anyone then, so I lived at home with family, worked 2 jobs and debt snowballed like crazy to pay off as much as I could so that someday when I got married I would be in a little less debt. It really helped, because when I got married at 23 a lot of the financial pressure was off since I had paid off about $17,000 worth of debt on my own. Also– be careful what major you pick in college! I graduated with a degree that I can’t do anything with, that I picked solely because the classes were fun and interesting. Unfortunately, I’m going to have to go back to college for a second degree to actually get a decent job.” Bailey Kay Cummins

“Trust your gut. It will never steer you wrong with jobs (if you are getting a stomachache thinking about the promotion you feel like you have to take, you’ll probably quit 6 months later), with dating (if you feel leery about a guy, he’ll probably be the sort of guy who gets mad at you for being sad), with money (if it feels like a bad use of your money, it probably is). Don’t railroad over those gut feelings.” Emily Guy Birken

“At 21 years of age I was living in a dumpy apartment in a Philadelphia slum with a year-old baby. I had a permanent part-time job and no child support or government aid. As a result, I was so broke I did all our laundry (including the diapers) on a scrub-board. Here’s what I would tell my 21-year-old self. Tough times show us what we’re really made of and what we’re capable of accomplishing. Often, we later realize that what we perceived as misfortune was actually crucial to making us the people we have become. (And in fact, that’s happened.)” Donna Freedman

“At the start of your career, move into a cheap apartment that you hate (ideally with roommates). Why? You won’t want to spend any time there. That makes it easy to skip out on luxury utilities (tv, internet, etc) and expensive furniture. Lower expenses means more cash to put towards investments. You’ll also be able (and willing) to put in more hours at work, creating clear differentiation between you and your peer group. Hustling hard early on should produce a steeper compensation trajectory. Before you know it, you’ll be on a clear path to financial independence.” Eppie Vojt

“This fall you’re going to go through the Student Union at college. There will be a Citibank representative there soliciting students to apply for a credit card. Do not stop. Flip him both birds, yell, “F YOU!” at the top of your lungs and keep walking.” Travis Pizel

Start contributing to a Roth IRA and take advantage of all the tax benefits in retirement investing. Even if you can only afford $50 a month, those early contributions really add up over the years. Just one $50 investment can grow to $749 over 40 years on a 7% annual return. Now imagine you were able to make that $50 a month!”

“When you’re young and don’t pay much in taxes, you might not be getting such a benefit from the instant deductions of a 401k or a traditional IRA. This is when a Roth IRA makes the most sense. You don’t get an instant deduction but get to withdraw the money totally tax-free in retirement, that’s contributions and all earnings tax-free.” Joseph Hogue

“Find what makes you happy and then organize your life around that. Quit comparing yourself to others. Everyone moves at a different pace and has a different focus. What’s important is that you do what’s best for you. Not what’s best for your friends or others around you. Life is much more enjoyable when you do that.” Andrew Daniels

“I know you’ve spent the last 16 years of your life in school, but don’t stop learning now. Keep learning and mastering new skills whether they’re related to your work or not.” Julie Starnes Rains

“Don’t build a life that requires a financial partner. Make your own money and make sure you can support yourself if the shit hits the fan. It’s great to HAVE a financial partner, but it’s another thing to NEED one.” Morgan Marie Quinn

“My biggest revelation after wasting four years of college and working a dead end job was learning that the market doesn’t care about my passions (which were fickle anyway); the market rewarded professions that were IN DEMAND. So my job was to find a niche in the job market that married my skills and interests with jobs that were HIGHLY needed, and that small realization changed everything for me. I no longer felt guilty for “selling out” to make money, because by choosing a career that society valued it was a win-win for everyone.” Curtis Hearn

Negotiate everything! Your salary, purchases, and business deals. It’s a muscle that needs to be built and there is always an opportunity to build it.” Alanna Jackson Anthony

“Don’t underestimate yourself. You might not think you qualify for those scholarships, but you’d be wrong. You’ll be kicking yourself to find out later only five people applied for that $5,000 scholarship and you thought 1,000 people would apply! This goes for graduate school scholarships and TA positions. Just apply.” Melissa Hoffman

“Youth is time to experiment and have new experiences. Manage your money so you can do that. It’s a better investment than grad school for most people. Be bold. But always be able to support yourself.” Teresa Mears

“I’d tell my 21-year-old self to party less. I was a neo in my fraternity at the time and basically wasted a year in school partying. My priorities were not in order.” Jason Butler

“No one cares more about your finances, your career, or your health than you do. Learn about each and pay equal attention to each one so that you have a secure and balanced life for years to come. Don’t let the fear of the unknown stop you. Life happens. Let it.” Amy Savage Blacklock

Exercise. Find a workout routine that makes you feel great and make movement part of your life every single day. I don’t care what you do, whether it’s running or yoga or lifting or walking for miles or playing rec league sports, just find something that gets you physically active most days. Physical exercise benefits your bod, but it’s also an investment in your mental and emotional well-being (and staying healthy = less in healthcare costs). Getting into a workout routine only gets harder as you get older, so start now while it’s easier to work it into your day so it becomes a part of your long-term lifestyle.” Kali Hawlk

“Take a deep breath and understand career success doesn’t happen overnight. Every day when you get to work, it is a new opportunity to impress your team and keep up the momentum. But don’t stop side hustling. Don’t be afraid to invest a few bucks in your projects and stay focused!” Eric Rosenberg

“(1) Work for experience, not income, because eventually the experience will command a far higher income. (2) Buy rental real estate instead of renting and begin as early as possible. Beg or borrow the down payment if necessary. As long as the property is positive cash flow and financed with a fully amortizing, fixed rate mortgage your financial security is just a question of time, and time is why you want to start as early as possible. Rental real estate provides inflation adjusting income you can never outlive, and there’s not many investments you can say that about.” Todd R. Tresidder

“Invest in defense industries. They seem to be doing better and better.” Mason Handke

“Jump on Bitcoin and Ford stocks. In other words, when you see a good financial deal, take time to learn enough to invest in it and do it quickly. Also, skip that whole finishing college thing. You guys know what you want to do; just get your certs and get out. The lost earning potential will eat you up later. Don’t let anyone else tell you what God wants from you. You’re smart enough to figure it out yourself. You’re going to have a lot of ‘I wish…’ moments down the road when you realize you’re letting someone else control your moral compass. Lastly, take that trip to Costa Rica. Just do it. Once you have kids and a real job, it’s going to be so much harder to do. The money’s there. Take the opportunity.” Lacey Keller Smith

Save up so that you can travel and see the world. Don’t worry about a new pair of pants or about going out every weekend. Explore this planet.” Martin Dasko

“Ironically, my 21-year-old self had more money to save and invest than my 37-year-old self. I would have told him to do that. But more than that, start a business. The barrier to entry for many businesses like insurance companies, online companies, etc. is so low, starting it young means great rewards while you’re still young instead of when you’re older like most people. But even more than THAT, be creatively productive with free time. Back then I had GOBS of free time and I did a fair amount of writing, but nothing else I did really created. I was focused mostly on entertainment. Nowadays I have all kinds of desires to continue to be creative, but no time. But if I had started something back then it would have been easier to *continue* working on my passion instead of trying to add time in my day for things I’m passionate about.” Greg Hamblin

“If you make $N per hour and can pay someone to clean your house (or other tasks) for $M per hour, and N>M, pay someone to clean your house while you work more. Now don’t forget to work the extra hours.” Brad Cole

“Open a Roth IRA.” Rhiannon Fox

“Don’t be so serious. Let things roll and have some fun. Explore more. Don’t be so afraid of life.” Joe Saul-Sehy

“Don’t get married!” Arantza Zabala

“You have another half-dozen major failures and reboots in front of you. Don’t take them so hard. Don’t bother getting complexes. Be more focused on what you can and can’t control and fight the one in spite of the other.” Rodney Staton

“Don’t be afraid. Although life can be scary, it is also worth it to face that fear. Don’t give up on your self. What most other people think if you doesn’t matter, especially those who dont like you. Don’t let those people decide your future. That have no investment in you! Work hard! Nothing is easy.” Laurie Clark-Jacobson

“If it is important, financially, it will still be there a week later. Be happy. Don’t take life too seriously.” Morgan Dayna McKinnon

“Do not look for someone else to make you feel good or happy. Try if you can to be secure in yourself. If you are looking, look for someone with same morals, values, and expectations. If your future is to be together your values will allow you to work together on any obstructions that come up. Values discussed before a close relationship, married or not, is key to enjoyment of one another.” Lenorah DeAngelis

“Jäger is NEVER a good idea. Neither is tequila. That petty thing or person you’re overly stressed about now? Let it go. It most likely won’t be there in one year and it doesn’t deserve your energy. See also: people who make you cry for stupid reasons. No one else’s opinion of you matters more than your own. Plan for all the things but don’t plan so much you can’t handle whatever is thrown at you. All those things people in their 30s and 40s tell you? It’s solid advice. Don’t dismiss it. They know their shit (or pretend like they do).” Jana Lynch

“Start early and always save a portion of your paycheck. Try to make it be the same each week.” George Morrison

“Figure out the monies. Know how much your life costs, how to minimize, save, and spend wisely. Never be without at least a month’s expenses in savings. Avoid student loans at all costs.” Lindsay Johnson Nuesca

“Find something you are really good at and make a business.” Kade Marquez

“Invest your money instead of wasting it on all the crap you’re about to buy. Oh yeah, and start a blog — the internet is not a fad.” Tom Drake

“Life is not going to turn out the way you think sweetie, but don’t worry, you are gonna make it and it’s gonna be GOOD.” Charlotte McLendon Baker

“When I spoke to a group of middle-schoolers earlier today I took them on a journey. I told them that I’ve been at my job for 10 years. And I showed them the importance of being picky with how they spend their money. I said 10 years ago, when I started my fancy pants engineering job I could have spent $5 per day on Starbucks coffee. Instead I bought Starbucks stock and now it has tripled in value! And I showed them different examples showing how those small choices made a huge impact! Crystal Hammond

“When you meet people always ask how you can help them achieve their goals, or how you can be helpful in general, and then help them. Never expect anything directly in return but forming those early bonds, and staying in touch will serve you well for your entire life.” Bobbi Rebell

“Get an IUD. ” Elyssa Jean Kirkham

“Make self development a habit. It will take you from good to great.” Felix A. Montelara

“Travel while you can! I didn’t have the travel bug back then. Once you get kids, the game changes. Both time and money are in very short supply. At 21, travel. David Leonhardt

“If you truly believe in your stance, hold firm. People will try to intimidate you, but that doesn’t mean you’re wrong. Applies to just about every part of life.” Kay Bell

“So strange. My nonlinear, unplanned, dirt poor youth doesn’t look at all troubling to me. Maybe just… invest in Microsoft.” Dean Ferguson

“Never marry someone who makes you cry.” Sherri Bible

“Travel. Leave your bubble and visit somewhere where you don’t speak the language; it’s even better if you can live in another country for a while. When you come home, start planning the next trip. Don’t let having kids deter you from traveling; it involves a bit more planning, but they only make it better. Pay off your student loans ASAP then save; you really don’t need a lot of material items. Spend your money on experiences (see first paragraph) and save your money.” Leslie Smith

“No matter your culture, it is okay to be single in your 20s. Discover yourself rather than discovering others, as this will be the one opportunity you have to do so.” Brynne Conroy

“Research is the key to everything related to finances. From renting a place to live and the utility payments required when you move in, to car knowledge when you go shopping for a car. Building credit and how to do it right. Relationships? Be smart, don’t just jump in. Know what matters to you and make those things important in your relationships. Oh, and credit is IMPORTANT. Don’t fuck that up.” Nik Thurnbeck

“Plan well for your retirement. Put away more than you think you can. Stretch! The time sneaks up on you – enjoy yourself some now, enjoy yourself a LOT later – you’ll deserve it! Also, be as good as you can to others — don’t leave anything to regret (oh there will always be regrets — so try to keep them to a minimum) I really think that’s the most important piece of advice. Be kind, be good. Be honest. Especially with yourself. Please keep your promises — every one. If you don’t think you can keep it, don’t make it. Sounds hokey, huh? But its true. Live the very best life you possibly can every day. Respect nature. Look to nature for lessons on life. The more you look at animals, birds, and just nature around us, the more you can understand about human nature. Seek simple affirmations and actualization. The more actualized and complete you feel, the easier it is to be satisfied by the little things. Now to take my own advice – early to bed and early to rise – huh, I wish! Oh one more — Polonious – Act I Scene III – Hamlet: ‘Neither a borrower or a lender be.’ Oh boy, I really mean that one!” Shari Berman Landes

“Always be nice. And don’t sweat the small stuff.” Wendie Berman Biegel

“People will show you who they are.” Jenna Carpenter Smith

“Spend time alone. You don’t have to be in a relationship all the time, and certainly don’t judge your worth based on whether you’re single or in a relationship. Learn to love yourself first.” Chris Kilian

“Don’t pour yourself into a man who doesn’t care enough to do the same for you.” Magdalen Sheffield

“All these responsible things but also make sure you have fun and travel in your 20s. Don’t be so work focused because your 30s, if you have kids, could be very very very boring.” Christina Marie

“Never be afraid to be who you truly are. Do all the things!” Aaron Sheffield

“Don’t worry about how successful other people are. It’s not a contest, and if it were, it would be a marathon, not a sprint.” Francesca Pellegrino

“Go to Vanguard and take the spot at Mystique. You’re gonna change jobs anyway.” Sean McReady

“Life isn’t a race. There’s no rush to finish college in 4 years. It’s OK to be the last of your friends to get married, have kids, buy a house, have a career. Life is a journey to be enjoyed. You will accomplish your goals when the timing is right.” Elizabeth Buono

“Travel as much as you can and don’t be in a hurry to settle down.” Nakki A. Price

“Follow your instinct. It’s usually right. Don’t be afraid to say no.” Danielle Marone

Wait for a job that you will LOVE!! Travel a lot! And never settle!!” Lauri Kane

“First you need to know the most important investment to make is in yourself. Strengthen your weaknesses. Fortify your strengths. Sometimes maybe go out of your comfort zone. Find yourself at a job. It may pay the bills and take care of your family but something that you don’t hate going to do everyday. Start at Step 1. Investments, credit, all of that stuff comes later. If you can’t manage yourself you can’t manage the rest of that stuff. Be successful at managing yourself and that’s when those other options start opening up. That’s when you start considering them.” Colin R Gelles

“If it’s working, it’s working. A messy, backwards, or unconventional approach to something doesn’t mean it’s wrong. I’ve finally learned to accept the way I live, create, and give, and it doesn’t look like anyone else’s. All kinds of people are needed to make this world work, so ignore what you’ve heard in the management, productivity, and success books. If you are working at your best and comfortable with the process, that is what matters. I wish I wouldn’t have fought against convention for all these years and just accepted my way. What a waste of time!” Linsey Knerl

“Make — and especially keep — more social connections. Your friends can become your support network (emotional and business) as you all gain more experience and responsibility.” Virginia Rich Diaz

“Listen to yourself and learn to trust what you hear.” Alan Steinborn

“And carpe diem!” Sally Dikowitz

“Try to prepare for things like illness, accidents, etc. and the possibility you may not be able to work at some time, you never know!” Pamela A. Parker

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