Being an adult sucks sometimes. Partly, it's because you feel like you're supposed to know what you're doing by now, but you really, really don't. Still, don't feel bad if you feel like an incompetent child placed in a 26 year-old's badly-dressed body; master these seven skills, and you'll be feeling like a responsible adult in no time.
1. . Learn how to carry on a conversation with anyone.
No matter who you're talking to, chances are there's something you have in common - you just have to find out what it is. Learning how to find common ground with others, no matter what their background is, is a skill that will take you far in life. If you want to be a better conversationalist, research "active listening" - you'll thank me later.
2. . Create your bio and say it with confidence.
There's nothing worse than being asked what you're with your life and having no clue how to answer. An elevator speech is basically a brief rundown of where you want to go in life, as well as a version of your "story" (background, education, etc.) that's been whittled down to something sharp and concise.
This isn't just about impressing others - it's about feeling confident in who you are and where you are in your life. You don't have to have your dream job to have a great elevator speech either - if you're between jobs, focus on where you'd like to be. For example: "I'm exploring my options right now, but I'm passionate about this and this, and I'm hoping to do this, that, and the third. Here's how." You sound totally confident if you're able to answer questions about yourself without getting flustered, and even if that confidence feels fake at first, trust me - it won't after a while.
3. . Have go-to outfits for special occasions.
Fashion can seem frivolous and needlessly complicated, but unfortunately, how we present ourselves to the world greatly affects how others perceive us. Having go-to outfits for professional and dressy events can seriously cut down on the stress when big life events spring up - say, a wedding, or an important networking event.
Having at least one confidence-inducing dress, a pair of heels you can actually walk in, and a simple, understated makeup routine in your arsenal will go a long way toward making you feel ready to handle anything life throws at you. Just remember that looking professional or dressed up doesn't have to mean throwing your personality away - if your go-to little black dress has spikes on it, then all the better.
4. . Learn the basics of managing your finances.
Money, money, money. It can make us or it can break us. Sure, joking about being afraid to check your bank balance after a night out on the town might be commonplace among friends, but at some point in life you have to actually manage your finances instead of just swiping your card and hoping it works. Establish a budget, keep track of your spending, and start building your financial know-how. With all the resources the internet places at our fingertips, there's really no excuse not to.
5. . Learn how to say no.
Here's a common scenario: a friend or acquaintance asks you to go somewhere or do something that you really, really don't want to do. You don't want to say no, so you end up wasting your time and energy on something that's not really worth it.
Stop wasting your time because you're afraid of being assertive, and abolish the idea that it's mean to say no. Learning to be firm in your decisions and not feel guilty about them can take you a long way; not just in the professional world, but in your personal relationships as well. It's not mean to want to establish healthy boundaries with others - next time, just say no.
6. . Start using a planner, for real.
Being late to every single friend gathering stops being cute around the time your friends all start to rack up "real" responsibilities of their own - like jobs and kids and other things that make them seriously value what little free time they have.
Fortunately, learning how to manage your time doesn't have to be hard - for starters, buy a planner and actually use it. From there, it's all about prioritizing and exercising discipline. If you know you need to leave earlier to get to work on time, then get up earlier - it's really that simple. Do what you have to do, and start respecting your own time, as well as that of others.
7. . Learn how to cook...something
You can't order pizza forever. Even if you don't care about eating healthy, your wallet will probably start to protest at some point if all you do is eat out. If you don't want to go back to your college diet of rice and ramen, it's time to actually learn how to cook. These days you don't even have to take a class, though - just hit up Youtube, and slowly start trying out new recipes over time.