In your twenties, it can often seem like you automatically become a magnet for unsolicited advice. Even if you aren’t particularly keen on getting guidance from a particular family acquaintance or random stranger, there’s a decent chance you’ll get an earful anyway.
This is also the very impressionable age at which people seem hell-bent on “figuring you out.” In addition to giving you their nuggets of wisdom, they’ll also want to know if you have your entire life planned out yet (as though they are somehow entitled to this information).
It’s annoying. It’s tedious. It is the cocktail chatter life of a woman in her twenties.
Here are just a few things millennial women are particularly sick of hearing (in case you’d like some tips on which talking points to avoid).
1. “How’s single life?”
This question seems like a thinly-veiled version of “HOW’RE THINGS IN THE SLUT-LANE?”
First, you are essentially asking questions about my sexual or romantic life, which is wildly inappropriate when coming from a casual acquaintance. Second, you seem to be implying that the majority of my self worth lies in my ability to snare a partner, which is incredibly patronizing and insulting. Third, if you aren’t doing either of those things, then you’re just checking to make sure I’m single before you hit on me, to which I can simply reply, “THANKS, BUT NO THANKS.”
2. “Is he/she ‘The One’?”
If the question about my “single life” is inappropriate, you can damn well bet that a question about my relationship is equally invasive. Why should the seriousness of my relationship affect you in any way? Have I not achieved success until I finally “lock one down”? If you would like to ask about the well-being of my significant other, that’s fine, otherwise it isn’t really your business.
3. “You still have plenty of time before you’re 30.”
Oh, DO I??
Thank you so much for reminding me that there are still a few, fleeting moments before I reach the age where I am no longer sexually or existentially viable!
4. “So, what do you want to do with your life?”
Why does everyone assume this question is fair game? Why is it so commonplace to question the entire justification of someone’s existence??
Look, guys: I’m in my twenties, and I am statistically only a fraction of the way through my life. If you’re asking me this question in order to generate cocktail party chatter, that’s fine — but perhaps rephrase it to “What are you up to these days?” instead of lobbing a query which obviously implies that my current state of being is essentially one of those “Work In Progress!” signs that you see when websites are down.
5. “Do you think you want to have kids?”
So, I’m not sure if everyone is aware, but we are no longer living in an age which dictates that we must have children in our twenties (if at all). Even if we were, asking questions like this are unspeakably nosy, and raise certain unfair expectations.
What if we think children totally suck, but don’t want to offend any mothers with children by actually talking about how much they suck? What if we aren’t in any sort of financial place with our partner to consider such a responsibility? What if we aren’t able to physically bear children? IS THIS REALLY A CONVERSATION YOU WANT TO HAVE?
6. “You think that now, but just wait until you’re [insert arbitrary age here]
Did you know that a fun thing about being in your twenties is being constantly patronized for being in your twenties? I sure didn’t!
While there is something to be said for having extensive life experience, belittling women’s opinions because they are “young” is boring and tedious. We aren’t uninformed, and our thoughts and world views have weight and value, just like yours.
7. “Did you know millennials are the laziest generation?”
A tempting thought to indulge, but surprisingly untrue.
64% of millennials stay up-to-date on what is happening in the world, and stay connected to online news sites throughout the day. What’s more, it turns out that the millennial generation may, in fact, be workaholics: we’re less likely to take vacation days than our peers, and more likely to allow work to bleed over into our personal lives.
While this, in and of itself, may not be a net positive (having a work-life balance is extremely important), it certainly dispels the illusion that millennials aren’t hard or dedicated workers.
8. “This is the best time of your life — enjoy it while you can!”
Modern society would gladly have us believe that our twenties are when we, as women are most valuable: that this time in our life marks the apex of our attractiveness, and that our self-worth peaks when our breasts are at their most perky.
However, we (that is, millennial women) would rather believe that our twenties are just a period in our lives which likely signifies the aftermath of our higher education and the beginnings of our professional careers. We don’t support the notion that our twenties mark an impending closure in the opening for fun or spontaneity or adventure in our lives.
We do not need to rush to accomplish everything before we turn 30. We do not need to look towards middle-age with fear because it supposedly embodies everything we’ve been taught to fear. We can enjoy our twenties without worrying about this period being “the best time we’ll ever have.”
Because, and I know this is a radical thought: women who are older than 30 can live cool lives too.
Related-ish: 10 Reasons You Should Be Single In Your Early 20s