When + How To End A Conversation

Trying to brush up on your conversation tips? Feeling a little socially awkward? Exiting conversations can be weirdly hard! This will help >> yesandyes.org
This super awesome guest post comes from my girl Kelly of Adulting fame.  She was sweet enough to interview me for the ‘making friends as a grownup’ chapter in her best-selling book!
At least 87 percent of casual, small-talk conversations last too long. The problem here is twofold:
• People are afraid to end the conversation
• “It’s time to end this talk” hints are ignored
This is something lots of people struggle with, so don’t feel bad!
First, do not fear the conversational reaper. All things begin and all things end, including this conversation you are engaged in. And really, chances are that the other person doesn’t want this to go on forever, either.
Can you imagine spending your entire life right there, in that living room, talking talking talking to this person about sports or the mutual friend you have or whatever, both of you growing old and grey and still the conversation flows dully on? No one wants that.
So when you notice the drop-off in the mutual enthusiasm level to below, say, 50 percent, start to convey your intent for things to end by issuing a somewhat final-sounding statement on the topic at hand, followed by “Anyway …”
For example: “No, totally. Tom is the best! Anyway,” and here, you will adopt an expression that conveys many things — sadness that this conversation is coming to an end, gladness that you have met this person, resignation to the finality of what you are about to say — “It has been just wonderful chatting with you.”
You don’t really need to announce whatever it is you’re going to do after this (“I think I’m gonna head to the snack bowl!”) because everyone knows what time it is, and that will sound awkward anyway.

Then, let them acknowledge that they have enjoyed chatting with you, and then say goodbye brightly.

Thanks so much for sharing your insights, Kelly! How do you guys get out of conversations once they’ve gone south? Tell us in the comments!

P.S. 16 questions that will make small talk a lot better

photo by jens johnsson // cc

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112 Comments

  1. Mo

    The tip that comes to mind right now is to stop talking about people behind their backs. I know a few women who are still doing this in their thirties like they're still in high school.

    Reply
  2. Laurel

    The best tip I have for being an adult is one that I need to practice frequently: always return voicemails with a phone call (and return emails with a proper reply, even if it's short). When someone takes the time to call you, then they likely expect to hear back, so when you call it's the perfect chance to show your maturity & conversational skills!

    Reply
  3. Jezzybel

    For me, being an adult means, always and forever, keeping in mind: everyone does everything for a reason, even if you don't know what that reason is and/or it isn't a reason that would drive you. Maybe the reason for behaviour that you don't understand or approve a reaction to things you don't know about or a way of coping that's been useful to them before. This has made me way less judgey about other people doing things I don't necessarily see eye-to-eye with, and has also helped me be gentler with myself – even when I screw up, I always had a reason for acting the way I did, and it seemed like the best course to me at the time.

    Reply
  4. SarahE

    (The most current adult thing I'm trying to put in practice:) No one is going to tell you when it's time to do things. There is no schedule for when it's time to work out, time to finally take that hike, time to have a lazy Saturday or a productive weekend. So you can sit at home and watch things you're only half-interested in, slowly letting your muscles and brain grow stiff and achy, waiting for someone to come over the loudspeaker and say it's time for the next thing, or you can just go do the things you've been wanting to do.

    Reply
    • Ginger

      That is a really good piece of advice, thank you.

      Reply
  5. Naomi

    One of my tips to being a better adult is learning how to say "no," especially as a woman. It's so tempting to want to be a yes-person all the time but in the end it will burn you out!

    Reply
    • Laura

      Oh totally, I'm still learning this lesson now and it's so difficult. If you continue to say yes to people then they will continue to expect it. You've got to put your foot down eventually!

      Reply
  6. cav

    My toughest adulting lesson is that maintaining relationships (with your family, friends or lovers) over time is going to take work! You have to call, and send birthday cards, and go visit and bite the bullet and continue to do it when you value a person. When we're young we can get away with being a lazy friend, because school or university keeps us physically close. Maintaining those bonds over distance and time? That's hard, but the payout is worth the effort.
    (find me on twitter: @cavycavs)

    Reply
  7. Kate B.

    One of the things I'm (slowly) learning about being an adult is that if you should always get in touch with good friends it's been a long time since you've seen or talked to. It's hard to break the ice again sometimes, but I think both people always think it's worth it again. Just send that email, or make that phone call. No need to make excuses, just say you're glad to get back in touch!

    Reply
  8. sometimessheblogs

    Not nearly as insightful as the comments above, but… An open bar is awesome, but it's not an invitation to get schwasted (for the uninitiated, schwasted is defined as extra extra wasted with a side of the worst hangover ever the next day). You will regret it. You will be embarrassed. You will ruin your new dress. You will feel awful for the next day (or 2) physically, but also on the level of "when will I stop acting like I'm in college?". So when you find yourself at an open bar (and by "you" I most definitely mean "me") take advantage of it by trying a new drink or spirit that you have always been curious about or that has always been too expensive. Don't take advantage of it by trying to drink all the alcohol.
    Twitter handle is (at) kjlangford

    Reply
  9. lissa

    best tip? I guess to listen — that's all I can think of at the moment. sometimes talking a lot, you could miss something.

    Reply
  10. Jenn Rowell

    I'm with Naomi. Sometimes saying no, or walking away from bad situations is the most grown up thing I can do. It's hard sometimes to pare down to just want really matters to me or what's most important, but truly, it makes me more productive, more efficient and just better at what I do choose to do. As a kid, young adult, I could somehow operate on zero sleep, doing everything possible and doing okay. But, as an adult, doing absolutely everything isn't as important as doing the things I do exceptionally well.

    jenntravel.blogspot.com and @GFTrib_JRowell

    Reply
  11. veemoze

    My tip: Always write thank-you notes, whether you're thanking the person for a gift they bought you or for interviewing you for a job. People like to feel remembered and appreciated, and a simple handwritten note can do just the trick. I always like to have some blank cards on hand so that I can write a thank-you note in a pinch if I need to. It shows that you're mature enough to appreciate another person's time and effort, rather than -expecting- them to do something for you.

    Email me at vmoses90@gmail.com, check out my blog (veemoze.wordpress.com) or find me on Twitter at @moses_says 🙂

    Reply
  12. Tess Graham

    Always sort and staple receipts and enter business and personal expenses in the ledger before going to bed. Every night. @BlackjackStatn

    Reply
  13. Laura

    I've learned how important it is to take responsibility for your actions and know when to apologize/own up to your mistakes. Learn from those mistakes!

    lifeweimagined.blogspot.com

    Reply
  14. Kaitlin Marie

    My number 1 tip for being an adult: Always be as good as your word.

    You said you would do that thing? Do the thing. You said you would go to the party? Go to the party. (And bring a cheese tray.)

    And if you can't be as good as your word? Apologize, give a heads up, own your mistakes, etc etc.

    Reply
  15. Jennifer Scott

    Always say "thank you", and get your FILES in order! Know where they are, put the very important ones in something fireproof, make copies of the really irreplaceable stuff (I was born abroad in a hospital that no longer exists–you bet your sweet bippy I'm never going to lose my birth certificate!), and label EVERYTHING. Bureaucracy sucks enough without you not being able to find your W-2s.

    (Can you tell I'm a bit of an organization junkie?)

    Reply
  16. Dara

    My tip for being an adult is stop ranting on social media sites, be it Twitter or Facebook. I'm still working on that, though.

    @DarlaOct

    Reply
  17. Eva

    Do what you say you will do. I've had a hard time with this one. I used to back out of things or just not show up when I was younger and didn't think too much of it. Now that I'm older, I see how flaky that was….so, I'm trying to change that.

    Reply
  18. thecollegenovelista

    My tip for being an adult is to stop stressing out over things that don't matter. Whenever you find yourself getting worked up about something, ask yourself if it will matter in a year. Chances are it won't. You're wasting your time and energy stressing out about things that have no effect on your future.

    Reply
  19. Abbey

    I NEED THIS BOOK. My best tip for being a better adult is to treat your references nicely, because otherwise they might write you an awful recommendation letter like the one I read yesterday. @aestrusz on twitter, findingmyforever.blogspot.com

    Reply
  20. Anonymous

    The minuscule amount of extra time it takes to send a handwritten card for an occasion over a text or Facebook posts means more than words can describe.

    Visit your grandma and/or grandpa without your parents nagging you to!

    After a networking event, go through the business cards you collected and write something that you and the person spoke about, so you can follow up later. Also — write the name of the event so you can look back a year or two later in case you need to reach out to the person after a while.

    @lizfdonohue

    Reply
  21. Meandering Design

    When you are hosting a party make sure you introduce people *and* include a common tidbit of information so they can easily start a conversation. Somebody did this for me once and it made the party so much more enjoyable. @Meander_Design

    Reply
  22. Peacebone

    Unless you get regular manicures, keep your nails short and neat. It makes you look so much more put together than chipped nail polish or dirty, uneven nails!

    Reply
  23. Cate

    Get to REALLY, HONESTLY know yourself– the good and the bad– and then start adapting your life to play/build to your strengths and both challenge and build around your weaknesses. Equal parts acceptance/self-empathy and working to be the person you're proud to be. Being honest with myself about these things has been the foundation of building an adulthood I love.

    Reply
  24. Roselie

    The tip that comes to mind right now is to be responsible. It makes major difference in every situation…

    Reply
  25. Anne Wave

    Ooh I love this! Here we go:
    Step #469: Listening is not equal to waiting for your turn to speak.

    How often have you been talking to a friend, colleague, or even family member and noticed that glazed-over look? Not the "I'm bored and zoning" look, I mean the one that says "I'm tuning out what you're saying right now because I just can't wait for MY turn to talk about my Halloween costume when I was 7 that was completely fab and DIY." And the second words stop running from your mouth, they steamroll their way in to give the details of their tennis shoes covered in newspaper and mod podge and all of a sudden the conversation has completely 180-ed to how they love crafting and devote their summers to creative projects.

    Now. How often have you been talking to a friend and had their unselfish attention, where they are very genuinely riveted by your story about your travel experience instead of waiting to add their own ones about hostels in France? What a lovely idea, paying real attention to another human. Here's how!

    Step 1: Make real eye contact. When you're making real eye contact, it's actually quite hard to not pay attention.
    Step 2: Ask questions. Asking questions signals you want to know more, meaning you're interested in what they're saying.

    Easy squeazy! Engaging your company is the best. They feel interesting, which makes them feel good, which makes them want to hang out with you more. And you feel good for being a caring and loving friend, which makes your smile bigger, which naturally makes you happier. Win-win-win-win-…win. 5 wins!
    "Active listener" is the.best.trait. in a friend. Everybody wants to feel interesting and cared about, including you. Put forth what you want to get back.

    PS. tweet at me! i love neat tweets. @shmanne

    Reply
  26. Kate

    I agree with 'do what you say you will do' for so, so many reasons.

    But also, realise that no one knows what the hell they're doing most of the time. When you're flipping out because you aren't sure if you're making all the wrong decisions or if you've ruined something or just if you can't figure out what to have for freaking dinner, know that EVERYONE ELSE has these problems too. And then try to give yourself a break. (And sometimes then eat as many cookies as you want, because you're an adult, and you can.)

    Twitter @kateamann

    Reply
  27. ifs ands Butts

    Don't leave dishes in the sink – it makes life seem unorganized and you never know when you'll have unexpected guests! @abuttsy

    Also, don't eat in your bed. (guilty)

    Reply
  28. Sarah Bishop

    Follow through with things. Translation; return the call, show up when you said you will, (for the love of all things) log things in your check book, address the issue with the person instead of vague-booking it on social media.

    I'm not perfect on all of it, but getting better daily.

    Reply
  29. Grace

    I'm 21 years old and I still have a lot of growing up to do. I feel like I could use more advice than I could give but one thing I will say is travel…as often and as far as you can. I learned more about during 1 week in a forgein country then I have during years in the states. Also try traveling alone. I think it is very important to know how to navigate an airport, train station, bus station, city transportation, etc. by yourself and traveling alone forces you to do that.

    Reply
  30. Adelina

    Be on time. Nothing is worse than showing up to things late. It is rude to everyone else who arrived on time. This definitely applies to work situations, but social engagements too. What you're telling the other person is that you don't respect their time enough to arrive on time. One of my biggest pet peeves.

    Twitter: @apwong

    Reply
  31. Lauren

    Write thank you/congratulations notes. For everything! "Thanks for the potluck", "great speech the other night", "Nice job on that fundraiser". Praise is hard to come by as an adult (kids get praised for EVERYTHING. No fair!) so sometimes a nice little card praising someone (genuinely) goes longer than the 5 minutes it takes to write it 🙂

    Contact: @lctraveler, http://www.laurencaselli.com

    Reply
  32. Kate

    What a great giveaway, and I definitely laughed a little about the small talk graph. We've all been there…
    The big thing I'm working right now as an adult is making my needs a priority and being honest about them. It has a lot to do with boundaries, being able to say "no" when I need to, and being in touch with my own wellbeing. If I'm stressed, I make time for rest. If I'm upset, I deal with it rather than shoving it down. Just learning how to keep myself strong so that I can be the best I can be.

    Reply
  33. Kait

    Remember the important events, dates, anniversaries, etc in your close friends' lives. Remembering to call and send a card on their birthday is wonderful, but remembering that they have that big interview today, or that it's been a year since their dad passed away, now that's the mark of a special, meaningful, adult friendship.

    Twitter: @kaitnagi

    Reply
  34. Amanda Cobb

    I think the best tip I can think of for being an adult is actually following through on the things you promise/commit to. And if you can't for a legitimate reason, let whoever will be affected by your failure know in a polite and timely manner.

    Amanda / http://www.dragonflightdreams.com / @DragonflightGal

    Reply
  35. sandalcu

    When you are invited to an event or activity that you know you will never enjoy doing, be honest with the person inviting you. Don't make up an excuse (prior commitment, illness, etc.) — honestly say that this is something you just don't care to do. If you make up an excuse, the person inviting you may offer to change the date to accommodate you or may ask you repeatedly, not taking the hint that you don't want to go. There is no argument for "I don't care to do that."

    Reply
  36. Camanoe Steph

    Don't invite drama into your life. I see a lot of "adults" with this problem, and I don't understand it. Yes, sometimes drama invades your life, but you don't have to accept it, tolerate it or invite it back. Don't keep taking back the guy who's cheating on you/lying to you/treating you badly. Don't keep checking the FB page of an ex; in fact, block them. Delete them from your phone. Say what you need to say, do whatever you need to do, and then MOVE ON. And keep it that way. Seriously, leave the drama to TV.

    Reply
  37. Rachael

    My best tip – and I've doled this out to teenagers on tumblr often enough – is to never communicate in passive-aggressive ways. If you're afraid someone has slighted you, or someone has upset you, or if you even want to make introductions to someone new despite shyness – address that individual directly and privately. Public, cryptic messages benefit no one.

    Reply
  38. Kristin

    Be the person you want to become. Start acting like you are that person, and eventually you will be.

    Reply
  39. Elisa of Fancy Free Me

    My best tip would be to take care of your stuff. If you say you are going to check on something and get back to someone, DO IT!

    Reply
  40. Janice

    My best tip is, when people email/text/call you, respond right away (or at the very least, set a reminder alarm to do it later when you have more time). Otherwise you'll inevitably forget, and no one wants to be that friend or relative that you have to pester 1,000x to get an RSVP.

    -Janice
    http://glass-halffull.org/

    Reply
  41. Anna

    This is a lot less deep than some of the other comments, but my favorite adulting life-hack is to hang my clothes up and/or put them in the laundry hamper as soon as I take them off. Once I put them on the floor, they're that much likely to stay there and pile up until I finally need to have an hour-long clothes-processing session.

    Reply
  42. Anonymous

    My tip would be to write it down and make use of a calendar. With bill, appointments, birthdays… remember all these oh my!

    Also sending thank you notes means a lot more when your an "adult"

    mccann.heather@gmail.com

    Reply
  43. mygirlsimple

    Adulting tip: Do it. Don't make lists about it, or plans about it, or discuss it. Just do it. Throw that load of laundry in, write the e-mail, follow up on the bill dispute, get in the shower, put on your running shoes, have the uncomfortable discussion with your significant other, research graduate schools, sign up for the sewing class…do it. This has helped me SO MUCH. When I'm overwhelmed, I am temped to sit down and over think and make 4 or 5 organizational strategies. Really, the only thing that helps is DOING. I've got to go get to work.

    Twitter: @mygirlsimple

    Reply
  44. Manda

    Call your grandparents. Because you're old enough now that your parents won't remind you/make you, but that also means you're old enough where they could be gone any day.

    Also, don't spend what you don't have.

    Reply
    • Manda

      Oh! And my Twitter is @aosborn08 🙂

      Reply
  45. coffeeandpatience

    I think the most important thing I've learned is to forgive readily and never fear the AMAZING NUMBER of changes that are happening at this time in your life! Don't hold on to the way things used to be, rather embrace all the newness that is happening or you'll miss out on so many opportunities!

    Reply
  46. Anonymous

    Adulting tip:
    Do what you mean and mean what you say. Don't offer to pick up the tab at the bar with your girlfriends hoping they won't take you up on it. Similarly, when someone offers to nice for you, accept graciously ("Thanks so much! My treat next time") or decline politely ("That's so nice, but why don't we split the check tonight!"). No need to make things awkward way by asking your friend if she's sure she wants to buy you dinner/treat you to ice cream/take you to see your favorite band.

    -on my mind from my recent/ongoing experience of being hopelessly awkward =]

    mich21197@gmail.com

    Reply
  47. April in Autumn

    Right now, by best tip is to spend lots of time watching how adults you admire do things. There's this new director at work and she just seems amazing at knowing how to make people feel comfortable and maintaining her sense of authority while still admitting her faults. I've been watching her a lot because when I'm 60 I hope I have a similar presence.

    What I wish I knew was how to deal with broken relationships (not just romantic ones). Lately I've been terrified of running into a friend I broke things off with totally passive aggressively in the fall. Wish I didn't feel like avoiding our old haunts!

    Reply
  48. OliviaMingus

    Adulting tip: Be honest with yourself and trust your gut. It's usually right.

    Reply
  49. Anonymous

    My best tip about being an adult is to own your awesomeness! I have a crazy last name and am very young (25) to be doing the job I do, but I totally own it! Too young you say? In touch with the youths! On top of the latest research! Weird last name? No one will ever forget me! Heres my glittery business card!

    For me, becoming an adult was identifying those awesome things that make me unique, embracing them, and making them my signature in life. I love myself every day because of it.

    heavens2murgatroyd@hotmail.com

    Reply
  50. Ginger

    Say more nice things… nobody wants to hear the mean stuff.

    Reply
  51. Leslie

    Don't put things off. Seriously. Do it now, while you're thinking about it. It's the best thing I found to avoid stress. Plus, think about all the fun things you can do if you finish early!
    probablyreading@gmail.com

    Reply
  52. Sarah Jean

    Something I've been working on as someone who lives alone: always keep the house tidy enough that you wouldn't be embarrassed if someone else saw it. You never know when you'll need a handyman to stop by, or when your boyfriend will surprise you on his way home from work, or when your friend will drop in for a visit. A couple dirty dishes and unswept floors are generally acceptable, but not a sink full of crusty dishes, bras and other dirty laundry hanging around in the bathroom, or evidence of your late-night cookie binge. If you wouldn't want anyone else to see it, then don't leave it out. (But every once in a while, when you're really really sure no one will be around for a while…go wild.)

    Reply
  53. Helena

    My best tip is to begin to invest in classic wardrobe pieces like nice blazers (should you be in a position where these are classics you'd use, of course… I'm in the business world).

    Reply
  54. Mel

    Where has that small talk graph been all my life?!?

    My (current) #1 tip for being an adult is to take responsibility for your life: get to the gym, eat well, get enough sleep, set goals and work towards them, do what you said you'd do, stop procrastinating, organize your stuff, get rid of your extraneous stuff, and for the love of God, Mel, stop getting sucked into Law & Order: SVU marathons! Ahem. This doesn't mean knowing exactly what you want to do in life or that everything will run smoothly all the time, but it does lay the groundwork for amazing things to come your way.

    Mel – @melifornia

    Reply
  55. Patricia

    One of my best tips for being an adult is to actually understanding your personal finances. As a recent grad and now a working adult, I make sure to always spend at least 30 minutes studying my 401K and student loan information instead of ignoring it (because it's just so much easier to push it off for another day). You'll feel so much better afterward.

    Reply
  56. doniree

    My tip, that works for getting out of hairy situations and for getting into awesome ones — BE NICE. Be kind, be polite, be respectful. Call center customer service reps are people, too, and are more likely to help you when you're nice. People more likely to help you out, give you opportunities, remember you're awesome, etc., when you're pleasant. Granted, this doesn't mean let people take advantage of you or walk all over you, because there is a time and place for standing your ground and being firm, but be nice. Start off assuming everyone wants to help everyone out and go from there.

    Reply
  57. Amber

    My number one adult tip is go to bed early! There's usually nothing good happening about 9:30 PM anyway. Plus, you'll spend less money on coffee. Double win!

    Reply
  58. Laura

    My best advice would be that you don't have to be friends with anybody who isn't nice to you. If someone is sniping and putting you down, or bitching behind your back, or continually making you feel anything other than good, CUT THEM OUT OF YOUR LIFE. And don't feel bad about it! You deserve to have friends who are nice to you all the time, not some of the time! I wish I could go back and tell my 18-year-old self that.

    Reply
  59. Sarah M

    I already follow the adulting blog! I would love to read her book (or, ahem, pass it on to others, too). I have two pieces of advice that I dish out when people ask: pay for your own crap (i.e. your parents still paying for your cell phone, and insurance? lame!) and own up to your wrong-doings and say sorry when you need to.
    Sarah M

    Reply
  60. New Wave Domesticity

    This is lovely! I think my best tip about being an adult (maybe it's not a tip exactly, but…) is don't be an asshole. Really. When we are kids we think bullying is cute and ok, but that old saying of catching more bees with honey is really true and as an adult, I just has so much more respect for positive people than the negative ones.

    Sarah
    http://www.newwavedomesticity.com

    Reply
  61. Holy Chic.

    Listen…and think…the two hardes things to do.

    By concentrating on the subject at hand both can be accomplished!

    Reply
  62. Alisha

    LOVE it!

    My #1 tip to being an adult is: Don't be late. Being late to things when you were a teenager may have been acceptable or excusable, because maybe your parents had to drop you places or your friends didn't mind if you were 10 mins late to hang out in a park and talk trash all day, but if you're late as an adult and you don't have a good reason – you look disrespectful and disorganized. Both of which you don't want to be.

    And, #2. Be a good friend to your good friends. Having bad friends takes up too much time, and you reap what you sow.

    Reply
  63. Lulu

    I always think you know you are an adult when you realise you have the freedom to eat as much confectionary/ice-cream/cake as you want – and chosing not to.

    Reply
  64. Unknown

    Never put off something that takes less than 60 seconds to do. (*Where did I read that little gem!?) Honestly, so true though. Small acts like that really build to increased motivation and productivity.

    http://www.pairhouston.org

    Reply
    • Unknown

      Personal twitter: @ceeemay

      Reply
    • Jess

      If I had my way, we would do All Of The Things online. This is nearly a reality for me, but there are still people (my weird landlord, loan servicing, the public library) that insist on corresponding with me on paper. So here is my tip!

      Invest in the following:

      -envelopes (2 sizes– letters, and slightly bigger yellow envelopes for when you need to mail paperwork that you shouldn't fold)
      -stamps
      -scotch tape
      -pretty blank note cards for thank you notes and thinking-of-yous (yes, people still appreciate these!)
      -an accordion folder to store important documents (statements, lease, etc.)

      When I graduated from college, moved out and started having to ACTUALLY check my mail, I was constantly looking for one (if not all) of these things.

      If you can, buy it all in one go. You can find envelopes and tape at the dollar store, and I find really beautiful notecards at TJ Maxx and Marshalls for less than 4 bucks! WIN <3

      Reply
    • Jess

      …Aaaand I awkwardly just posted this as a reply to someone else's comment. My bad, "unknown." My other adulting tip is to not make the same mistake as I just did.

      Reply
  65. chelsie

    My best tip is to smile a lot and be friendly, even in a stressful situation – it will get you further.

    Reply
  66. Emily

    forgive yourself. you're allowed to mess up. as my dad told me once during a minor freak out, "honey- it never really gets any easier. just go with it." make lots of mistakes, and be okay with it!

    emilyannegrady at gmail dot com

    Reply
  67. CJR

    Wake up early enough that you have more than the bare minimum amount of time necessary to stand under hot water for 2 minutes, throw on the first garments you find, make yourself look half presentable, and sprint out the door. Having time to actually eat breakfast, pack a lunch, watch the news, and read a little in the morning definitely makes me feel more like a Capital A Adult.

    Reply
  68. shelbyisrad

    I'm turning 22 in a few weeks so I don't think I've got the adult thing down quite yet. but my best tip for being an adult is to keep having fun! Don't let your inner kid get buried in the 'real world'
    shelbyradovich at gmail.com

    Reply
  69. Helena

    – Pay your bills in advance. (Or, if not a whole bill, part of one.) This makes a nice cushion where you don't have to remember bills or worry about getting them in on time or having things bounce!
    I'm a student, so I get big chunks of money from my loans. I immediately pay as many months' rent/car payment as possible. Learning this has seriously, seriously changed my life.
    (Just remember how far out you have paid, to avoid unpleasant surprises!)

    – Put a paper towel over dishes in the microwave. Every time.

    – Don't use your credit cards for things not 100% necessary for life. No, clothes don't count. Coffees do not count. Movies do not count. Don't be dumb.

    – Shop around banks before opening accounts or loans. I didn't believe my mother when she told me you could do that, but then I tried. I got a car loan for 4% less interest, and didn't need a cosigner. Sometimes mum's are right!

    – Buy good shoes, preferably leather ones. $20 boots are cute, but will hurt and break down quickly. $150 boots are a much, much better investment.
    This may result in you owning only 4 pairs of shoes. But they'll be gorgeous AND durable.

    – Good cowboy boots are the most comfortable shoes you will ever own.

    – Start projects the day you receive them. You may not get very far, but you'll have a much better idea how much time it will take and what resources you'll need. (Still working on this!)

    – Don't judge other cultures until you've learned more how they live. Come in with an open mind. I've lived in hip towns filled with modern art (*cough*Santa Fe) and little tiny agricultural towns 90 miles from the nearest grocery store.
    I liked the people in the agricultural town better. But I never would have learned that if I acted like a snobby city girl. Relax and experience different ways of life!

    I believe I've surpassed the bell curve. 🙂

    Reply
  70. Unknown

    Just turned 25 and still consider myself a transitional adult. My tip that I"m trying to follow is to clean for 30 minutes a day instead of 6 hours once every two months!

    Reply
  71. Helena

    Also:

    – Apply for things (internships, jobs, etc.) you DON'T think you'll get. You're much more qualified than you think you are. You may not get all of them, but you have to get some!

    – Not everyone is out to get you. Seriously.

    – Don't be afraid to ask for help. Asking takes courage.

    This is why the freshmen avoid me.

    Reply
  72. Martina

    My biggest adulting tip is to own your idiosyncrasies and support yourself in them. I spent a lot of time trying to fight my weird and be the kind of person I thought I was supposed to. But at some point, that got pretty exhausting. So now I do what I want and I'm pretty happy about it. I watch trashy TV instead of documentaries, I eat pancakes for dinner at least once a month, and I read way too many magazines. And more importantly, I acknowledge it all — even though I'm an English PhD student and that's not exactly the mystique we're expected to cultivate.
    I can't wait to read Adulting and learn more tips! martinalynneslifeacademic@gmail.com

    Reply
  73. Haley Rankins

    I just had my 24th birthday and still have lots of growing up to do but my being an adult tips are: 1. Learn some kitchen skills (guys and girls) because ordering take-out/pizza multiple times a week may have been acceptable in college is a lot less cool when you aren't in constant study/party mode. 2. Be happy for/acknowledge your friends' life accomplishments (even if you can't relate to them presently)–Even when they all seemed to start getting married and having babies at the same time– I just smile and hug(and really mean it) because no one likes a "single and bitter" friend!

    I can't wait to read the book–I still feel like a fraud when saying "I'm an adult."

    haley.rankins@gmail.com
    http://haleyhere.blogspot.com

    Reply
  74. Esti

    The best piece of advice I have to give to people is to not inherit guilt or anger. When your friend gets dumped, it's fine to be pissed at the jerk who did it. Empathy for your friend is awesome! But don't let your own emotions become more important than those of the person who's actually been hurt. This is a particularly dangerous trap within families, where drama can stew for generations. If the emotion didn't start with you, don't let yourself be the one to carry it on… either of your own volition or because someone else tries to put it on you.

    esti (dot) brennan (at) gmail

    Reply
  75. lucia

    My best tip for being a better adult is fill your life with activities you love, people you love, a job you love, ….you get the idea. Make GOALS- they are your ROADMAP through life and when deciding who you are- choose a great version.
    @lucia_inthe_sky

    Reply
  76. Bethiesee

    My best tip is to learn to do laundry – wearing clean clothes, taking care of nice clothes to make them last longer and not ruining and then wearing piles of undies (like I did back in the day) is a key skill. And your life will be so much better.

    Reply
  77. Vanessa

    I think if you're going to be an adult, you have to stop saying and start doing. Instead of talking about how much you hate your life, start taking some active steps towards changing the situation. Any step, no matter how small, counts. I think the gap between sulky teen and proper grown-ass woman is the difference between saying and doing.

    Reply
  78. Catrina

    I guess my best tip for being an adult is to remember you aren't going to always or ever feel like an adult. I'm 29 and I still don't most of the time but I actually prefer life that way. Also, try to prioritize. If you spend too much of your life working or cleaning or studying you'll miss out on life. catrinaann84@hotmail.com

    Reply
  79. sara

    My small, practical tip is to have a 'default position' for situation in which you need to come across as confident, but really might feel unsure and fidgety. (a.k.a. job interviews, first dates, etc) I picked it up at a university public speaking class.
    A great position to sit in when you are opposite someone and there is a table between you, is to put your forearms on the table in a triangular position, hands loosely touching. This makes you lean in a little bit and makes you come across confident, engaged and friendly. Having this in the back of my mind helps because I don't have to stress about body language and instead can focus more fully on the conversation we are having.
    thisbe123 (at) gmail (dot) com

    Reply
  80. Jessica

    You can give yourself the childhood you never had. Some of the dreams you had as a kid that never became a reality, you can make come true now. And some of the things you never even thought of doing as a kid, but wish you had, you can still do now – it's never too late. I started taking cello lessons in September, about 20 years later than I wish I had, and I love it.

    Reply
  81. Katie Lee

    The best tip I've learned as an adult is to always introduce yourself first. You will meet so many people and if you stick out your hand and say "Hi, I'm …." first then they will immediately do it back to you. It skips all the awkwardness of waiting for the introduction or not knowing that person's name. It's especially helpful if you're spouse has already met that person, but forgot their name. Just make the first move and no one is the wiser.

    @KtL33

    Reply
  82. Rachel

    My best tip is to reply to emails promptly. It is professional, courteous, and is really the "right thing to do". It is so easy to let emails pile up–even if you have already read them! So I try to make myself respond right when I read am email unless there truly is a reason that the email must wait.

    -Rachel
    alifesolively@gmail.com

    Reply
  83. Carrie Rosalind

    My best "adult" tip is to always write handwritten thank you notes. They mean so much and are so quick to knock out!

    Reply
  84. shellasaurusrex

    my best tip for being an adult is that you need to learn that no one is going to tell you what to do, when to, or how to do it. You must learn that if you want things, you need to motivate yourself to get them, no one is going to be their cheerleading you on.

    (sorry for the double post cat stepped on netbook before i posted)

    Reply
  85. Margaret

    Writing thank you notes in a timely manner. I'm getting better but it's still something I'm working on.

    margaret dot mmh at gmail dot com

    Reply
  86. Courtney

    HOWEVER! Sometimes if you push past that awkwardness, you actually end up having a way better conversation that you originally were having.

    Reply
  87. Julie

    My tip is actually 2 parts: 1. Suck it up and do what needs to be done. Nobody else is going to do it for you, so just get it over with and stop worrying/procrastinating/whining. 2. Have fun! After you've "been an adult" you deserve to reward yourself. Have a fun (responsible) night out with the girls. Buy that book you've been wanting to read (bonus points for getting said book at the library!). Or just goof off with coworkers. Nobody can be serious all the time 🙂

    Reply
  88. Eleni Zoe

    My tip is to being a better adult is a little meta. But hang in there. Treat yourself the way you would treat a young child. That means, take yourself to the doctor, feed yourself well, be kind, stay firm, have boundaries, say thank you, be responsible and accountable for the things that are in your control and for heaven's sake, clean your room. 🙂

    @elenizoe
    eleni@elenizoe.com

    Reply
  89. SP

    My tip is to take responsibility for yourself, financially and emotionally. Blaming other people for your problems does not serve you in anyway.

    Reply
  90. Julianne

    Get a diary. Keep it updated – write in friends' birthdays and events, don't just rely on Facebook. Check it every single day and flick ahead to make sure you know what's coming up. No more double booking yourself, no more forgotten library books, much less stress. And operate a first-come-first-served policy in regards to socialising. Don't say you'll go to one friend's house for dinner but then cancel because another friend wants to party that night. Just stick with the first thing – it's both easier and nicer.

    juliannelefay (at) gmail.com

    Reply
  91. 75only75

    Stop blaming the circumstances/your parents/ etc.
    and start to take responsibility for YOUR life.

    I know that this is not an easy process especially as my generation tends to be so close with their family and I made the experience that once I made a decision for myself and by myself only it was something that led to me and my fahter having to go to therapy together as he was so dissapointed in me.

    Reply
  92. JoyW

    Don't blow your money on a wedding– save as much as you can for awesome experiences to share after you are married!

    joy.l.whalen (at) gmail.com

    Reply
  93. Hannah

    This works for me as a person with a reasonably uncluttered inbox – I get less than 50 emails a day. If I have an email I need to take care of but can't/won't do it right now, I make sure to keep it unread and I can't mark it as read until I've actually finished that task. The way my inbox is organized, my unread emails are always on top. So that way it's really hard to forget about something or let it get lost in your inbox, since it's always there waiting for you to take care of it!
    h6davis at gmail dot com

    Reply
  94. Jemma

    My one tip for "adulting" (something I personally struggle with) is to make sure you're on top of everything you involve yourself in. For example, I have penpals to write to, job-hunting to do, a cat to de-flea, books to read, money to save… So to make my life easier and less stressful I try to keep on top of things by marking the calendar, writing endless lists and leaving myself post-its. I think I have a visual memory, so making a pile of all the books I want to read and leaving them next to my bed is a constant visual reminder.

    cloudy dot limeade at gmail dot com

    Reply
  95. Shiza

    reasonably uncluttered inbox – I get less than 50 emails a day. If I have an email I need to take care of but can’t/won’t do it right now, I make sure to keep it unread and I can’t mark it as read until I’ve actually finished that task. The way my inbox is organized, my unread emails are always on top. So that way it’s really hard to forget about something or let it get lost in your inbox, since it’s always there waiting for you to take care of it!
    h6davis at gmail dot com

    Reply
  96. tuky

    Just wanted to say thank you for your presentation at the Heart of Hospitality Brunch. Our table was filled with grandmas, young mothers and singles, and all of them said how much they enjoyed your talk. You managed to be entertaining while also giving us a new way of thinking about hospitality. I am happy the bad weather was unable to keep you from us.

    Reply
  97. IBM

    What wonderful memories and pictures for your family! Growing up my grandparents had a place on Crystal Lake and then Lake Michigan, both in northern Michigan. I loved running the dunes along Lake Michigan! We have a cabin in Twin Lakes, Colorado and the cold, clear water reminds me of northern Michigan, although it is actually colder (48 degrees on Memorial Day) so we do more wading than swimming. We like to drive the boat to deserted beaches and enjoy picnics and playing in the sand. The cold water scares most boaters away (and the lake is surrounded by national forest, so no houses directly on the lake), so often we are the only ones out there! There are some warmer reservoirs in southern Colorado that are better for swimming and not quite.

    Reply

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