We live in a brilliantly diverse world, and the answer to “What kind of life should I live?” basically boils down to, “Whatever life you want!” At the same time, there are some go-to rules that all women could benefit from applying to their lives. Here are 30 indispensable rules every woman should live by.
1. Prioritize the people you know will always be there for you.
Sisters before misters, ladies. Or, more broadly, family and friends before lovers. No matter how into him you are, all it takes is one nasty breakup to remind you of who will hold your head and hand you tissues the whole night through. Make sure to prioritize those people.
2. Make time for the things that matter.
Cliché, but true. This rule applies to every single one of those 24 hours you get out of every day. Make sure you’re spending them on what matters, whatever that means to you.
3. Hand-write thank you notes to the people you care about, at least once a year.
This rule is specific, but wow is it worth it. Gratitude goes such a long way, for you and those you love. Make sure you express your gratitude – in your own handwriting – to the people who deserve your thanks. You could do this once a year around the holidays, or throughout the year, when you’re feeling particularly grateful for something someone has done for you. However you do it, say thanks.
4. Be considerate of those around you.
When you get to the checkout line at the grocery store, ask the cashier how his day is going. When your roommate is exhausted after a long shift at work, don’t have friends over and be quiet. When your boyfriend is upset with something you did, even if you didn’t think it was a big deal, apologize to him. It’s these simple, small acts of consideration that show you are a grown woman.
5. Don’t create enemies.
Even if you disagree with someone or can hardly stand to be in the same room with them, that’s no excuse to create an enemy out of them. The best way to deal with an asshole is often smiling at them every time you pass them in the hallway, and working well with them, even if they hate every second of it. Take the high road, ladies!
6. Don’t talk shit.
There’s something really exciting and fun about gossiping… if you’re thirteen years old. Imagine someone talking about you that way, and then shut your mouth.
7. Treat everyone with the same level of respect. That means everyone.
It’s one thing to treat your boss, family and friends, and boyfriend well. It’s another to treat exhausted waitresses, custodians, and absolute strangers with the same kindness and respect. There’s no excuse not to treat everyone with the same level of respect. Real women live by this rule.
8. Put your phone away.
No matter how modern a society we live in, one fact remains: prioritizing phone conversations over real-life conversations is rude. Just put it away, and give whoever you’re with your full attention.
9. Dress for the part.
There’s a difference between being real and being professional. Know when to wear a pencil skirt and button your blouse to the top button versus when to break out the ripped jeans and tight tank top.
Even if you suck at it. Dancing can be one of the most joyful parts of being a woman and human being in general – don’t stop yourself from getting out on the dance floor and rocking it. As embarrassed as you may be at first, letting loose is a handy life skill. It also shows you’re down to earth and confident, even if you look silly as hell.
11. Ask questions.
Showing other people that you’re interested in their lives and that you care about their well-being is as simple as asking them questions. Women who care – and who make the best conversationalists – apply this rule daily.
12. Have good answers.
Which is to say, know yourself. Know what you value and what you’re living for. Women of great worth have a vision and are on a mission.
13. Don’t waste time with people who don’t ask you questions.
If all he does is talk about himself, get out of there. You deserve someone who wants to know you.
14. Keep company with women who inspire you.
Look at the women you choose to spend time with. Are they bringing you up, or pulling you down? Find women who are living the type of life you dream of living – and then learn from them how to do it for yourself.
15. Don’t waste time with men who don’t respect you.
If what he does or says makes you feel like less of a woman, then he’s not the man you should be spending your time with.
16. Do not waste your time being brokenhearted over someone who doesn’t care about you.
Move on. You deserve better. And you’re better than being upset over a fool.
17. Never do something because you feel like you “owe” him something.
Just because he bought you dinner doesn’t mean you have to have sex with him. Just because he’s nice to you doesn’t mean he deserves to be your boyfriend.
18. Be the right person.
As a woman, sometimes it’s tempting to buy into the story we’ve been told forever: that you’re looking for Mr. Right, or that you deserve Mr. Right. But you’re not going to find him if you’re not working on being Ms. Right yourself. Be the best potential partner you can be.
19. If you think he could be Mr. Right, don’t waste time telling him all about your exes or your past sex life.
Live in the present with him, because he’s your new present. Dwelling on past relationships risks tarnishing what you’re trying to build with him.
20. Listen to your friends’ opinions of your man.
If they’ve got a bad feeling, it’s worth listening to why. This doesn’t mean they get to pick and choose who you date, and they very well could be wrong or just plain jealous, but pay attention to their alarm bells – oftentimes, they’re going off for a reason.
21. Know how to be happy alone.
As great as relationships are, the strongest women know how important it is to be able to find peace and happiness in solitude. Learn how to enjoy your own company – because there will be plenty of times you’ll have to deal with being alone in this life, and it doesn’t have to be miserable.
22. Know what messages you’re sending.
Don’t ask a guy over after 9 pm if you’re not just looking for sex. Don’t bail on a guy last minute if you really care about him. Your actions and your words send people messages. Make sure they’re the right ones.
23. Know what you want, and don’t waste your time on someone who doesn’t fit the bill.
If you want marriage and kids, don’t date a free spirit who doesn’t believe in either. If you couldn’t imagine settling down, don’t date a guy who loves his hometown more than you. Know what you want, and don’t waste time on a guy who doesn’t want the same thing.
24. Know that love isn’t always enough – and be willing to let go.
Contrary to storybook endings, love is not always enough to hold a relationship together. Sometimes the most loving thing you can do is let someone go. This isn’t a fun rule to follow, but it will make your life a hell of a lot easier.
25. Take care of your body.
Working out and eating healthy should be a part of your everyday routine. Real women know that in order to take care of others, they’ve got to take care of themselves. That starts with your physical health.
26. Take care of your mind, and never hide your intelligence.
The dumb blonde trope is dying, and that’s a good thing. Be a lifelong learner. Read books that excite you. The more you learn, the more enlightened a life you can lead. And you’ll be a far more engaging conversationalist, too.
27. Take care of your soul.
You don’t have to go to church. Hell, you don’t even have to believe in anything. But take care of the deepest part of yourself, the part of you that feels connected to others and in tune with the universe. Meditate. Go on long walks. Breathe in the wild air. Whatever it takes, take care of your soul.
28. Don’t be afraid of a future that is uncertain – and don’t be afraid to create your own.
It is easy to fit in boxes society places there for us, and for this reason, a lot of us just march in line with the status quo. But if you see something that needs to happen, or if you have a vision of a better future, don’t wait for someone else to make it. Step up, and create that future.
29. Live for yourself.
With every decision you make, ask yourself how it affects you and how it affects other people. Are you living to please yourself and others, or only to make other people happy? The people who should be in your life will support decisions you make for yourself and your own well-being.
30. But ... also live for and with others.
Yep, because you need both. As important as it is to make decisions that fit the life you envision for yourself, the perfect life means nothing if you’re living it all by yourself. Surround yourself with the people you care about, and give them the time, energy, and love they deserve. Knowing how to love and be loved is one of the greatest parts of being a woman.