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12 No Regrets Mistakes Everyone Should Make in Their 20s

12 No Regrets Mistakes Everyone Should Make in Their 20s

Regardless of what society would have you believe, your 20s are the best years to make mistakes. You should have no regrets making mistakes now, because every mistake can be a learning experience. With fewer responsibilities in your 20s, you are also in a unique position to more easily start over. Failures and missteps are often crucial in finding what works for you, so don’t fret, especially if you’re in the middle of the following 12 key learning experiences.

1. Get too drunk

Feel no regrets if you have too many one night; your twenties are when you should learn your limits. Sure, you might act a little foolish, but wouldn’t you rather figure out where your line is with friends now, rather than with business associates later? That being said, absolutely make sure you have a safe way home, or a sober friend along with you for the night. Safety is a crucial quality in keeping a fun night fun. Additionally, our bodies recover better from all types of wear and tear when we’re young, so you’ll feel less destroyed than you will if you party later in life.

2. Sleep with the wrong people

As dead end as it sounds, sleeping with the wrong people should give you no regrets. There’s nothing wrong with a few bad one-night stands, especially when you’re figuring out the world in your twenties. First off, you have a clearer picture of what to look for when you’re with someone who just doesn’t fit. Plus, you’ll start to figure out what type of person you are in bed, and what will make you satisfied. While a strong emotional bond is absolutely key in relationships, complimentary qualities in your sex life are crucial too. It’s completely normal to learn things by trial and error in other areas in life, so have no regrets if your sex life is the same.

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3. Trust the wrong person

Similar to learning what you don’t need in bed, it’s okay to find out who you don’t need as friends too. Trusting the wrong person will undoubtedly hurt, but you will be more alert to red flags when making friends in the future. It’s particularly useful to find out how to spot a snake in the grass now, since you’ll likely have a lot more at stake, personally and professionally, in your 30s and 40s.

4. Let go with no regrets

It is okay to feel heartbroken over letting someone, or something, go in your twenties. Invariably, you will grow in different directions than those around you in life. Learning how to let things go with grace now will be an invaluable tool for adult life. Whether the loss is sudden or expected, it’s important to know how to move on.

5. Cut off friendships

In a world of ever-increasing connectivity, it can be tempting to keep up with every acquaintance you’ve ever met. However, if other people are taking too much time away from your life, there’s no need to feel bad about trimming your social circle. It’s natural to grow in different directions from your friends, especially those you knew when you were much younger. Streamlining your social life can do a lot for making you more productive and focused, and shouldn’t be seen as self-centered. Your life is yours, and it’s important to have people around you that contribute to your goals, not take time away from them.

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6. Pursue the wrong long-term relationship

Just as important as learning how to let things go is learning how to let people in. Even if your first few long-term relationships don’t lead to a lifetime together, loving and committing to someone else can be scary and nerve-wracking. If you can learn to love and trust other people now, you’ll be more confident, and selfless, in your relationship when you find the one. 

7. Spend money on experiences

We all know we should save every penny, but don’t underestimate the value of splurging on experiences while you’re young. Certainly balance your spending with responsible money management, but spending on a once in a lifetime experience now is irreplaceable. Even if your goals include higher income in the future, you never know what responsibilities will come with it. Traveling and seeking new experiences will teach you valuable lessons you’ll use for the rest of your life, even if others are critical of your spending.

8. Experience failure

In your twenties, you have less responsibility than you’re likely to have in the rest of your life. Among many other reasons, that makes your twenties the ideal time to experiment. Follow ideas or pursuits that might fail, even if you’re scared. In failure, we learn innumerable important lessons. Plus you never feel quite as vulnerable afterwards. By failing now, you’ll lose less than if you crash and burn later in life. If you’re struggling with failure now, try to be excited: you are setting yourself up to be more skilled, and more able to manage risk in the future.

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9. Pursue a passion in place of work

Everyone should have the experience of doing what they love. You never know what the future holds, so seize the day now. Regardless of whether it’s a hobby or professional venture, following your passion can lead to incredible places. You might not have the freedom to pursue anything you choose later, so have no regrets following what you love now. Even if friends and colleagues are immediately pursuing professional options, there is no rule for when you must begin your career. Following a passion over financial gain should give you no regrets.

10. Sleep too much

Again, you never know what the future holds. Whether it’s a demanding career, kids, or multiple jobs, you have the rest of your life to lose sleep over responsibilities. Let yourself feel no regret over days when you sleep a lot in your 20s. Sleep is essential in performing well, plus you’re likely to have more demands on your time during your 30s and 40s. Enjoy the reprieve now–there’s no shame in taking time to relax.

11. Take a horrible job

Much like dating the wrong person will better inform you on who you’re looking for, taking the wrong job will give you a better view on what you want to do. Working the wrong job should give you no regrets, especially if you’re someone who isn’t sure what career to pursue. Being unhappy with your work will give you motivation to look elsewhere. It may also help reveal what you do like. Instead of regretting your decision to take the job, use the time to consider exactly what makes it so horrible so you know what to look for next time.

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12. Follow someone else’s dream

Following the wrong dream can reveal a lot about yourself. Not only will following the wrong dream better show you what you want, you are better able to cut and run in your twenties. If you don’t learn what the wrong dream looks like now, you might fall into the wrong life plan when you’re older–and in less of a position to start over. Have no regrets over taking a wrong turn now, as you’ll be more able to find the right road, and be content later.

Featured photo credit: university student group/www.audio-luci-store.it via flickr.com

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Alicia Prince

A writer, filmmaker, and artist who shares about lifestyle tips and inspirations on Lifehack.

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Published on April 7, 2021

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

Some of the most manipulative people are so good at what they do that their words and actions can convince you into thinking they truly care about what’s best for you when in reality, it’s quite the opposite. The most common signs of a controlling person are rarely obvious to outside observers. And for someone enmeshed in a controlling relationship or friendship, it can be incredibly challenging to stay away from this toxic person, even if you’re aware of their emotionally abusive tendencies.

While it’s ultimately up to you to decide whether to preserve or leave a lopsided, unfulfilling relationship, it’s nevertheless critical to understand the following six signs of controlling people so you can better advocate for yourself and mitigate the influence of their manipulative tendencies in your own life.

1. They Push Their Own Personal Agenda

Do you know someone who always tries to micromanage the words, behaviors, and attitudes of people around them? Does this person act like they have the right to know anything they want about you, including your location, what you’re doing in a given moment, who you’re talking to online, or any other private information about you? And when planning events and special occasions, does this person dominate conversations, steer plans in their own preferred directions, disparage others’ suggestions, and refuse to collaborate with anyone who might disagree with them?

If you answered “yes” to some of the above questions, then those are clear signs of a controlling person whom you absolutely need to be cautious around. Controlling people are reluctant to even consider alternative ideas, let alone enthusiastically work with people who have differing views. They prefer to be the captain of every ship—regardless of how much or how little an issue personally impacts them—and they have an arsenal of manipulative tactics to deploy if someone stands in the way of them achieving their own personal agendas.

In long-term relationships with controlling people, you may feel constantly pressured to meet their demands, follow their schedule, and focus on whatever they feel is most important. It’s not an exaggeration to say that these people act like the universe revolves around them, which can be exhausting to deal with for their family members, friends, and colleagues.

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2. They Make Everything Transactional

Controlling people aren’t always self-centered, but they’re not too empathetic either. Empathy for them tends to appear in the form of strategic concessions they use as a means to get what they want. They typically view interpersonal relationships as transactional opportunities to extract more value from people surrounding them, which can have a draining effect on those they interact with.

For example, one sign of a controlling person may be their insistence on “keeping score.” This can involve doing nice things for you with the ulterior motive of demanding something from you at a later date in exchange for what you thought was just an act of kindness or a friendly support.

Perhaps they shower you in praise (also known as “love-bombing”) or gifts then blow up at you if you don’t intuitively know they’re expecting something back from you. None of us are mind-readers, but controlling people behave as though everyone else should think and act like they want others to and those who fall out of line are punished for failing to meet their impossible expectations.

A controlling person may also threaten to withhold support if you don’t adhere to their demands, but they do so in such subtle ways that the guilt they impose blinds you from the unreasonable nature of their behaviors.

Some statements to be wary of include:

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  • “I did ___________ for you. What do you mean you can’t do ___________ for me?”
  • “Remember how I helped you with ___________? That took a lot of time and energy from me, but I guess you didn’t appreciate my help.”
  • “I always give you ___________. Don’t you care about my needs too?”
  • “You’re so selfish!” or “You don’t care about me at all!” (gaslighting if you respond with hesitation or politely decline their request for help for perfectly valid reasons, such as not having enough time or resources to assist them)

3. They Criticize Everything

One of the most common telltale signs of a controlling person is their capacity to criticize anything and everything, even small things that seemingly don’t matter. As with many toxic traits in relationships, these problems typically start out so small that you may not even notice. At first, you may even agree with their criticism or at least be able to understand their perspective when they bring up an issue.

However, the criticism tends to get more intense, more constant, and more perplexing for people who maintain relationships with controlling people. You’ll likely notice how they rarely seem to criticize something they do. It’s almost always other-oriented and these types of people are so manipulative that any rationale they offer can seem plausibly legitimate.

Some warning signs of a controlling person who’s overly critical to the point of abusiveness include:

  • Criticizing things about you that you have little to no control over (e.g., appearance, disability, family)
  • Criticizing your personal choices and interests, such as educational pursuits, career, clothing, favorite music, time spent on your hobbies, etc.
  • Punishing you for expressing vulnerability by invalidating thoughts and feelings you share with them
  • Attacking you whenever you express an opinion counter to theirs

4. They Balk When Someone Criticizes Them

We all know the adage, “what goes around, comes around.” But this statement doesn’t apply as much to toxic, controlling people. They’d much prefer to dish out criticism without ever having to take it in return.

For instance, if your friend constantly talks about your appearance with little regard for your emotions but flips out if you make just a single comment about their appearance, there’s a possibility that they could have some hidden controlling tendencies left unchecked. Remember, these people aren’t just controlling in their behaviors towards others. They’re also actively trying to stay in complete control over every aspect of their lives, which includes how others view them.

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This seemingly insatiable desire for control can prompt them to lash out against even the smallest bits of criticism, leaving people around them too weary or scared to speak up again in the future. While it’s possible they may suffer from something called rejection sensitivity dysphoria, this does not excuse them from the consequences of their words and actions. They should seek professional help to better manage their reactions to criticism.

5. They Socially Isolate You

Not all controlling people do this, but for manipulative narcissists, socially isolating victims is a go-to strategy for maintaining control because it’s effective at preventing people from truly understanding how toxic their partner, family member, or friend is treating them. Think of it this way—if you don’t talk to many other people in your life, there’s less of a risk that you’ll damage their reputation by revealing their abusive tendencies.

Socially isolating others also gives the person more control over you and your life as it becomes more difficult to break away from them if you don’t have other healthier channels of communication and interpersonal support to turn to.

This process doesn’t happen overnight, nor is it something you can readily recognize as abusive. At first, it may seem reasonable, such as asking you to stop engaging so often with family members with whom both of you disagree on major social or political issues. As the social isolation progresses, they may suggest cutting people out of your life—especially if they don’t like that person, regardless of how you personally feel—or even conjure up high-stakes problems like “it’s me or them” under the guise of saving you from people in your life whom they don’t like for whatever reason.

In a controlling person’s life narrative, they’re always the protagonist who’s incapable of any wrongdoing. The blame is always redirected at someone else, whether that’s you or other people in your life. The more they isolate you from other supportive people in your life, the more susceptible you’ll be to falsely believing that they’re right and you “don’t need” your other friends and family when you have someone as perfect as this person.

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6. They’re Emotionally Abusive

It’s hard enough to be in control of your own emotions but when someone else is constantly belittling you and your interests or leveraging guilt and shame to manipulate you into saying or doing what they want, this can make it even more challenging to stay in control of your own life and emotional well-being.

Emotional abuse is another sign of a controlling person that is often overlooked in relationships. After all, human personalities vary widely in terms of passivity, and it’s not uncommon for one person in a relationship to be significantly more passive than the other. This becomes an issue when the controlling partner or friend exudes signs of emotional abuse, which can start subtly and become much more pronounced over time.

Concerning signs of emotionally abusive language or behavior to watch out for include:

  • Dismissing your needs and/or belittling your interests in counterproductive ways
  • Privately or publicly shaming or humiliating you
  • Making you feel as though you can never live up to their expectations or do anything right (according to their own vague, subjective standards)
  • Gaslighting you into thinking they said or did something that never actually happened (making you question your own reality)

Final Thoughts

It’s sometimes hard to see the negative things about someone with whom we have a relationship. We may sometimes unconsciously overlook the signs of a controlling person, especially if that person is someone we have known for a long time or are close to us. However, cutting them off your life is the best thing you can do for yourself. Just watch out for these six signs of a controlling person and take immediate action when you spot them.

More Tips on How To Deal With a Controlling Person

Featured photo credit: Külli Kittus via unsplash.com

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