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Why Today’s 30s Are Not the New 20s

Why Today’s 30s Are Not the New 20s

The popular mindset these days is that the 30s are the new 20s. This can work as an excuse for many people, telling them they don’t have to grow up yet because there will be time for that later. People are getting married later, finding steady jobs later, not opening retirement accounts or making property investments until they’re older, and more. As a result, people might think of their 20s as a time to do whatever they choose, and wait until their 30s to start getting serious about life. This can be detrimental to one’s maturity and personal development.

Getting married after high school, or even in your 20s, is a trend that is starting to fade away in popularity. This means there’s less pressure to settle down and have everything figured out at a younger age, which is a great relief because it gives people time to figure out what they really want out of life. It seems more possible now to find happiness in life because you have time to find the right career, home, and relationship for you, instead of having to settle down when you’re younger and know less about the world.

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I used to think that I’d have everything figured out by the time I was in college. Instead, I took a year off after high school because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I went to a university for a year, then switched to a community college to quickly get a practical degree because I still didn’t know what I wanted to do. It was frustrating to me that adults expected me to know what I wanted from my life, and to be well on the path on accomplishing that dream. Even though I didn’t know what I wanted, I made sure to not stay stagnant. I didn’t want to be a bum, wasting time until my purpose came to me in a flash of brilliance. I got a two year degree that would help me get employed more than any other degrees I would later pursue—and it was a career I had never considered before!

I think it’s important to give students time to pick what they want to study, especially as competition for jobs grows and degrees mean less. These days, experience means more than a piece of paper, so it can be more beneficial to work in the field, or even have an apprenticeship, than to just get a degree. I think it’s more important for people to explore their options and try different jobs for shorter periods of time than to immediately commit to something that might not be the right job. While you don’t need to commit to one particular career in your 20s, it’s important to be laying the groundwork for your future. Study different things in school, and test the waters of different jobs so that once you’re older and ready to settle down, you’re going to get exactly what you want.

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As far as relationships go, taking it slow and knowing what you want is always important. Love is an intoxicating emotion, and it’s easy to be swept away in it. If you’re not concerned with getting married while you’re young, then you can explore relationships to their full extent, but still be free to live your own life. Being committed too young can be detrimental to both individuals in a relationship because they’re compromising their own hopes and dreams, as well as their personal lives. That doesn’t mean you should date around in your 20s just to do it, but you should feel free to explore the possibilities of different relationships. If you find the right person and you’re sure of it, that’s great! But there’s nothing wrong with being in a few relationships and learning what you want when you’re older and ready to settle down and start a family.

You might not know what you want right now, regardless of your age. The world is so open to possibilities that it’s a little easier to start a new career, or take courses online to continue your education. There has been an influx of older people re-entering the job force, and while it creates more job competition, it’s also refreshing to know you’ll always have the possibility for freedom and change later in life. Even so, it’s important to not throw away your 20s as a time to party and be immature, and to lay the groundwork to settle down and be successful in your 30s.

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There’s a great TED Talk by clinical psychologist Meg Jay that further explores the idea that your 20s should not be a throwaway decade of your life. Check it out here!

Featured photo credit: Kyle Sullivan via flickr.com

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

Reference

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