In a little over two years, my son will be getting ready to pack his bags and head out on his own for the first time. I’ve spent a lot of time teaching him how to be aware; how to do his best; how to pick up after himself, and that he always needs consent before being intimate.
As he enters college, I want him to focus on his grades and being responsible. But here are five other things things that hold just as much, if not more, weight:
If you show up late to class or work it’s disrespectful, prepare to have consequences.
Maybe you stayed out too late, didn’t hear your alarm, or thought it would be okay to walk into class 15 minutes late because you felt like it. As adults on our own, we get to make a lot of choices about how we spend our time. If you are late to work, class, or a job interview, it’s going to piss people off and there will be consequences.
I won’t be there to wake you up, nor will I be able to make things better for you. Plan ahead and show up on time. This is what you agreed to when you signed up for the class or took the job, respect the rules.
If you take someone out to dinner for the first time, pick up the check.
Especially if you do the asking, you should do the paying. It’s just the right thing to do. That doesn’t mean you always have to be the one treating, it doesn’t mean you have to get taken advantage of. It doesn’t mean you have to go to a place you can’t afford to impress them.
Paying for your date’s dinner makes them feel taken care of and special and if all you can afford is a pizza, go with that. The old cliche is so true here: it’s the thought that counts.
Also, if I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times, always leave a good tip and be nice to the wait staff.
Don’t pay attention to what other people are doing.
Your happiness and safety should be your number one goal. Sometimes that will require you to stay in and study while everyone else is going out. You might be in a committed relationship because you’ve fallen in love while your friends are playing the field. You need to do you. Keep your eye on the long-term prize and remember short-term indulgences are exactly that-short term. They will not get you very far.
Don’t sell yourself short or miss out on an opportunity simply because it doesn’t feel good in the moment.
Be honest with potential partners about what you are looking for.
I cannot express this enough. If you are looking fun for one night, you need to let them know. If you want more and think you could really like the and want to be exclusive, don’t puff out your chest, hide your feelings, and act like you don’t care. Not being honest about your feelings around love, like, or lust always comes back to bit you in the ass.
It came be unnerving but look at it this way; a few minutes of being uncomfortable (yet honest) saves you from hours of stressing about being in a situation with which you aren’t comfortable. Don’t waste time falling deeper into a situation because you led someone to believe you felt a certain way when you really didn’t.
Just speak up. You can do this kindly, you can be respectful, and i promise you, you will survive it.
Covering things up won’t hide them.
If your dorm room or apartment smells because you didn’t take out the trash or clean the bathroom for a month, there is no amount of Axe spray that will mask the underlying odor. If you cheat on someone, you will most likely get caught up in your own mess, or be so consumed with your web of lies that you will be the one who loses. If you make a mistake, there is no shame in owning it, then moving on.
Bandaids only last for so long; it’s better to fix the problem and carry on with your life instead of constantly trying to tape things together hoping they will stay that way despite the lack of effort you’ve put into the situation.
You may be growing into a young man, but you will always be my child and I reserve the right to shell out advice whenever I see fit. So, remember you’ll hear a lot less from me if you take my advice the first time.