Looking for some good advice for friends? Here’s 100 helpful hints that represent a summary of some of the best life advice I’ve ever received from my friends.
(In full disclosure, I’m not a young lady anymore. I am now a woman in my 40s, old enough to know better, but still young enough to make stupid mistakes. I have three kids now, and I am working on putting a divorce behind me. My friends are people who have now been around me for 20 years or more, which is strange to type and look at).
I have learned just as much or more from my friends about living, life, parenting, work, and the world. Here are a bunch of the gems I have picked up from them.
The obvious ones
There’s a lot of advice that you receive from friends that you should already know, that should make you say “duh.” But it never hurts anything to hear it again, and then again, and then again and again and again.
- Stay true to yourself
- Do what you love, not what you are told to love
- Create a world and a life that is right for you
- Choose your friends wisely
- Be picky about your mentors
It is great when people want to help you. But make sure before you start a professional mentorship relationship with someone, that you actually want or need the help they have to give.
A portion of your mentor’s reputation will pass to you. This is true for his or her past, and then future achievements and mistakes. Be very picky about who you choose to associate with, as this can make or break your career.
I can personally attest via my own experience that being choosy about a mentor matters. I had a mentor who seemed really great on the surface, but behind and scenes (and around the community), this person did not have a good reputation and it actually hurt me and my career to be associated with him.
It is one of the reasons why I no longer work in the field that I used to. My own reputation, which I previously considered to be impeccable, was actually quite tainted and make it hard for me to find a position that I really wanted with companies that I respected.
- Learn every day, and never stop
- Establish positive habits
- Don’t make decisions when you are angry
- Only pack what you can carry yourself
- Don’t be afraid of vulnerability
Vulnerability is a tough thing to show. It takes a lot of courage to let other people know what you are not as confident as you seem, as smart, as talented, or as experienced as others think you are. But here is the thing. None of us are perfect.
And when someone is confident enough to show us their vulnerabilities (without turning it into a soul-bearing, over-sharing reality show), people respond to them.
People are more likely to trust someone who is real, open, and honest.
People do not trust like they used to. The internet has made it easier for the bad guys to take advantage of the old, poor, desperate, and weak.
All of your potential friends, partners, and customers, they all walk around the world with their guard up. One way to really connect with someone who has their guard up is to let your guard down first. This will encourage them to do the same.
- Don’t make promises when you are happy
- Don’t blame others for something you want to improve
- Don’t give up what you want most for what you want right now
- Never made someone a priority who only makes you an option
- Try not to take things personally, no one thinks as much about you as you do
One of the hardest things to do in all of life it to take small hurts and get past them. When your ego is bruised, whether it is rightly earned or not, the experience can grow into an oozing sore that you cannot overcome.
But while you continue to brood over the incident, everyone else in the world has moved on. It is better to handle whatever it was that you have taken personally, and then find a way to learn from it, and move on from it so that it does not hold you back.
- Be persistent, especially when knowledge and ability aren’t enough
- Life is scary, get used to it
- Happiness is a choice and everything else is perspective
- When it is all over, it’ll feel like it never happened
- Only you are responsible for your mistakes
The heart of all mistakes that happen to you is YOU.
You can’t control other people. But you can control who you allow into your life. Ultimately, when you go back far enough from a mistake, you will see a decision you made that is a link in the chain to whatever happened.
99.99% of the time, YOU are part of the problem. And even you truly aren’t, it is still better to treat the problem as if you were part of it, so that you can better take part in fixing it or overcoming it.
- Your parents are the only ones who really care
- Always assume someone is watching you (even if they aren’t, but your behavior will always be above reproach)
- Make a list of your top priorities, then delete half of them and focus on what is left
- Everyone is temporary
- You are more than your flaws
Flaws are easier to focus on. I would say that most of us spend more time thinking about what is wrong with us, than what is right with us. Shifting your mindset to what is good and positive about yourself can have a dramatic impact upon your confidence and success in the world. You must realize that you are MORE than your flaws. So much more.
- We all break rules for someone
- No one is worth losing yourself for
- Shake hands firmly
- Don’t expect life to be fair
It just isn’t fair, ladies and gentlemen, no matter how much I wish that it was. Life should be fair. People should be equal. Everyone should have food, water, clean air to breath, and safe place to sleep.
If you expect life to be fair, you will struggle when it isn’t. Instead, realize now that life isn’t fair, and prepare to meet the challenges of inequity as they come.
- Sing in the shower
- Look people in the eye
- Whatever happens, happens
- reputation fades, work on your personality
- Don’t take life too seriously
If you can’t get over yourself and the things that happen in life, you will miss much of what life has to offer.
- One single smile can change a life
- Put down your phone
- Keep the child within you alive
- Be polite
- Observe the people around you
Most of us walk around head down, looking at phones or lost in a world of music. If you take time to observe those around you, you might see wonder in action. Or you might see terribleness. Either way, you need to see the world that you live in, in order to have the best possible chance of making your way through it successfully.
- Stop comparing yourself to others
- Plan your day
- Sit in silence for a few minutes every day
- Drink lots of water
- Learn to say NO
Take control of your life.
Yes, you can say NO if you want. You do not owe people your time, love, or your life. You may have reasons to say YES, but make sure those reasons are yours, and not theirs.
- Learn to say YES
- Better done than perfect
- Express your feelings
- Go outside every day
- Develop a growth mindset
To be successful in life, you must be able to grow. If you do not look at the things in your life with an eye towards growing and changing, you cannot grow and change. Period. It won’t just happen to you.
- Be present
- Admit when you are wrong
- Be grateful
- Feel the fear and do it anyway
- Take care of your family
Your mother and father brought you into this world. You may not be close to them, but without them, you would not exist. Do not forget that.
- Go about your life cheerfully
- Believe in love
- Don’t laugh at other people’s dreams
- Get off social media
- Work hard
This seems like it should be a no brainer, but life takes work. Hard work. Do you want more than a tiny apartment and reality television? You must go out and DO something about it.
- Listen to others, nature, and the wind
- Never give up before life gives up on you
- Your own dream is worth fighting for, and only you will fight for it
- Life only begins when you start appreciating yourself
- Believe and trust in yourself
When it comes time to act, you can take in all the information and advice in the world, but YOU ultimately have to make a decision that YOU believe is the right call. You can’t blame the information or the advice. You decide what information to rely upon, and you decide whose advice is good or not.
At the end of the day, you must trust that you know enough and are ready to live your life each day. And part of this is being prepared to accept the consequences of your decisions.
Become Fine With Failing
A big part of believing in yourself is being prepared to fail, and having a plan for moving on from a decision that turns out to be wrong. If you can’t believe in yourself, then you can’t grow or move on with your life.
- Take photos and video of your parents, partner, and children
- When it comes to health, you pay now or pay later. Pay more now to eat nutritious food, and take the time to exercise, or you’ll pay later with your medical bills
- Babies cannot be spoiled with too much love
- Carry a book at all times, so that if you have to wait, you can read a book (and learn, enriching yourself, building knowledge and language) instead of surfing your phone mindlessly
- Write thank you notes
People are lazy. Social media and email makes it so that you can send a quick note around the world in a few seconds. A handwritten thank you note is decadent. It means that someone stopped everything they are doing to take the time to write something on a card or paper that they had to find, and then to package it up, find a stamp, and mail it. This is an extraordinary amount of effort, and particularly impactful in this day and age.
- Embrace your past
- Learn to see your troubles as blessings
- Avoid gossiping
- Stop judging
- Invest in yourself
You cannot ever stop investing yourself. You’ll spend money on games, beer, gambling, animals, gadgets and doo-dads, but few people spend money to grow themselves. You must continue to grow and learn to make the most of life.
Don’t be afraid to buy courses to learn new things. Ignore people who tell you that you are crazy to pay money to go to seminars to hear people speak about self-help and growth.
- Act decisively
- Never lose hope
- Be humble and stay humble
- Realize that unconditional love does not exist
- Develop strong relationships with people other than your spouse
Spouses do come and go, unfortunately. It is a part of life, and not always because of divorce. Heck, you can even be married and feel alone. Your friends, family, coworker, and colleagues can be a source of support and knowledge that your spouse cannot.
- Be honest with yourself
- Think before you speak
- Practice what you learn
- Surround yourself with the kind of people you want to become
- Worrying accomplishes nothing
Truly, worrying does nothing to help you.
If you are worried about something, use that energy as a launching pad towards resolving the worry. Otherwise move on and do something else.
- If it seems too good to be true, it is
- Better to make the mistake now than later
- People come and go
- Don’t get trapped by your STUFF
- Understand that people need recognition and appreciation
Empathy is so KEY in this day and age. People are being trained by the internet and social media to receive recognition and praise for just about everything. Knowing and understanding this can help you make the most of your relationships, and also manage your employees and customers.
- Avoid credit card debt
- Don’t lend money to friends
- If you lend money, don’t lend more than you can afford to lose
- Volunteer when no one else does
- Travel alone
Solo travel is one of the best things a person can do for their personal growth. When you travel with your friends or family, you can avoid stepping outside of your comfort zone. This inhibits growth that you might otherwise experience on a trip.
- Miracles happen every day
- Talk to strangers
- Tell people your name, and ask for theirs
- Safeguard your reputation
- Build your personal brand
People out in the world should know who you are, and know that you are a good, trustworthy person. I don’t say this meaning that you should go out into the world with an advertising campaign or a billboard. I just mean that you should try very hard to connect with everyone you come into contact with, and leave them with a good reason to remember your face in connection with something positive.
Introduce yourself whenever you can, even when people wouldn’t normally.
For example, say you are at a restaurant, and you’ve talked to the waiter a bit. If he hasn’t introduced himself, ask him his name, and then tell him yours, and shake his hand. Maybe you ask him a little about himself during the meal, and wish him well at the end.
When I do this, I occasionally realize that we might know some of the same people, or that I have heard of someone who needs a skill that he has. It is a joy to be able to help someone out simply by connecting them to each other. And you leave the interaction regardless looking as though you are a caring human being (which you are).
You never know when you might run into that person again, and next time, that person might not be your waiter.
Actually, funny story that I just thought of. When I was in my early 20s, I dated a young man who worked at a local watering hole. He had a good friend who also worked at said watering hole, who I talked to regularly when I went to visit my boyfriend. When I broke up with said boyfriend, I stopped going to the watering hole, and then lost contact with the friend.
The next time I saw this individual was when I was in the hospital, in labor with my third baby. He actually helped deliver her. (So he saw me naked and all of my lady parts….oh yeah, and all the indignities of giving birth).
Man, what if I had been a huge jerk to this guy? I’m sure he would have still provided the care I needed, but it would have been so much more awkward!
Keep those friends close
As you get older, it becomes harder and harder to maintain those close and wonderful friendships you made, especially as kids enter the picture. You will be tempted to put those relationships on the back burner, but I implore you, make time for them!
It doesn’t have to be much effort, but exert something to keep those life lines alive! One day you are going to be an empty nester, in need of companionship and entertainment, and this remains true whether or not you have a romantic partner.
Much of this advice applies to your children too
As I was re-reading this before publishing it, I realized that much of this is information and advice that would be so applicable to young and older teens to learn. Don’t be afraid to take what you’ve learned here and turn it into lessons for your growing children. I know I am!
Do you have some good advice to share that isn’t listed here? Leave it in the comments for everyone to enjoy!
But before you go, check out another article you might like:
- Teaching Resilience to Kids with the Narnia books
- Can Breastfeeding Cause Dry Skin?
- Convincing Your Parents To Buy You Something Expensive
- Parent’s Guide to Hiring a Nanny For the First Time
- Adopting a HIV Positive Child
Emily Anderson is a mother of three children, all under the age of 10. Located in the Pacific Northwest of the US, Emily is a mom and part-time blogger, jumping in front of the computer when the kids are sleeping. She started this blog in April of 2019 and is proud that the blog is now paying for itself. If you want to know about her journey as a blogger, check out out her personal digital journal or her post about failing her way to blogging success.