Don’t Follow This Bad (and Sometimes Dangerous) Life Advice

Young woman is shocked by bad advice
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Bad advice, bogus life hacks, and clichés ripped straight from the movies--this is so-called wisdom that you don't need in your life.

The idea of a “life hack” is already kind of wild, if you think about it. Life isn’t a video game that you can “win” with some kind of universal cheat code. A lot of websites out there–not ours, thankfully–earn their bread and butter by offering increasingly ludicrous tips to optimize your life.

Take a cold shower every morning, chug organic yak milk, and only check your email on days with a “U” in them!

But the life hack existed long before we had a name for it. People have always loved to tell everyone else how to live. The self-righteous education films of the 1950s and popular “Agony Aunt” advice columns prove that bad life advice has been around for generations.

Bad Romance

Healthy relationships are built on mutual respect. Yet the vast majority of life advice out there is completely bonkers, unnecessary, or even outright harmful.

Jealousy Means They Care

Um, no. Jealousy means that they have issues with control and/or insecurity. If you have a jealous partner, you are not responsible for how they react.

This is just another version of “boys tease you because they like you,” a subtly toxic message that poisons our ideas of what it means to be in a romantic relationship.

All You Need Is Love

Some people think that relationships should always be easy. Others think that they are all about hard work and sacrifice. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle.

Love can’t overcome all obstacles, however, and it’s not healthy to go into a relationship thinking that you don’t need anything else.

Everyone Has a Soulmate

Have you ever been told to wait until you find the one, or that once you meet your soulmate everything will just click? Talk about unrealistic expectations!

Searching for your soulmate isn’t a great way to approach dating. Expecting to get struck by a thunderbolt of instant chemistry and love is even worse. That’s not life advice–it’s a rom-com cliché.

Be Your Best Self

There’s no such thing as your “best list” or your “best self.” There’s just you, in this moment. Most life advice is over-simplified–it looks good in script font in front of a stock photo of a sunset, but it’s not actually helpful. It might even be toxic.

You Don’t Deserve Me

“If they can’t handle me at my worst, then they don’t deserve me at my best,” is the kind of thing a raging egomaniac says after burning down their own life with needless drama. That’s not healthy self-esteem. It’s a refusal to acknowledge the work you need to do on yourself.

Never Give Up

Okay, but sometimes things don’t work out. While you shouldn’t give up the very first time you stumble, at some point you might be better off choosing a different path.

If I’d learned that lesson earlier, I wouldn’t be in debt for a master’s degree that I don’t even use!

Do What You Love

The old saying goes “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” That’s not realistic for the vast majority of people. Even folks who are passionate about their work still have to contend with bad days and elements of the job that are less fulfilling, even frustrating.

It’s okay to have a job that’s just… okay. If it pays the bills and leaves you with enough time and energy to do fun stuff that you actually do love, then you are doing great.

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