We all know how hard it is to learn from other’s mistakes. No matter how many people tell us, on good authority, that you can’t tame a bad boy or mix colours and whites in the wash, something inside us goes – “Well that was you. I can do this.”
Take it from someone who experienced many of the following first hard, or witnessed friends deal with the painful, embarrassing or sometimes devastating consequences – there are some mistakes you don’t need to experience in order to avoid them. JUST DON’T DO IT.
1. Use the work email to bitch about your boss/job. Or use any form of social media for that matter. Say what you like to your family and friends, preferably in the safety of your own home, but don’t write it down when there is even the remotest chance of those complaints getting back to the subject matter. You don’t want to be this woman who got fired before her first day.
2. Spend only ONE night in an amazing city. Whether your trip is two weeks or two months, sometimes it’s tempting to squeeze an extra city into your already packed itinerary. But if you can’t budget the time to spend more than one night in Rome/New York/London/Beijing then don’t go. You will only be left wanting more and wishing you had booked for longer.
3. Pick and eat mushrooms from the side of the road. This goes for all strange-looking berries and plants you might spot in your backyard or on your morning run. Unless you have someone who seriously knows their truffles from their death caps with you, cooking up found fungi is a recipe for a crook stomach… or a trip to emergency.
4. Text/speed/be drunk while driving. The consequences of these actions can be so incredibly devastating – from a life-long injury to killing yourself or others. It is a risk that’s never worth taking.
5. Go against your gut instinct. Your gut feeling – not to be confused with the butterflies of anticipation or a healthy amount of fear when trying something new and exciting – is there to warn and guide you. Trust it and walk away from the strange man/go for the promotion/don’t eat that fish.
6. Try that fad diet. You know this one to be true. Your brain is already telling you before your body gets the chance: drinking only lemon juice is just going to make you hungry, grumpy and tired. You’ll lose some water weight before you inevitably give up on the third day and eat an entire packet of Tim Tams. Then you will be no better off for your trouble and probably have some apologising to do to anyone who crossed paths with your hangry self.
7. Stay seated when your favourite song comes on. The dance floor beckons, your friends are already out there cutting a rug and you… just sit there? Because you’re the designated driver tonight and just aren’t feeling it. Sure, you may not miss out on much if you don’t get up there and shake it, but guaranteed you will have fun if you do.
8. Buckle to a bully. While bullying should have finished in the playground, it’s a reality that many of us will face bullies in our adult lives. They may be masquerading as your tough-but-fair supervisor or your overbearing mother-in-law, but when their actions cross the line from well-meaning to mean you’ve got to stand up to that bully.
9. Ignore a stranger in need. We all have the capacity to make the world a better place. The smallest of small acts of kindness create ripples of positivity. Don’t just keep walking when you see a lady drop her bag and have the contents topple out, bend down and help her pick her things up. That warm feeling is the immediate reward for your kindness.
10. Lend a friend money without something on paper. We’re not taking about when you spotted her $4 for a coffee or $50 when she left her card at home on girl’s night. When it’s large amounts of money it’s important to have some kind of written agreement. While it doesn’t need to be as formal as a contract, it should outline how much the loan is, what it’s for and when you expect the money back. An unpaid loan can put a strain on even the tightest of friendships and even end them.