Or for wanting to go out. Or for wanting to go out, but not drink. Or for any combination of Saturday night activities. Pressure to ‘party hard’ is especially strong during the transition from teenage to adult years. I recently overheard a young man on the tram boast to his female friend that he was going to undertake the “keg challenge” – to drink the equivalent of an entire keg over one week. This translates to just under 24 beers, or over 30 standard drinks, per day. She smiled warmly at him and said “it’s not something I have any interest in, to be honest.” What a perfect reply. Without judgement or insult she politely let him know that she would be making a different choice, and that she was perfectly secure in doing so.
Photo: "today is the best day of your life" by Asja Boroš
2. Your Life News
In this Facebook era, we are so used to knowing everything about everyone else that we can come to feel we are owed this knowledge. If you get engaged, make travel plans, or even just read a new book, no one else is entitled to this knowledge. Nor are your closer friends entitled to find out before your more distant acquaintances. Sure, if it’s big news you should probably share with your immediate family before splashing it over the internet – but equally, you are allowed to keep it to yourself. It’s your life – no one is owed a status update.
3. Your Secrets
In my experience, women tend to bond over confessions. We open up in hushed whispers, and often this is expected as a means of displaying trust. If you don’t want to share your latest bedroom adventure or budget woes, no one has the right to expect you to. Even if you have shared on past occasions. Even if they ask. Even if they share with you. True friends will respect your wishes to keep your private life private.
Photo: "Life partners for infinity (CC)" by Purple Sherbet Photography
4. An Explanation For Your Appearance
I work full-time in a corporate environment, which means most days I dress very professionally, modestly, and without any outward show of… well, personality. However, I used to have bright pink hair. I’ve been known to wear “off-beat” clothing including mismatched earrings in my multiple piercings. Now I dress in such a ‘mainstream’ fashion no one looks twice when I pass on the street. Whether you choose kooky, cool or conformist – whether you want to change day to day or remain with one style, you don’t owe anyone an explanation for how you choose to clothe yourself. Other people can expect what they will, but only you have the right to dictate what happens to your body.
Photo: "Rock is life. Life is Rock" by Jesus Solana
5. An Explanation For Your Career Or Relationship Choices
Some of my friends are single. Some married. Some have kids but some do not. Some did not go to University after high school while others are completing Master’s and Doctoral degrees. None of them owe anyone an explanation for their choices or priorities – and neither do you. Everyone has different experiences, different struggles and different goals. Whether you want three kids and a white picket fence or a life of volunteer nursing in Africa, you don’t owe anyone an explanation for the way you choose to live.
As a heavy Facebook user, I sometimes I have to remind myself that I don't need to "announce" my every move with a status update. Several times lately I have gone to post my latest news and then stopped myself, realising that it really wasn't anyone else's business. We just get so used to sharing every little thing.