1. How many likes and comments you get on social media. I don’t know when it became a contest to have every status about what you ate for lunch harvest 20 people’s positive commentary, but it doesn’t mean anything about you as a person.
2. (And while we’re at it, no one should care or even have a moment of introspection over not having enough social media friends. Facebook friends not Chuck E Cheese tickets that have more value as they are added. The real introspection should be for people who have more than a thousand of them because, like, why?)
3. Whether or not you shave your personal bits, and to what extent. It’s no one else’s business what your box/ween looks like, no matter how many magazine covers tell us what the “hot new trend” is.
4. Whether or not you have had a one-night stand. Having them doesn’t make you a trollop, but not having them doesn’t mean you’re some inexperienced throw pillow that doesn’t know what life is about.
5. The kind of diet you do or don’t follow. Never let someone guilt you into going vegan, or paleo, or gluten free, or raw, or pescetarian, or whatever they happen to have adopted. If you choose to, eat your meat wrapped in your gluten and topped with melted cheese. Don’t let anyone tell you it makes you a bad person.
6. Your skill level in a yoga class. SOME OF US WILL JUST NEVER BE GRACEFUL, OKAY?!?!
7. (Speaking of the gym, never be embarrassed about sweating off your makeup or looking generally gnarly while working out. If you happen to attend a “sexy people gym,” as I do, it’s easy to feel like you are not living up to something by looking like a struggling human being while working out. But this is outrageous. Look however you want, you’re at the gym, that’s all that matters.)
8. How well or how badly you sing. The point is to enjoy yourself, never stifle your performance when you roll up next to another car at a red light.
9. Enjoying things that don’t fit in with what you “should like” (eye roll), such as being a wood-chopping, bear-skinning bearded straight male who loves romantic comedies.
10. Your Spotify activity.
11. How often you dance at your desk. *Glares at coworkers as she bops to and fro to the sounds of “Electric Avenue.”*
12. Your level of introversion or extroversion. You can’t change it, and it doesn’t make you a shut-in or an attention whore. As long as you are kind to others and considerate of their emotional needs, don’t let anyone bombard you with questions about “why are you so quiet?” or “why can’t you just be alone?”
13. Your odd food rituals. (Sometimes I eat all the chocolate off a Reese’s cup and leave just the peanut butter, which I roll into a ball and then consume separately. I call it a “Pball.”)
14. Enjoying trashy reality TV from time to time. I’m not going to say that it should be your only interest in life, but there are many worse things you could be doing than enjoying The Real Housewives, and we all have our entertainment vices. Don’t let anyone use it to question your intelligence. (Anderson cooper is a RH fan, and he is better than all of us.)
15. The financial background you came from. Anyone who is going to seriously judge you on that is someone you don’t want in your life.
16. The college you went to — I worked at a coffee shop in DC with two Ivy League graduates, a community college student, and a high school dropout. So there is a path for everyone.
17. The fact that you don’t look like a Photoshopped model when you’re, you know, a real person walking around in the physical world.
18. How many exes you have. Never feel bad about having been in love with someone.
19. Whether or not the food you cook looks extremely photogenic. We have gotten to this weird place where we expect our food not just to taste good, but to make for a good-looking social media moment. The fact that you’re making food is awesome. The fact that you enjoy it and it tastes nice is even better. Not every plate needs to be an Instagram centerfold.
20. Not understanding something. It’s always better to ask questions and take a moment to be like, “Wait, I don’t get it, could you explain” rather than nodding along and waiting until you get backed into a corner by your own passive lies.
21. Being happy. And I know this sounds silly, but it’s actually really true in practice. A lot of times social gatherings — and especially social media — can become a sort of self-deprecation-a-thon, where everyone is trying to prove that they are the most dissatisfied or alone. And while you shouldn’t rub your achievements or fulfillments in anyone’s face, it’s important to enjoy what you have and embrace being happy. Being falsely humble won’t help anyone.