1. We often don’t live at home after college. When you’ve spent your entire life choosing between one parent or the other, the last thing you want to do is exclusively live with one parent, because it feels like you’re choosing sides.
2. We are hesitant to fully commit to someone. This isn’t because you have a “grass is greener” mentality, it’s because you’re scared of making the wrong commitment. You’ve seen the repercussions that come with choosing the wrong person, and it terrifies you.
3. We’re not as caught up in the marriage and baby fever that everyone else seems enveloped in. You understand that a marriage is not something to be rushed. Getting married young and posting all of those engagement statuses and wedding pictures on Facebook isn’t what you’re hoping for.
4. We worry about our parents, and feel guilty for leaving them alone when we move far away. If you have a single parent, you inevitably spend a lot of time feeling like you should be there for them more — in person, or even over the phone. It sometimes feels like no matter how hard you try, you’re never giving them the support they need.
5. And we occasionally develop separation anxiety, which can happen as the result of bouncing back and forth between your parents when you were young.
6. We get even closer to our siblings. Siblings with divorced parents learn to stick up for each other early on in life. When your parents are having problems, a sibling is who you turn to for support. They are the only person who understands exactly what you went through. In your 20s, your support for each other continues to grow.
7. We become extraordinarily picky. Dating in your 20s is miles away from dating in college or high school, because you have an overwhelming sense of the fact that your relationship could ~go somewhere~. It makes you realize how high you want to keep your standards, because after seeing your parents not always be great to each other, you don’t want to waste time with people who don’t treat you well.
8. We’re scared of showing our vulnerability. And in your 20s, you likely choose to confront your vulnerabilities on your own, instead of sharing them with your friends or with someone you just started dating.
9. We always want to understand things for ourselves. You can never stop asking, “why?” because you want to understand the larger picture when you get one piece of information. When you’ve spent your child life asking your parents “why?” this just becomes second nature.
10. We have a hard time being straightforward in relationships. You want to be direct and honest with someone when you start dating them, but you’re nervous about revealing too much, too soon.
11. We get nervous about the future. Of course, everyone worries about the future, but your concerns are much more specific. You worry about whether or not love — the love you share with someone, or any love — can last forever. You worry about your parents, and whether your family will ever be the family that can gather in the same room for holidays. You’re scared your family will never achieve the closeness some families effortlessly have.
12. We are the people who will love you as much in the worst moments as in the best. Because you’re used to taking care of people, your heart is already accustomed to feeling someone else’s pain, and you do so graciously, and with so much love.
13. We quickly learn what it takes to be a reliable friend, and not a flake. You know how to give support, because you know what kind of support you want to receive when things get rough. Especially in your 20s, when your close friends become a second family, it’s crucial to you that you give your friends the best treatment, and that you surround yourself with good people.
14. We don’t show our love in grand gestures, we show it in small acts. You don’t want your love to be just for show, you want it to be meaningful because it’s real.
15. We don’t understand when our friends are always attracted to the people who are “bad for them.” In your 20s, you’ve become much more attracted to stability, and less attracted to insecurity.
16. We try to open ourselves up just a little bit more in our 20s. Because in your 20s, you come to realize that you’ve been spending the last few years guarding yourself, and you’re brave enough to work through that.