1. Asking for a raise.
The truth is simply that many of your male colleagues — and superiors — are going to estimate a bit less of you, even without realizing it. And they’re going to assume that you won’t have the, erm, spine to ask them for what you rightfully deserve. After all, it is statistically much less likely for a woman to fight and argue her way up the corporate ladder. Which makes it all the more essential that you be the person who walks right into the corner office and demands to be paid what you are worth. It’s not fair that we have to fight harder, but if we’re going to play their game, we might as well go big or go home.
2. Turning someone down who deserves it.
There are any number of reasons why we might stay in a relationship that is not good for us, or accept someone who we’re not really that into. We are told that we are worth less if we are not paired up, and that we should be afraid of winding up alone at the wrong side of 30. But being able to say “No, I deserve better than this,” and moving on to actually find something that is, is crucial to finding out what it is you really want in a partner. Yes, it’s hard to dump someone. But sometimes it’s necessary, and let’s be honest, plenty of people have been willing to do it with us.
3. Living in her own apartment.
Roommates are wonderful. Living with a partner can be great. But until you have sustained yourself, kept up only after yourself, and had the pleasure of finding out who you really are when you are totally on your own, it’s difficult that you say you really know who you are. And it’s a time you may never have again in your life, depending on the choices you make. Even if it’s just a crappy little studio, it should be your own.
4. Disregarding her parents’ advice on something.
The moment you realize that you know yourself better than they do, that you are not their “little girl” who is out in the big, scary world and needs to be helped, and that you can direct yourself into exactly what you really want in life — well, that is a great moment. Even if you end up regretting your decision, you can say that you made it entirely yourself.
5. Going on a trip alone.
People (maybe even well-meaning people) are going to tell you that it’s dangerous. They’re going to say that you’re not being responsible, that you never know what can happen to a nice girl like you, and that you should at least go with a few friends. But all of the things you learn about yourself — especially the fact that you are able to hold your own in a foreign place, and be perfectly content with your own company — are irreplaceable. And young women deserve that just as much as anyone else does. Who knows, you might meet some sexy local and have a perfect little vacation fling that isn’t encumbered by all of your travel buddies whose schedules you have to think of. And you’ll never know until you go.
6. Having at least one night where she goes way too crazy.
If you don’t have at least one memory to look back on that makes you laugh and wince in equal measure, something where you proved yourself that you could be the crazy friend and still escape unscathed, you never know when that pang of regret for not trying is going to creep up on you.
7. Moving to a new city where she knows almost no one.
Yes, it’s terrifying. Yes, you will be in for a lot of dinners alone and awkward first friend-dates with people you meet at work or through friends of friends or online. Yes, it will mean creating a whole new network out of thin air and waiting months or years until you really feel like you’re at home again. But you deserve all of the adventure that it comes with, and no one is going to give it to you. It’s something you have to go out and find for yourself.