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15 Lessons I Learned from “The Girl’s Guide”

When I was in college, I picked up a book titled The Girl’s Guide to Absolutely Everything while shopping at my local bookstore. It wasn’t recommended to me; I had never heard of the author, Melissa Kirsch, before; and I didn’t have many expectations for how good it would be; but, this book ended up being one of the best things I have ever read. It is filled with so many life lessons I found truly priceless.

I’ve come back to The Girls Guide to Absolutely Everything many times over the years. In fact, I loved it so much that I bought copies for two of my closest girlfriends for Christmas one year. I also recently purchased Kirsch’s second edition, The Girl’s Guide, and gave it a re-read this year.

This book is advertised as “a colossal cheat sheet for your post-college years…” and it truly is. It’s written for women in their twenties and thirties and outlines tips, tricks, lessons, and expert advice from doctors, therapists, and other professionals in the following categories:

  • Health and Body Image
  • Career and Work
  • Money and Finance
  • Etiquette
  • Friendships
  • Dating, Sex, and Romance
  • Family
  • Spirituality
  • Home Economics
  • Fashion

This book has served me in different ways during various seasons in life, and I have no doubt it can help you too! If you’ve ever wanted to refer to a single source for how to write an outstanding cover letter and tips for hosting a memorable gathering, Kirsch is your girl. Her guide to life covers everything under the sun and then some!

Here are fifteen of my favorite life lessons from The Girl’s Guide:

1. Life is short.

Spend your time doing things that actually make you like yourself. Wear clothes you like. Keep hobbies you enjoy. Ditch the BS.

2. When you’re in a bad mood, put on your favorite outfit.

It doesn’t matter if you’re menstruating, you woke up on the wrong side of the bed, or the weather sucks. Your favorite clothes will make you feel better.

3. Find the type of exercise you actually love.

There’s one simple secret to finding a successful exercise regimen: if you hate it, you’ll give up; if it makes you feel good, you’ll stick with it.

4. There are millions of reasons to go to therapy — none of which mean you’re crazy.

Maybe you’re dealing with a loss. Or a bad break-up. Or an eating disorder. Whatever your reason, talk to a professional and stop feeling guilty about it. You’re there to try to make your life better. No explanation necessary.

5. Don’t fret because you didn’t luck your way into your dream job.

There’s no one-way career path. Where you start will likely not be where you end up. In the meantime, every job has something to teach you, so take the job.

6. Manage your digital reputation.

Delete, hide, bury, or untag yourself from any digital debris surrounding your name. Make sure you’re representing your best self online in case future employers come across your info.

7. Think of budgeting like dieting.

The goal is to create a healthy diet, not to starve. You should feel good about the things you trim from your budget, not punished or pained.

8. Don’t pass out your business card like it’s Halloween candy.

It makes you seem inexperienced and overeager. Only distribute it to people you suspect will actually use it.

9. Never refuse or deflect a compliment.

Not only is it selfish, but it also invalidates someone’s opinion. Instead, do the following: accept the compliment; believe you are worthy of being complimented; respect the opinion of the person complimenting you; thank them (and mean it).

10. Friends are a little like shampoo.

Sometimes they stop being functional and you need to change brands for a while.

11. You can be your own person in your family.

When it comes to family, remember: just because you came from the loins of your parents doesn’t mean you need to tread in their footsteps.

12. Get to know lots of people.

You can never tell who your next bosom chum might be, or who’s going to drop genius advice.

13. Loving yourself first.

Or at least having a generally positive opinion of yourself— it is an important prerequisite to having a healthy relationship with someone else.

14. Learn to cook for yourself.

Cooking and eating food you prepare is one of the most fundamental ways you can literally nurture yourself.

15. Now and then, do a tech fast.

Spend an afternoon (or a full day) without screens so you can concentrate on the world around you. A tech fast is a radical act of self-preservation and self-love.

Hankering for more wisdom from Kirsch? Order a copy of The Girl’s Guide and go wild! I promise, you’ll find your own life lessons to employ and live by.

Disclaimer: this post was not sponsored. I voluntarily reviewed “The Girl’s Guide” to demonstrate my appreciation for this body of work and share Kirsch’s practical life hacks with the GenTwenty audience.

About the Author

Rachael Warren (Tulipano)

Rachael is a University of Southern Maine graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and a minor in Sociology. She remotely works full-time as a Senior Content Marketing Specialist for Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont. In her leisure time, Rachael enjoys traveling with her husband, finding the next Netflix series to binge, and taking too many photos of her dogs Jax and Kai. Rachael is obsessed with chapstick, favors the Oxford comma, and is a proud Mainer. You'll likely find her exploring New England + beyond.