You hear these so-called pearls of wisdom all the time…but maybe it’s time you start completely ignoring this outdated advice!
These days, everyone from your best girlfriend to your hairdresser considers herself an expert on something — freely giving you her two cents on how you should handle your love life, career, living style…you name it. They mean well, of course, but the problem is, a lot of that advice is actually not that wise. Sometimes the rules change (in other words, what worked for your mom’s generation doesn’t cut it for modern women), and other times, the advice was totally off to begin with.
Take these 12 bits of info, for example. We asked experts to tell us why following them will steer you wrong, plus the right spin on each one to help make your life simpler and easier.
1. Never quit a job until you have another.
As long as you can deal with the financial fallout, resigning without a backup plan is no career killer. “If a position doesn’t feel right for you and you’ve tried to work things out with no improvement, you’re better off following your instincts and quitting,” explains Margot Carmichael Lester, contributing writer for the career Website Monster.com and author of Real Life Guide to Starting Your Career. “Getting yourself out of a dead-end situation will salvage your mental health and kick-start your drive so you can zero in on the kind of job you do want.”
2. It’s always better to break up with a guy in person.
True, if you’re seriously coupled with a man, you owe him the courtesy of a face-to-face explanation. But when you’re parting ways with a guy you’ve been seeing casually, a phone or an e-mail breakup will do. “As long as you aren’t emotionally involved, you can end things with a quick ‘I’m going to be really busy these next few months, and I just won’t have any time to devote to dating,'” explains Darlene Mininni, PhD, author of The Emotional Toolkit. Dumping from a distance helps you articulate your good-bye and clarify that over means over.
It may seem cold, but you’re actually making the split easier for him to deal with. “You’re sparing him the awkwardness of being rejected in person, which is really hard to take, even if you’re not that close to the person who is rejecting you,” says Mininni.
3. Don’t paint a small room a dark color.
If you want to make a tiny space appear larger, this design decree specifies that light hues work way better than darker ones. But it’s simply not true. “A dark shade actually makes the walls of a room recede into the background, so the space appears more open and vast — similar to the vastness of the nighttime sky,” explains interior designer Candice Olson, host of HGTV’s Divine Design.
What does reduce the size of a room is lots of contrast between the color of the walls and that of the trim and furniture. “The trim acts like a border, so if the tone is too far off from the tone of the main room and the objects in it, a space will seem cramped,” says Olson. Choosing a trim tone and furnishings that closely duplicate the main color scheme creates an illusion of depth.
4. Drink eight glasses of water a day.
The funny thing about this H 2 O rule? A recent study determined that it’s more urban myth than science-backed health fact. “No one knows where it originated, but it isn’t true — the average person does not need to consume this or any set amount of water,” explains Steven G. Aldana, PhD, professor of health and human performance at Brigham Young University in Utah. In fact, most of us suck down more than enough liquid via supersize coffee concoctions and sodas as well as food sources like fruits and grains. “Eight glasses of water on top of this is overkill,” says Aldana.
The best agua advice is to grab a drink whenever you feel thirsty. “Thirst is a sign that your body needs fluid, not that you’re already dehydrated,” he adds.
5. Eating after 8 p.m. will make you gain weight.
Calories are calories no matter what time you consume them — or whether they come from protein, fats, or carbs. “Only when you exceed your daily calorie allotment [an active 20-something chick needs about 1,800 daily] will your scale creep upward,” says nutritionist Christine Gerbstadt, MD, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.
6. Always Google a guy before a first date.
We’ve all done it: After scoring a dinner invite from a new dude, you type his name into a search engine and scrutinize every link that’s spit back at you. While it’s normal to crave background data on a potential beau, your curiosity could KO any chance of a love connection.
“A lot of women justify cyber-snooping as a safety measure: You want to know ahead of time if his name pops up on a serial-killer Website,” explains Los Angeles psychologist Yvonne Thomas, PhD. “But what usually happens is, you end up forming an opinion of a man based on the kind of outdated or incorrect information that’s all over the Internet. Plus, you rob him of the chance to share his history with you at his own pace, which puts any flaw or embarrassing story in context.”
7. Wait for him to say “I love you” first.
These days, women are asking guys out and calling the shots between the sheets. But the typical chick will wait… and wait…and wait for her man to drop the L bomb before she does, assuming that if he really felt it, he’d utter it first. “Truth is, often young guys are tentative when it comes to saying ‘I love you’; they’re either afraid of being rejected or aren’t comfortable voicing their emotions,” says Thomas.
If you want to express your love for a steady guy who has so far been mum on his feelings, consider saying it first. Putting it out there may be the cue your guy needs to tell you the same.
8. You’re safe as long as you have your cell.
Don’t count on it. “There are tons of dead zones — even in big cities — where there is no reception at all,” says personal security expert Robert Siciliano. If you do manage to call the cops, it’ll still take 10 to 30 minutes for police to find you because you’re not at a specific address. Never use your cell as a replacement for safety smarts, like not going out late on your own or hitting the road at night solo.