Things 20-Somethings Lie About


Think about the last time someone asked, “How are you?” You probably didn’t even think twice about replying with “Good, how are you?”. This is standard protocol in most offices, public places and even casual phone calls. But how often are you actually “good” when you give your response? Probably not that much. This is an easy example of little lies we tell each day.

As 20-somethings, we are in the weird period of life between college and true adulthood. Sure, we are technically considered adults, but not the married-with-two-kids type of adults. We’re expected to have all our shit together, but in reality, this is the time in our life when our shit is just all over the place. Hopefully not literally, though. That’s a whole other problem.

With the pressure of finding a high-paying job in our field, getting engaged to the perfect person and looking our best 24/7, sometimes all we can do is lie. We lie to make ourselves look better to others or even to feel better about ourselves. Here are a few examples of things 20-somethings lie about.

Our jobs

No one gets their dream job right out of college. And unless your Daddy owns a company or you’re flirting with the boss, it can be extremely hard to finally get that first “yes”. Some of my peers feel the need to one-up everyone else in terms of their jobs. They embellish how awesome their job is to everyone they meet, yet they’re working 9-to-7:30 each day, don’t even make $30,000 and spend their day doing pointless tasks. Doesn’t sound like a dream job to you, does it? I’d rather hear someone have a refreshing and honest outlook on their job instead of faking enthusiasm to seem like they have the perfect job.

Our relationship status

Most single 20-somethings I encounter are too scared to admit they are lonely or can’t find love, so instead they play it up like they’re “living the dream”. In reality, they spend their weekends with their other single friends stuffing cupcakes in their mouth and watching “The Notebook”. Why are people, especially women, so scared to admit that it sucks being single if that’s how they feel? Now this doesn’t apply to single women who are single by choice, because that’s an entirely different story. I just feel like a lot of single people embellish how awesome and happy they are, when deep down they feel sad and lonely.

On the other hand, it seems like those in a relationship are in this contest of who can get engaged/pregnant/married first. Listen- you should be getting engaged when you feel the time is right. After you know the person well enough, after you’ve saved up for a ring, etc. Not to “beat” a competitive friend or to prove an ex that you’ve moved on. Come on.

Our happiness

Life after college and the years following it are very confusing. Adjusting to a new way of life, a new location, a new job… it’s all tough. I’m the first to admit that the transition wasn’t particularly easy for me, especially with anxiety already present. So many people are scared to admit that they aren’t truly happy or are battling with some sort of depression, anxiety or just general sadness. I wish more people had the guts to admit how they truly feel instead of faking happiness. You don’t have to be the perfect person who is always happy and loves everyone and everything, trust me. People will like your honest self better.

What is something that you think 20-somethings lie about?


  1. Lol this post made me laugh. For the job part I got lucky after College because one of my teaches referred me. The relationships…pfff it sucks to be single sometimes and when I was in a relationship I wasn’t all that happy either so this one I have not figured out yet. My happiness I’m trying not to have it depend on these things but rather just feeling good about myself overall. Being a 20 something is hard, but if you stop effin around I feel like it can get a little better by the end. Because let me tell you 3-4 years ago I was really all over the place, but I am more at peace now maybe it’s the 30 creeping in yikes.

    1. haha! I can definitely agree. I think I’m a lot more mature, smart, etc. now than I was when I was in my very early 20’s (21, 22)

  2. Right after graduation I think the most common lie would probably be job-related. I’m pretty sure all my friends (and me included) tried to make those first jobs sound a bit more fun and glamorous than they were. At this point I’m okay with admitting if I’m straight bored out of my mind! 😉

  3. I think we lie about our beliefs as well. It’s so easy to enter a new job and jump on board with the ethics of the company, but not always be in agreement of it. Or if you’re religious, its sometimes a little scary to admit you’re not sure if God is present in your life.

  4. this is all so true…i am a very honest person, especially with people i know well, so all of my friends know my true feelings on these subjects! ha! and i can definitely say that i HATE being single right now, going through a breakup has sucked but i am taking this time to work on me and focus on doing things i love 🙂

    1. Exactly! The less you focus on relationships (especially after a breakup), the better it is and the sooner you’ll run into that new person 🙂

  5. I want to say thanks for this. I recently have been diagnosed with depression and anxiety. I am in my late 20s, married, have a great job that I love and my husband HAD a great job. I think being newly married (we are just past a year and half mark) and losing his job… added too much stress. I felt that I had no one to talk to- church, work, friends, anyone. I began to feel desperate and that’s a scary, scary feeling. I feel like people SHOULD be more open about how they feel. We need to be able to talk to people.

  6. So I’m very guilty of telling my boss that my day is going “ok”…bc quite frankly I don’t feel like explaining that its not ok bc I got an IV thrown at me by a schizophrenic, I’ve been pages for pain meds enough times to kill a horse, and I’ve been cleaning up shit all day! Haha. So i would rather smile and say “it’s going good” lol. Totally agree with ppl trying to one up on marriage and engagements! Enough already!

    1. Oh yeah I lie about “being good” all the time, too! That’s a normal white lie, the rest is just annoying (jobs, engagements, etc.)

  7. I’ll be 30 soon and I totally admit that I’m still not working in my “dream job” but then again I don’t really know many people that are!

  8. YES to all of the above. I had this conversation with my older sister this weekend actually and how I am kind of sick of people bragging about their jobs or how “happy” they are. Isn’t it okay to talk about some of the negatives? Why do we only have to make it seem like life is so amazing all the time. I blame social media for reals. My sister said she doesn’t have this problem, but she also is on FB like twice a month maybe. Perhaps I need to minimize my personal social media use and focus more on what does make me happy in my life. I’m not afraid to say I’m not in my dream job, working towards happiness and enjoying what little things make me happy and I don’t need a ring on my finger (yet) to be somebody! I swear my whole FB list is pregnant, engaged or buying a house. Sorry, but no thanks to all of the above 😉 Well maybe the second one wouldn’t be so bad 😉

    1. People give me a lot of crap for saying something that has an ounce of negativity in it. It’s not negative, it’s just being honest and real. I’m not one for sugar coating really, and I never will be. Some people can’t handle that and prefer to pretend they have an awesome life. I just let them keep bragging and roll my eyes 😛

  9. This is all so true and well said. I’m the first one to tell people about how I don’t like my job so I’m the opposite end of the spectrum haha 🙂

  10. Great post Rachel!! And if you look at everyone’s Facebook you would think that everyone has the perfect life. We all post pictures of happy times but it’s important to remember that that isn’t all the time. Everyone is struggling wih something in their life. So so true.

  11. Ah, this is so true. Whenever I get together with family or friends I haven’t seen in a while they always ask how I’m liking my job, and my first reaction is to always say ‘Oh I love it!’ whether I’m actually feeling that way or not.

  12. You hit this right on point for me! I definitely lie about all these things! Obviously not to intentionally lie but I just want everyone to think that things are great in my life. Love that you addressed this! =)

  13. Love all of these, especially the relationship status one. One of my best friends is always trying to force the idea of the “empowered, happy single girl” but you can tell she just doesn’t buy it. It’s fine to want to be in a relationship, and it’s fine to enjoy being single. But own it!!! People will respect you more when you do.

    1. YESSS! I have so many single friends and was a single myself before (obviously), and I think people need to just get over it and own up to it! You don’t need to convince us you love being single if you don’t (or vice versa!)

  14. Totally agree with this post! I think the whole ‘dream job’ concept is tricky. Of course everyone wants to be working their dream job, but the truth is, most people aren’t. But you can still be perfectly happy with your life!

  15. Girl, I am in my 30s and still do the whole white lies thing….it’s part of our human make up and to be guarded with what goes on in our lives when talking with people that aren’t in our inner circles. 🙂

  16. I think some of this is white lies, and some of it is wishful thinking. My last job was definitely dreamy..some parts of it were too good to be true, but other parts were downright terrible. When anyone asked if I loved my job, I honestly replied yes, and I was very happy there. No one wants to be perceived as a Debby Downer, so I think it’s easier for a lot of twentysomethings to focus on the positive parts, rather than focus on the negatives. The relationship bits are a whole separate issue – some girls are happy being single, some are not. No one should feel like they have to lie about where they stand, but we do live in a culture that fosters this kind of behavior. Ugh.

    1. good point with the Debby Downer thing. Sometimes I’ll white lie and say “I’m good” even if I’m not just to avoid that, but for the most part I try to be honest in terms of relationships, jobs, etc.

  17. My 30 something’s self would like to tell my 20 something’s self to chill out and enjoy this young and fun time in my life. Rees plenty of time to be a grown up.

  18. On the flip side, there’s the other half of our peers who spend their time whining about their life all the time. They’ll try to one up each other. Who worked the most hours last week? Who had the hardest upbringing? Who has gained more weight since college/ high school? Who can get people to feel the most sorry for them? (Sort of like that scene in Mean Girls where the plastics are all looking in the mirror criticizing themselves.) Ugh. It’s a little ridiculous.

    Honestly, I don’t think there is anything wrong with a little positivity. Fake it till you make it. It’s like the studies that show that if you smile more, you’re likely to feel happier, even if you didn’t feel like smiling in the first place. (Something like that.)

    I mean, you’re right, we shouldn’t feel like we need to exaggerate our happiness to feel good about our lives. Because no one’s life is perfect and we all have issues and acting like you have none will just make everyone feel like crap. But at the same time, there’s nothing wrong with a little positivity either. Don’t you think?

    1. Yes that’s true! You are so right, Sarah. There’s the people who always say “Someone has it worse than you”… well no shit! haha I’m all for “fake it ’till you make it”, I just think people in general should be more secure and happy with themselves (the good and the bad) and then they don’t need to pretend to be someone they’re not.

  19. I’m no longer in my 20s, but when I was, I used to lie about my job and income. I worked several low paying hotel front desk, and office reception jobs that I was ashamed of. It seemed all my friends had career jobs shortly after University, but I just couldn’t get it together for a long time. I wish I could go back and tell my 20 something self to relax and that in due time, everything will be ok.

  20. happiness is a big one! fact is being 20-something sometimes sucks …sometimes 😉

  21. Oh gosh, I remember how painfully insecure I was in my 20’s – always thinking I had to prove something to someone. The 30’s have been so much better. I feel totally free to be my flawed, authentic self.

  22. These are all so true Rachel! The “good, how are you one” is always one that gets me because no one is willing to admit they’re having a bad day so they’d much rather lie about it! The job situation is one that almost everyone can relate, I certainly didn’t find a great job when I finished my undergrad, in fact it was downright awful. I was so miserable, my boss was awful and I hated what I was doing. I’m so thankful to have recently left that position and I’m finally happy where I am at my new job! I love your honesty with this post, it’s so refreshing!

    1. I definitely do the “good, how are you” one, which I think is a fine white lie. But lying about everything else just to seem happy just seems pathetic to me! Thanks for your compliment! 🙂

  23. I think I must be really honest haha.
    I am terrified to be in a job transition right now and not afraid to admit it! 😉

    My favorite answer to the dreaded question “Are you dating anyone?” is “I’m dating EVERYONE.”
    And, I like to cry a lot. Honestly, it’s not usually about my own life (cause I do think I am pretty happy in general hahaha) but I have a lot of feelings bahhaa.

  24. So true I think… I always say “good” in reply to how are you regardless of how my day if going because I feel like no one really wants to hear about a bad day!

  25. I always say good whenever someone asks how i am. It’s definitely an automatic response! i used to lie about my happiness, but it’s better to just be honest with people so they can support you.

  26. So well written, and so true! My mid-twenties were a mess. I was so scared about my future that I didn’t enjoy the present. I would always lie and say everything was “good” when in reality I was terrified about how my life would turn out. It all changed once I finally got that first big, and by big I don’t mean high-paying, job. Once I felt I had a direction with my career, everything else seemed to fall into place, including my confidence. But I can’t tell you how many friends I had that definitely told these lies, and I actually have a few friends now in our 30’s that still do the same thing.

  27. I can definitely see how a lot of people get caught up in trying to “feel” okay with their lives and so they project an image of their lives that isn’t entirely genuine or real. I used to envy people who felt so “complete” but I’ve realized more & more that none of us have found exactly what we want yet. I know some of my friends feel a lot of pressure to get the perfect job right out of college and that’s too bad cause they are focusing so much on that that they cannot just enjoy just being in their 20’s.

    I definitely do not have my perfect job yet.. but I am looking! 🙂

  28. This post really hits home for me. I’ve just recently been able to verbalize the fact that I don’t love my job, and that’s okay. I have the rest of my life to figure everything out! I do think that while I’m in this “awkward stage” better known as my twenties, I really need to focus on what makes me happy, and fully pursue those things. It doesn’t make a difference to dwell on where I thought I would be at this point in my life, but I can make the most of my situation regardless.

  29. Although I did marry in my early 20’s, I still have to say I agree with everything you mentioned. Sometimes there are exceptions and everyone’s different. But for the most part, everyone’s experiences about life post college are somewhat similar. Different things may happen, but generally we all typically react the same, even if it means were in denial.

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