10 Things We Told You to Stop Doing in 2021

10 Things We Told You to Stop Doing in 2021
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The end of the year is upon us. ‘Tis a time to blow all our unused FSA benefits on Band-Aids, reduce clutter, resolve to eat less junk and exercise more, and above all — stop doing things that no longer serve us (or our armpits, for that matter). In the spirit of cleaning up your linguistic game, applying deodorant correctly, and being less annoying, generally, we’ve rounded up our best “stop doing this shit” advice of the year. Read ‘em and don’t weep for your future — for if you follow these tips, it’ll be a more confident, eloquent, and well-heeled one.

Don’t hang a picture like a chump

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Do you have walls? Do you like to adorn them with photos and paintings? Well your days of hanging them like a chump are over. Think you need a measuring tape and arithmetic to hang a picture with two round keyholes? Nope. With this hack, all you need is painter’s tape and a Sharpie. (Well, and a hammer and nails. We’re not wizards.)

Instead of measuring from the middle of one keyhole to another, stretch a strip of painter’s tape across both keyholes. Use the Sharpie to mark the centre of each keyhole’s position on the painter’s tape. Then peel off the tape, place it on the wall (you may want to check that it’s straight with a level) and hammer in nails over the black Sharpie marks. Voila, perfectly placed nails minus the measuring.

Don’t overuse adjectives (or adverbs) in your writing

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In a letter to one of his students, Mark Twain once advised: “When you catch an adjective, kill it.” While it’s tempting to gussy up otherwise bland sentences with descriptive words like ominous, cheerful, and courageous, when we overuse them, they have the opposite effect of weakening our meaning. Instead, choose more descriptive adjectives (uncouth instead of rude) or a more illustrative noun (jalopy instead of old car).

The same goes for adverbs (think: really, very, actually, quite, literally). They don’t add much, if anything. You may not be able to change your whole life in 2022, but you can certainly resolve to replacing weak verb-adverb pairs with more descriptive, standalone verbs, can’t you? For example, instead of, Uncle Roger drank quickly try Uncle Roger over-served himself.

Don’t use dryer sheets

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Did you know dryer sheets were garbage for your dryer and your clothes? Well, they are. Not only have they been shown to induce headaches and worsen asthma and skin irritations, their sticky coating also clogs up lint filters and makes towels less absorbent. Sure, they have other uses. But when it comes to “softening” clothes in any real way, it’s a racket. Use wool dryer balls, aluminium, or these other alternatives instead. And save that sweet, sweet dryer sheet money for a brand new foot file. Which, since you brought it up…

Avoid those those gnarly winter heels

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Colder weather means the gross, cracked heels — they cometh. But instead of suffering through winter with deep skin fissures in which one could plant barley, get into a routine of warm (not hot) showers, frequent exfoliation, applying a heavier “winter” moisturiser containing mineral oil, coconut oil, shea butter or glycerin, and filing your heels in one direction only. Not only will your heels not snag on your sheets or scare the children, they’ll be less likely to bleed and develop an infection.

Don’t say “for all intensive purposes”

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I mean, you can. But you’d be wrong. The correct phrase is “for all intents and purposes,” which means “essentially” or “in effect.” Think of it this way: intensive means “highly concentrated.” Saying “for all highly concentrated purposes” would be weird. Intents are the same as intentions. For all intentions and purposes? Makes sense.

P.S. Also lose the phrases: I could care less, irregardless, hunger pains, nip it in the butt, and could of, none of which are correct.

Don’t tell a pregnant woman she’s “so big”

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Oh, the list of inappropriate things people regularly say to pregnant women, it is long. See also: “You’re so tiny” (she might worry the baby’s underweight); “You look tired” (wonder if that’s because of the indigestion, anxiety, violent snoring, or midnight baby punches); “Was it planned?” (none of your beeswax); “Will you be delivering naturally?” (what do people mean by that? Vaginally? Without medication? Either way, pipe down. It’s private); or “Is that decaf?” (rude).

Let 2022 be the year we collectively agree to say none of these invasive, judgmental things to those with child. They’re creating human life! Leave them alone. (Unless you have cooking, cleaning, compliments, or babysitting to offer.)

Don’t store knives on your kitchen counter

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I mean you can, if you really want to. (What are we, the knife police?) But, for the reasons of bacteria, dulling, and sheer kitchen real estate, it’s not the best thing for your counter or your blades. Instead try magnetic wall-mounted strips, or these other ideas. Also banished from the counter in 2022? Piles of paper, olive oil, spices, and flour. Marie Kondo would be proud.

Don’t put deodorant on in the morning

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No, we don’t mean forego deodorant altogether. But there is good reason to put antiperspirant deodorant on at night, before we go to sleep: Lower body temperature and lack of moisture help your boy more readily and deeply absorb the active ingredients, making it more effective at plugging up your sweat pores for duty the next day.

Stop saying “sorry” all the time

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While there are many legit reasons to say “sorry” (if you’ve done something wrong, for example) the habit of employing it every time we feel the least bit bothersome is not one. Saying “sorry” has become common usage in situations that require no apology. How may times have you said (or heard): “Sorry if this has been said before,” “Sorry for venting,” or “Sorry, can you tell me how much this is?” (to a store employee whose job it is to share these things). Repeatedly say we’re sorry it makes us sound small and timid. Instead use: “Why don’t we try…” or “I’d like to add,” or a simple “Thank you” in its place.

P.S. If you want to sound more confident, drop “just,” “I was wondering,” and all those “uhs” and “ums,” too.

Banish “no offence” from your vocabulary

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Ah, no offence. That crafty little conversational precursor to a statement that will almost surely cause offence. Ditch it. It’s cliché, disingenuous, and will not get us out of jail free, much as we’d like it to. (When offering feedback, replace it with, “I noticed that…” or “I’m not sure if you’re aware.”) Ditto for “Don’t take this personally,” “With all due respect,” and these other niggling phrases to lose from your vocabulary — unless you want to sound passive aggressive, that is.

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