101 Life Skills Every Adult Needs to Know


I recently went on a vacation with millenials (save yourselves!). Now, I’m under 35 but these were the fabled millenials they talk about in the media – the ones that are entitled and have no useful skills. They were all in medical school but they had never traveled anywhere by themselves. That didn’t seem like it would make them all that different from me but they didn’t know how to do basic things that I learned when I was a kid.  They didn’t know how to navigate to our AirBnB by themselves, they couldn’t figure out public transportation and didn’t seem to have a basic grasp of staying safe in a big city.

It got me to thinking, what kinds of skills would I expect someone in their 20s or 30s – someone we would consider an adult – have? I started coming up with a list and it’s quite extensive. I can do most of these to some degree but I’m excited to become more proficient in each of them. What other skills would you add to this list? Which would you take off? Which skills do you already know or want to learn more about?


Career Network
Career Find and apply for a job
Career Give a great interview
Career Write a thank you note
Career Negotiate
Career Give a presentation
Career Write and edit effectively
Career Do great at your job
Career Ask for a raise
Career Troubleshoot your job
Career Read and manage people
Communication Fight fair
Communication Empathize
Communication Teach something
Communication Apologize
Communication Be a great conversationalist
Communication Give a compliment
Communication Give constructive feedback
Communication Persuade someone
Communication Talk about politics
Community Be eco-friendly
Community Be politically active
Community Host a party
Community When to lead a revolt
Community Be a part of and develop your community
Creative Read or play or create music
Creative Appreciate art
Creative Dance (well enough to get joy out of it)
Creative Take a decent picture
Food Cook (even when you’re tired)
Food Cook on a budget
Food Shop for food
Food Eat a diet that works for you
Health Talk to a doctor
Health Get your vitamins
Health Basic first aid.
Health Care for your mental health
Health Exercise
Health Stretch
Health Have safe and great sex
Health Basic preventative care
Health Manage stress
Home/car Clean your house
Home/car Fix your own stuff correctly and economically
Home/car Take care of a plant
Home/car How to buy a car
Home/car How to buy a house (even if you never will)
Home/car Maintain your car
Home/car What to do if you get pulled over
Home/car What to do if you’re in an accident
Home/car Take care of your clothes (fix a button, adjust your hems, avoid dryers)
Home/car Build a wardrobe
Home/car Decorate your house on a budget
Interpersonal Meet people
Interpersonal How to be a friend
Interpersonal How to judge other people
Interpersonal How to choose a partner for marriage
Interpersonal How to stay married
Interpersonal Babysit
Interpersonal How to pick, wrap and give gifts
Interpersonal How to ask someone out on a date
Interpersonal How to break up with someone/handle a breakup
Interpersonal Let go of a grudge
Knowledge How to think critically about the media
Knowledge Basic history
Knowledge Basic geography
Knowledge Your family’s history
Legal/safety End of life care
Legal/safety What to do if you’re talking to the police
Legal/safety What to do if you’re the victim of a crime
Legal/safety Self-defense.
Math/money File your taxes
Math/money Understand your health care policy
Math/money Get proper insurance
Math/money Live below your means
Math/money Understand debt/credit and pay back your debt
Math/money Invest and save for retirement.
Math/money Vet and support a charity.
Math/money Do basic math (calculate a tip, unit price)
Self improvement Handle failure
Self improvement Develop character
Self improvement Take notes
Self improvement Endure difficulty or pain
Self improvement Travel
Self improvement Pursue goals.
Self improvement Accept feedback
Self improvement Put someone else before yourself
Self improvement Be ok being alone
Self improvement Deal with burnout
Self improvement Deal with grief
Self improvement Manage your time
Self improvement Find meaning in your life
Self improvement Accept aging
Self improvement Set boundaries
Self improvement Forgive your parents
Self improvement Know who you are
Self improvement Create a life you love
Tech/luddite Protect your privacy
Tech/luddite Troubleshoot common electronic problems
Tech/luddite Navigate to your home without GPS
Tech/luddite Use social media

One thought on “101 Life Skills Every Adult Needs to Know

  1. Love this list! One thing I see lacking profusely in today’s millennials mostly..is common sense and being proactive. It is rampant in almost every encounter I have. Whether at a store, restaurant etc. I hate to generalize but not sure what has happened. I am trying to raise my kids to be thinkers when it comes to everything. Fingers crossed!

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