A girl's guide to surviving tricky situations
Let's face it, being a woman is tough. Here's advice on how to tackle the tricky situations every girl faces.
I once met a girl who said "I hate my ears. They're ugly".
Even though the existence of 'ugly ears' surprised me, this only proves that every girl suffers from body issues, including Kiera Knightley who feels too skinny, Sarah Jessica Parker who hates her nose and the blonde bombshell Scarlett Johansson who complained her lips being 'too fat'.
It's evident that access to the best designers, make up brands and even plastic surgeons doesn't protect you from body issues.
So what's the solution?
Well, if A-list celebrities are complaning about their looks, it's about time us women understand we're all sailing in the same boat.
It's time to differentiate between real and exaggerated beauty and consciously block out negative thoughts. It really is that simple.
Another effective way to deal with body issues is to gain confidence in different aspects of your life.
Show off your wit, your voice or your dance routines -- whatever makes you walk into a room with confidence makes you more beautiful.
"I think when your self-esteem is based on how you look, you're always going to be insecure," said actor Portia de Rossi.
"There's always a fresher face, a thinner girl[...] As women, it's really important to be focused on things other than what is on the plate in front of you and get on with your life and develop your mind and career and not be so obsessed with how you look and what you weigh."
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Image: Scarlett Johansson finds her lips
Photographs: Mario Anzuoni / Reuters
2. When your parents play party-poopers
This is when most women learn the art of negotiation, something that will only be used more frequently in the years to follow.
Here is some advice on getting started: First, pick the right parent.
Is mom more lenient with deadlines? Or is dad easier to convince?
Pick the more sympathetic party to hear your case. Second, the best way to be treated like an adult, is to behave like one.
Instead of whining or sulking, let your parents know you'll keep away from rash behaviour -- sex, drugs and alcohol (that's all they're really worried about).
Decisions will be in your favour once you prove that you can handle late nights responsibly.
"When I want to stretch my curfew, I re-assure my parents that I will be dropped home by someone who they know and is trustworthy. Recently, I did well in my exams and told me parents I deserved a treat and got an extension on my curfew," feels BMS student Devaki Patil.
Image: Kareena Kapoor is friendlier with her mother Babita
Photographs: Phil Noble/ Reuters
3. When you are on Red Alert
Three letters that can make any man tremble in fear: PMS.
While scientists continue to debate the existence of any Premenstrual Disorder Syndrome, us women refuse to believe PMS is 'not real' and use it as an excuse to emotionally blackmail the opposite sex and get away with unreasonable, violent behaviour.
Stick to fresh fruits, veggies and drink lots of fluids (water and fresh juices).
Thyme tea and regular exercise throughout the month are effective in relieving cramps.
It is also advised to check with your doctor if you need calcium or vitamin supplements
Keep away from refined sugar, caffeine, colas, alcohol and excess salts.
"Women complain about premenstrual syndrome, but I think of it as the only time of the month that I can be myself." quoted actor and comedian Roseanne Barr.
Image: Kate Moss
Photographs: Agent Provocateur ad campaign
4. When someone breaks your heart
It will hurt.
You will talk to your girlfriends till their ears begin to ache, empty boxes of tissue paper in a day and spend hours on his Facebook profile. But before you turn into a walking cloud of gloom, try this:
Step 1: Let it all out -- believe it or not, crying helps you relieve emotional stress, so don't hold back the waterworks.
Step 2: When you feel upset, the dopamine levels in your body reduce, resulting in a feeling of depression. What's the best way to increase dopamine levels?
Exercise, exercise, exercise! A quick run or a fun zumba session can help ease the pain.
Step 3: You can only heal once you create enough distance between yourself and the guy in question. This means a complete 'ex-detox' -- no calls, no messages, no emails and no Facebook/Twitter posts!
Step 4: Prepare for the bad days. No matter how well you're doing, there will be days when you feel lonely (V-day, birthdays, etc). Find distractions for those days in advance and be around friends instead of being alone.
Step 5: Make a new routine. The most difficult part will be coping with the absence of that person in your life. Create things to look forward to -- colour your hair purple or go on a short holiday. Or create a Grammywinning album like Adele.
Step 7: Luckily, nothing lasts forever, not even heartache.
"It took a break up to get me going. When I'm happy, I don't have much to write about. The songs on 19 were about my first, teenage love. He cheated on me, so it was a traumatic record. I felt bitter, and that inspired me."- Adele, singer
Photographs: Mario Anzuoni/Reuters
5. When you have nothing to wear
We all know that a wardrobe overflowing with clothes, bags and shoes will still have you running around frantically screaming "I have nothing to wear!"
One reason is that our shopping bags, and hence our wardrobes, often lack variety.
The trick is to keep three ensembles ready and tucked aside (do not touch them otherwise): One for a party, another for an interview and a third for a date.
"When in doubt wear black! Get the accessories right. Mixing and matching any outfit with the right jewellery and perfect shoes is the key to achieve a stylish look.
Wardrobe must-haves: A great pair of blue jeans, crisp white shirt, well fitted black dress and a gorgeous saree!
Lastly, confidence! The most important attire a girl needs to carry to look her best!" says fashion designer Ritu Beri.
Photographs: Rajesh Karkera/Rediff.com
6. When you have to keep a secret
It takes about 32 minutes for a woman to reveal a friend's secret, that's what the results of a survey conducted by skincare brand Simple Revealed.
We advise that you keep away from the complicated web of gossip by never hinting that you have a secret to share.
Once you let that information slip, you will need to use all possible self-control tactics to escape from the interrogation that follows.
"I normally am an ocean of other people's secrets and do not usually betray that trust, but if it's a silly harmless secret and I'm afflicted by a desperate urge to gossip, I would try to distract myself by shopping or eating something so that the moment passes.
And if I absolutely can't hold back I would tell it (without names) to an absolute stranger!
Someone I know I will probably never meet again ever -- like an auto rickshaw driver or a random person on a train or a sales girl in a mall.
That way it's out of my system and will not do any harm!" says actor Swara Bhaskar.
Image: Candice Swanepoel
Photographs: Victoria's Secret Catalogue
7. When you feel lonely
Even with 500 Facebook friends, there might be times when you have no plans on a Saturday night or when you're the only single girl in your group of friends.
When loneliness attacks, one antidote is to reach out to friends you have lost touch with or form new connections on social networking sites.
It might also be wise to try and embrace moments of solitude and stillness.
After all, to be at peace with yourself is one of the most enviable qualities one can possess.
"For centuries people have been invested in developing technologies -- from telephone to Facebook -- to keep us connected and yet we find ourselves feeling lonely at times. This is because loneliness is existential.
The most seemingly connected people also feel lonely. We suffer more because we try hard to do away with loneliness and completely erase it from our lives. This effort frustrates us.
Trying to tolerate and accept loneliness as one small part of our lives can be much healthier" counsels Sadia Saeed Raval, founder and chief psychologist, Inner Space Counseling.
Image: Sridevi's character in English Vinglish travels to New York for the first time
8. When you hate your BFF
Like with any relationship, friendships also have moments of ugliness. In such situations, there are only two questions to ask yourself:
1. What's the real issue? Are you upset that your BFF hasn't been giving you time because she has a new boyfriend?
Are you angry about something she said? Once you spot what's really bothering you, discuss it with her.
2. When you look back at this fight in the future, will it seem silly and frivolous? If the answer is yes, forgive, forget and move on!
"I have this great test to see if a girl's a real friend. When we're shopping I'll pick out an outfit that I know looks hot and one that is awful. If my friend says the bad one looks good, I know she's not a good friend."-- Paris Hilton, heiress and socialite.
Image: A still from Cocktail where Deepika's character hates her best friend for stealing her boyfriend
9. When you want to flirt
There he is. The smart, handsome, funny guy you thought didn't exist. But, now what?
Do you wait for him to make the first move? Will it seem 'too forward' if you approach him?
Perhaps it's time to stop waiting -- first you wait for the right guy to turn up, then you wait for him to show interest and then you wait for him to ask you out.
If you find someone you fancy, let him know.
Luckily, us women don't need to go down on a knee: A lingering smile or a light touch of his arm will let him know you're interested.
If you think he's too shy, let him know how you feel, maybe suggest going out to grab a coffee. If you feel it, express it!
"When a woman wants to make a move, the best way is to be natural, don't place an expectation on an outcome, develop the attitude of an explorer and just start a conversation.
I find [that] just breaking the ice is the hardest part and takes the most courage. But nearly anyone would be open to a conversation, right?
Then, after talking about and using your instincts, you can gently guide a conversation towards the fact that you may be interested.
Remember that all roads lead to something....and something is better than nothing. Better to have tried than to let it slip away!," shares musician turned actress Monica Dogra.
Image: Monica Dogra suggests to go the natural way
Photographs: Cover of Maxim India, March 2013
10. When you need a mantra
Disappointment, sadness, agony, envy, anger, frustration -- these are common and rather destructive visitors of the human mind.
When dealing with such emotions, it is important to have something to turn to -- a personal mantra.
It could be an activity, a poem, a prayer, a movie, a place of worship or even a song. It helps to have a happiness mantra ready for the gloomy days.
"I believe that everything starts from the mind and the two most important factors that make or break one's constitution (emotional/physical/mental/spiritual) are your stomach and your mind.
To nuture these, it is vital to have a well balanced diet, exercise, work, socialise, do something creative -- it could be anything.
Whenever I feel low (mind/body), I exercise for an extra 1/2 hour, retail therapy (making sure I dont cross my budget), I write and at times start sketching anything that comes naturally.
I try and distance myself from my negative thoughts by listening to music that inspires me.
Do some cooking, gardening or anything that works for you," suggests actor Tulip Joshi.
Image: Tulip Joshi says exercise is a great way to de-stress
11. When you are confused
The journey from "I can't wait for the day when I can finally take my own decisons" to "I wish someone could decide for me" is deceptively quick.
The common belief is that girls can never make up their minds -- about what to wear, who to date, what career to choose or which movie to watch.
If this sounds like you, here's a little tip: People often shy away from making decisions for fear of losing out on options.
Therefore, as a rule, never regret and ponder over choices once they are made. Learn from your decisions, but never dwell on them.
"Analyse the pros and cons of every choice, make an Excel sheet if required! That way there's no guilt of being impulsive and no guilt of not going with your instinct either," advises marketing professional Riddhi Kapoor.
Image: A still from Inkaar where Chitrangada's character is confused about the turn of events in her life
12. When you meet sexist men
Today it's Asaram Bapu, tomorrow it might be a co-worker, an uncle or even your boyfriend.
Men will surprise you and at times offend you with their sexist opinions.
Even the celebrated actor Sean Connery was criticised for his chauvantistic views when he told Playboy magazine, "I don't think there is anything particularly wrong about hitting a woman -- although I don't recommend doing it in the same way that you'd hit a man.
An open handed slap is justified -- if all other alternatives fail and there has been plenty of warning. If a woman is a bitch, or hysterical, or bloody-minded continually, then I'd do it."
People's opinions can be unbearably rigid and will require immense patience and reasoning abilities to battle against.
Kalki Koechlin has advice: "It's difficult to fight sexism with physical strength or verbal aggression because so many sexist men have frail egos and steroid induced muscles. Instead, try being funnier and cleverer than them.
Turn the tables: If a guy is bugging you with the whole 'Can I buy you a drink?' respond with fun but firm answers like
'No, but if I buy you one will you leave me alone?' or 'The opposite of yes is?'
Be repulsive: If a man is whistling, teasing and annoying you, respond with a loud burp or by digging your nose.
Golden rule: Never get flustered. Men get excited by an angry woman so stay cool, calm and clever.
Joke: How many sexists does it take to change a lightbulb? None. They don't want to be enlightened.
The infamous silent treatment: If you know the guy has no sense, don't waste your time reasoning with him. Starve him of attention, ignore him."
Image: Kalki Koechlin says when everything fails, learn to ignore
Photographs: Rajesh Karkera
13. When the 'mean girls' arrive
Girls can be really nasty.
All of us have been involved in a 'mean girls' moment, sometimes as the villian, mocking a girl for her hideous attire, and at other times being the victim of sniggers and hurtful insults.
In either role, these are moments of immense learning in a girl's life. In time, memories of when we have ganged up against someone teach us to recognise and mend unflattering aspects of our own personalities.
The second, being subject to similar teasing, helps in building a strong immunity against meaningless slander. And these are lessons from our growing years that need to be remembered.
"I was a mean girl," says writer and actor Tina Fey.
"I had a gift for coming up with the meanest possible thing to say in any situation [...] My friends and I didn't really date or go to cool parties, so we made jokes about those who did.
Looking back, I can see the mean-girl thing for what it is: A waste of energy. The hardest thing is to free yourself from caring what someone says about you. But it brings big freedom if you do it."
Image: Tina Fey admits being a mean girl once