We’re bombarded with messages about what we should like, do, and strive for in life.
But so many supposedly amazing things fail to live up to the hype.
It’s not just fancy restaurants or expensive gadgets either—lots of aspirations are shockingly overrated.
Whether you agree with this list or not, it might just make you question what you prioritize in your life.
In no particular order, here are 13 things that oversell and underdeliver.
Traveling is amazing, right? Exciting journeys, new cultures, endless adventures.
What about grimy hotels, unfamiliar norms, and constantly feeling out of your comfort zone?
While it might be a less popular opinion, traveling can be really stressful and undesirable for a lot of people.
There’s a common myth that people who don’t want to travel are boring homebodies, unwilling to accept other cultures, and inflexible when it comes to routine.
The thing is, not everyone catches the traveling bug, and those that do should be more accepting if someone doesn’t want to jump on a plane to far away lands at least seven times a year!
What’s more, traveling is expensive—it’s seen as an exclusive lifestyle, unattainable for most ‘normal’ people.
It is also associated with insufferable gap-yearers who can up sticks and go wherever they please because they have zero responsibilities, unlike the rest of us.
Blood might be thicker than water, but does that mean we should sacrifice everything to maintain family relationships?
There’s a notion that we should forgive any and all behavior from our relatives because ‘they’re family.’
But that often means going against our morals, surrendering our boundaries, and having to compromise on your non-negotiables.
Family relationships are often overrated—people assume that because you’re related, you’re willing to accept behavior you wouldn’t normally tolerate.
The family you choose (which might well include blood relatives) is the family that matters.
Being loved and in love is pretty great—but is it better than enjoying your single life and getting to do whatever you want?
Movies and the media convey a relationship as the mecca for single people—it’s the ultimate way to prove you’re an attractive, interesting, lovable human.
And while all those things may come from a romantic partner, there are other ways to achieve those feelings that are just less glorified by society.
Being single is always going to be better than being in an unhealthy or unfulfilling relationship.
As a society, we need to shift the notion that it’s a relationship or nothing! Life should be about opportunities that make you happy and healthy… whether that’s solo or not.
4. Career ambition
Some people never stop pushing and striving to climb the ladder, and they’re prepared to graft their way to get to the top.
For most people, that means working unpaid overtime and sacrificing any semblance of work-life balance.
We’re not saying that being ambitious is a bad thing, just that it’s become so overrated in our modern-day ‘hustle culture.’
What happened to the joy of just sitting in the sun, going on nature walks, and creating things? Your phone and laptop are NOT essential to life, so leave them behind once in a while.
It’s also important to remember that success exists outside of corporate norms! Let’s be ambitious about getting the sun on our faces in the mornings and finishing our 2L bottle of water by 8 pm instead.
5. An academic education
Let’s be honest, job hunting has changed over the years. Gone are the days when you needed to prove you had a degree to even access job search websites.
Instead, companies are starting to focus more on other aspects of life that make employees great. Didn’t go to university at 18 but started working at 16 and became a manager by 19? Even better!
You don’t need to have spent years on formal education while racking up huge debts to add real value to an organization.
Employers are starting to realize just how overrated degrees are. Instead, there are other ways to ensure employees are smart, driven, and right for the job.
6. Virtual popularity
In the world of social media, we’ve become fixated on how many followers we have, how many likes we get on our posts, and how many views our reels get.
While this is understandable given the rise of influencer careers and the increasing pressure to be online, it’s seriously overrated.
We all know social media isn’t the most genuine or honest aspect of modern life, so why the obsession with online validation?
It’s time to get real about what it means to be popular online and stop glamourizing inauthenticity!
In a similar vein to the above, influencers are another aspect of modern life that’s becoming increasingly overrated.
Despite the spread of influencers into sectors ranging from cleaning to beauty, people are becoming disenchanted with the concept.
Influencers are becoming less popular because society is becoming more aware of deceptive posts and false advertising in the pursuit of sponsorships and freebies.
We also know that influencers are using increasingly unrealistic beauty filters, which is a whole other issue…
While going out for Friday night drinks has always been part of office culture, and going out for shots has always been part of uni culture, drinking is actually on the decrease for younger generations.
Those in their late teens and early twenties are a more health-focused generation than we’ve seen for decades. They’re less likely to smoke and drink, and they’re more aware of their mental and physical health than generations prior.
Drinking is seemingly overrated now among the younger generations, and a lot of young adults are struggling to see why it’s such a huge part of the culture of previous generations.
Celebrity culture is seemingly on the decline.
Is that based on the recent decline in popularity of the Kardashians? Yes.
Is it still pretty accurate? Also yes.
We’re starting to see less and less obsession with celebrities—probably because people have realized just how overrated they all are.
People are starting to call out the unattainable lifestyles of celebs who are trying to convince us they’re ‘just like us.’
People are getting fed up with the huge disparities of wealth in society between famous people and us mere mortals—as they should!
We’re all becoming more aware of how badly the needs of society are being met and how much that contrasts with the insane wealth of those we follow on Instagram.
10. Girl bossing
Firstly, we need to boycott this phrase—the whole point of being a ‘girl boss’ is not needing to gender who the boss is.
The more you emphasize gender when it comes to success, the further away you move from gender equality and equity—just sayin’!
Secondly, we need to let go of the notion that every woman needs to be successful in her career to be successful in life. What if we want to be housewives or stay-at-home mums?
Being a ‘girl boss’ is becoming super overrated as more women are realizing the benefits of the other options that are out there!
11. Owning a home
While owning a home was a top priority for a lot of previous generations, it has become less of a goal for those of us who are only now hitting our 20s and 30s.
That’s in part because it’s significantly less attainable (even if we stop buying coffees!), but also because younger generations are prioritizing other things.
They have concluded that spending money on experiences can sometimes lead to greater fulfilment than saving it all up for a deposit on a home that will take 30+ years to pay off.
The idea of ‘roots’ is also one that younger people are steering clear of—why commit to property in one place when you can now move around based on your career and hobbies?
12. Eating meat
While the stereotypical ‘meat and two veg’ dinners were the status quo for a long time, people are starting to see meat as seriously overrated.
There are so many great meat-free alternatives now that meat often feels like a redundant, if not poor, choice.
With younger generations being even more focused on the environment, it makes sense that meat is viewed as outdated by many people.
If you’re the kind of person who has chugged four triple-shot lattes by lunchtime, it might be unfathomable that there are some out there who don’t like coffee.
As a fellow triple-shot-chugger, I have news for you… not everyone shares our love of coffee.
Shocking, I know.
A lot of people feel that coffee is overrated, and, despite loving it, I can see where they’re coming from. If you live in a city, you’re never more than 5 minutes away from a coffee shop.
People in TV shows are obsessed with coffee—some of them even have entire personalities built around their love of it.
And we all have that friend who’s never seen without a takeout coffee cup in their hand…
But, to a lot of people out there, coffee is overrated. And they’re entitled to being wrong. Joking! (Kind of)