One of the most important things that I’ve learned in my short twenty years is how to respect myself. I have always had a good grasp on how to treat others, and thankfully, respecting myself came easy in my teen years. However, being single and dating in your twenties is a whole new ballgame.

My track record isn’t perfect, and I’ve made my fair share of bad decisions. But if I’ve learned anything about how to carry myself, I’ve learned how important it is to never be the girl that’s always available.

Don’t be the girl he calls when he’s broken up with his girlfriend. Don’t be the girl he can text at 3 a.m. to “chill." Don’t be the girl that falls for his inconsistent drunken charm. Don’t be the girl that's always available.

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Everything comes down to respect. The way you treat others and the way you treat yourself speaks volumes about the person you are. All too often, girls in their twenties are misrepresented by the decisions they make, driven by emotion and passion. Sure, it’s your time to experiment and (if you’re single) exercise your right to be free and do whatever the hell you want. But more often than not, focusing on that causes girls to lose sight of having respect for themselves. Handing that power over to men (okay, boys) in their twenties is dangerous. Essentially, you’ll end up being treated like sh*t by guys who want nothing more than your body. There is nothing attractive about a guy who doesn’t respect you. Knowing this allows you to take a stand against it. We may never be able to change most young guys’ mindsets, but there is a way to carry yourself that will attract the right boys to you.

That being said, attracting a boy should be the last thing on your mind. Carry yourself with dignity. Treat your mind and body with respect. Do the things you love without paying any mind to the immaturity of the male species around you. Say no next time he asks you to hang out at midnight. Wear clothes that YOU like, not clothes you think guys would like. Find an interest or passion in something constructive. Stop texting your ex back. Develop standards and hold people to them. Find flattery in compliments like “you’re beautiful” or “you have an interesting mind," not “you’re hot” or “I’d smash." Demand quality from the males you associate with.

You’ll start to see a huge turnaround in the character of the guys in your life. A strong, self-respecting woman intimidates weak, simple-minded boys. The men will separate themselves from the boys and you’ll find that you’re being treated like a woman should be. When your actions demand respect, the people surrounding you will follow suit. Carrying yourself with esteem and class is timelessly sexy and effortlessly impressive. You eventually find that there is no need to go out of your way to get attention. The right guys will approach you at the right times and will have the right things to say. And, when you’re ready to take time out of your flawlessly busy and unavailable life, you’ll be able to choose the perfect man. “Let’s chill tonight” turns into “dinner at 7?” and you’re actually not embarrassed to bring him home to your parents.

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Consequently, other aspects of your life begin to improve as well. Long gone is the stress and anxiety brought on by unfaithful, immature boys. Respecting yourself translates to everyone around you respecting you too, not just guys. Remember though, finding a guy isn’t the goal, just a nice side-effect. Begin the journey towards developing a high level of respect for yourself and remember it when you’re being texted at ungodly hours to “chill” or feel like the best compliment you’ll get is a #WCW on Instagram. Respect and consideration for yourself convinces everyone else around you to treat you the same.

So continue to be completely inaccessible and unattainable until guys rise to meet your standards. Fall in love with your life on your own. Allow no one to have your heart, mind, or body until they match the respect you have for yourself. Be the girl who isn’t available.