When I hear the phrase ‘high maintenance’, my mind generates an image of a perfectly groomed girl in a miniskirt, walking along in Jimmy Choo heels, toting a Gucci handbag with her obliging boyfriend meekly in tow.

But being low maintenance means more than just not requiring label clothes and feeling ok without a weekly manicure.

I like to think of it as needing less. In many senses of the word.

Less attention – entertaining yourself. Being the guest who finds ways to help, things to do, and is happy to self-entertain when others are busy.

Less stuff – buying less. Owning just a few quality items rather than a huge wardrobe of things that might only be worn once a year. Making do with old clothes, old furniture, old homeware by repairing instead of replacing. Being able to pack a small backpack for a trip instead of dragging around a massive suitcase.

Less grooming – being ok with how you look. No need for major modifications, layers of makeup, ten types of eye shadow, the latest GHD, and piles of cosmetics.

Less perfection – more go-with-the-flow, less do-what-I-want. Accepting people and situations as they are, and not feeling the need to make demands of the universe.

Low maintenance friends are the best. They look after themselves, keep themselves happy and entertained, are pleased with whatever food you make or activities are happening, and don’t have special requirements from you – they accept you as you are.

Low maintenance partners are the best. They let you be you, can stick to a budget, accept that things don’t always go to plan, and are fun to travel with.

Although there are plenty of high maintenance people out there, and at first glance you might think they’ve got perfect lives with perfect things and perfect (well-behaved!) partners, if you dig deeper you’ll find they’re operating out of insecurities. The need for control, the need for attention, the need for status symbols to prove their worth … far better to be content with less. You might not get as much attention, but your aura of self-sufficiency and calm will end up attracting others to you when the demands and dramas of their high maintenance friends become wearisome.

Consider which areas of your life you could learn to be happy with less …

Be Low Maintenance