A friend from high school I lost contact with, but thanks to Facebook have regained contact, just got back from his Mexico mission roughly 42 hours ago. Being female, not a romantic interest, and did not write him every month during the past two years (I got married, had a baby, and saw that marriage die with the same time frame. I did say I lost contact with him), I don’t expect to hear anything directly about how great his mission was until sometime next week. In the meantime I get to ponder what has annoyed me about return missionaries.

1) Your mission was akin to a vacation. You were gone for a prolonged period of time, things happened while you were gone, and you’re feeling a little out of place. This feeling does not make it ok to talk about your mission and nothing else. Similar to going to Florida, people assume you have more to talk about than just Florida.

2) This is the real world two years after you left it. It has changed.

3) You no longer need a ‘buddy’ to go over to a house, church, or grocery store. It’s great sleeping without a roommate. Embrace this unfamiliar world of independence and privacy.

4) The mission rules are rules for the mission. They are not rules you are expected to keep once you leave the mission. Ideally you would not keep any of the rules but helmets are important.

5) Believe it or not, most people don’t take you seriously anymore. You no longer represent the church in an official capacity. You are instead an ignorant 21 year-old who believes himself to contain the secret to a happy, perfect marriage. No one will tell you this, but you are wrong. Lest you be mentioned on Twitter, don’t include advice for situations you haven’t personally experienced in your coming home talk.

6) Try hard not to get swept up by church culture again. Not everyone who wears bikinis is doing so for attention.

7) Water is not controlled by Satan.

8) It is ok if your mission was a horrible experience you want to never revisit. You might make the Bishop’s wife uncomfortable for a bit, but most people will move on and stop mentioning your “return missionary” status every time you meet. The more open you are about it, the more likely other return missionaries will come out of the woodwork and befriend you over common experiences—a mission from hell.

9) Despite what your mission president said, it’s ok to take more than a couple of months before jumping back into the dating game. A few years would be ideal, but we know that won’t happen.

10) Please retire the white shirt and tie. The sweat stains are noticeable.