10 Differences Between Women & Girls

 “One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.” -Simone de Beauvoir The Simple Sophisticate, episode #24 For some it occurs when they begin living on their own for the first time, completely free of parental support, for others it occurs when they have their first stream of hard-earned money and open their first checking account, […] Listen now or continue reading below.

 “One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.” -Simone de Beauvoir

The Simple Sophisticate, episode #24

For some it occurs when they begin living on their own for the first time, completely free of parental support, for others it occurs when they have their first stream of hard-earned money and open their first checking account, for others it is a pivotal life event such as a relocation, a death, an introduction to a luminary that opens a new way of looking at the world, and for some it has yet to happen.

The shift from being a girl to becoming and embracing the gift of being a woman is on some levels subconscious depending upon how you were raised, but in its entirety, to truly embody the authentic sense of  what a woman is has to be done so consciously, each and every day.

The title of my book Choosing The Simply Luxurious Life: A Modern Woman’s Guide purposefully was chosen to include the term modern and woman. And while I go into great detail with regards to the term modern in chapter two, “Live Simply Luxuriously”, much of the definition of a woman is assumed. As that is the case, I would like to look precisely at what differentiates a woman from a girl. After all, we were all at one point young, carefree, solely and necessarily dependent on our parents and this is a crucial part of living well; however, there is a time to evolve, progress and shed this skin as it has an expiration date after which point being a girl won’t serve us well as we pursue our true potential.

Interestingly enough, today’s post came about in a round-about way as I had intentioned to share the differences between a man and a boy. But as I began outlining my post, one particular article that I happened upon this past week kept dancing around in my mind. It suggested that rather than look to others to blame or become frustrated with when events, conversations, etc go wrong, instead look within and determine how we contributed to the outcome that has so enraged or bothered us.

And so taking this concept of looking inwardly, I thought I’d immerse us today in understanding how we as women can truly step in and own the idea of being women. Much of what I am going to say will no doubt remind readers of a post I wrote this summer (Grown-Ups vs. Adults), but I will delve more deliberately into the feminine aspect of this concept.

However, since I may have teased too much with the idea of a post spotlighting the difference between men and boys, I have a two-fer today. Click here to read 10 Differences Between Men & Boys. Now back to the difference between women and girls.

“A girl wants attention, a woman wants respect. A girl wants to be adored by many. A woman wants to be adored by one.” -Anonymous

1. Relationships

A woman may or may not desire a romantic pairing, but if she does, she chooses to do so because it amplifies her life. She will not step into a relationship and especially will not go as far as to say “I do” simply to not feel left out. A woman is quite content in her own company and would rather be alone pursuing her passions, strengthening her friendships and building her legacy, than be involved with the wrong person.

A girl is scared to death of being alone. Primarily, this fear is cultivated by those around her and the media she subjects herself to. It is also an indicator that she is not either comfortable with who she is or she hasn’t taken the time to find out who she is. This discovery is very often a journey that requires the sojourner to walk alone. A girl will jump from one relationship to the next with little regard for the quality of the individual she is involved with.

2. Dating

A woman is strong and confident enough to let a man know she is interested in him. In this post a couple of years ago I spoke about the idea of allowing a man court a woman, and it cultivated great discussion (be sure to view the comments). And while the crucial foundation of building any healthy relationship is to maintain one’s self-respect and integrity, playing a cat and mouse game is not what a woman does. She may not be the person to initiate (much more my style), but even if she is, the goal is to express interest and then let go. In other words, both parties must be interested, and if they are not, both adults – the man and the woman – move on. No harm, no foul.

A girl feeds off the drama.  A girl finds entertainment in the unknown and the uncertainty in the “will he call/text” or won’t he? A girl hasn’t found something of more quality interest in her life, her passion, to focus on and instead focuses on gaining the adoration of boys.

3. Finances

A woman regardless of her relationship status stands on her own financial footing. A woman does not purport to be too feeble minded to handle money successfully. She understands that successful money management is knowledge than anyone can acquire if they choose to. A woman is disciplined when it comes to spending and saving. (Click here for posts on Money.)

A girl assumes she either will marry someone who will take of her financially or refrains from educating herself on the power of successful financial planning because it appears too daunting, thus sabotaging herself from achieving what she is truly capable of.

4. Confidence

A woman recognizes that true confidence comes from within. While she recognizes that there will be days of mood swings, she understands the power of her mastering her mind and refuses to be sucked into the debilitating powers of certain emotions. A woman takes the time to get to know herself, to understand her strengths and weaknesses, and realizes she is a work in progress.

However, she knows her self-worth and based on her personality will not be subjected to disrespect from a partner or place of work.  A woman recognizes that the only way to gain self-confidence is through experiences, pushing through a wall of comfort from time to time and taking educated risks. A woman has a mind of her own and speaks up for herself and others when necessary.

A girl seeks confidence from external sources – the number of social media followers, a busy date book, approval from peers of her behavior, clothing or life choices. A girl without self-confidence can easily be manipulated into believing what others want her believe about herself.

5. Appearance

A woman knows her body and dresses to accentuate it. She may reveal her silhouette, but not too much skin. A woman is acutely aware that while beauty may get someone to open the door, her intelligence will get her over the threshold. However, she respects the power of dressing well, and while she wouldn’t walk out the door without make-up or at least brushing her hair, this is merely a means of self-respect not insecurity.

A girl only has her looks to rely on to close the deal. Too much skin or too much make-up are a regular occurrence only because she hasn’t invested in anything else such as her interests, passions and talents.

6. Dating Expectations

A woman will not expect a man to pay for dinner, dates or wherever their outing takes them, but as a gentleman, he will most likely do so. She will be able to pay for anything she suggests, and if he does pay, will not feel obligated to do anything besides say thank you.

A girl will allow the date to play out exactly as he wants as she is not secure in her sense of self and aims to please.

7. Conversation

A woman can hold a conversation with just about anyone, but the difference is that it goes deeper than the surface. A woman is well-read and aware of the world around her. She is comfortable in existential conversations as well as conversations about local politics.

A girl is more comfortable gossiping and complaining, focusing on superficial information that doesn’t deepen the conversation.

8. Social Media

A woman reserves her social media accounts for business and curiosities (news, hobby ideas, and inspiration) and sees the value in face-to-face conversations, one-on-one texting or letter writing for Thank Yous, invites, etc. A woman reserves an air of mystery and doesn’t share everything online or otherwise.

A girl can’t wait to update her social status on Facebook, share news or gossip on Yik Yak or share a group selfie to demonstrate how popular she is. A girl again is seeking validation.

9. Sense of Direction

A woman has goals, aspirations and intentions for her life. Often the rigidity has been lessened as to how exactly everything should play out, however it doesn’t mean they’ve lost sight of their target. It is now more of a concept than a concrete thing. A woman stands on her own to travel her journey, but recognizes the value in relationships (working and personal) and helping those she loves travel successfully toward their dreams as well. A woman is insatiable in her quest for learning and exploring and doesn’t wait for life to entertain her as she recognizes life is ready to dance, she merely has to get on the dance floor and start moving.

A girl doesn’t really know what she wants and due to the ambivalence, she may default to a man and follow his path and help him pursue his dreams while losing herself and her potential in the process.

10. Standards vs. Expectations

A woman has standards. In other words, a woman holds herself in check when it comes to what she needs in her life to be her best self and is self-actualized enough that she knows what will be detrimental to her potential and overall health (mental and physical).

A girl has expectations. The list of superficial demands that others must have before she will involve herself is something she projects onto them and uses as a barrier to not look beyond what someone may have to offer. In so doing, she is focused on appearances rather than substance.

Becoming a woman, reveling in all that being a woman can entail is a choice that will empower you to become your best self and surround you with a support system that offers respect, love and comfort as you afford them the same. Choosing to be a woman must be a conscious choice as society will have us believe a myriad of definitions based on what you expose yourself to in the movies, online, on television and in print. You must begin with a recognition of your self-worth. It’s there. It’s always been there.

While each one of us is a work in progress, and you perhaps, as I did myself, recognize moments when we regressed to being a girl. The good news is that we recognized such missteps. And when we can recognize it, we can improve. We can move forward and allow the girl that wishes to hold us back remain in the past.


~10 Differences Between Men & Boys

~Why Not . . . Be a Successful Woman?

~10 Steps to Becoming the Woman You’ve Always Wanted to Be

Petit Plaisir:

For a casual, yet delicious evening in for two: MENU:

  • Pendleton Whisky steak
  • Julia Child’s butter green beans
  • Potatoes inspired by Julia Child (see recipe below)
  • a bottle of full-bodied red wine (cabernet sauvignon, merlot, blend) or this one was my choice as seen in the picture
Pendleton Whisky Steak (or substitute your favorite whisky/bourbon)

~Prepare the Roasted Shallot Aioli first, then cook the steak. See the recipe for the Aioli below the steak recipe.

  • 2 10-12 oz strip loin steaks or T-bone
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon clarified butter or vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped shallots
  • 1 cup Pendleton Whisky
  • 2 tablespoons whole butter, unsalted
  1. Trim all excess fat and sinew from meat. Run whole pepper through a pepper mill for a fresh cracked pepper flavor and place in a shallow dish.
  2. Salt the steaks lightly on each side, then press each side into the cracked pepper to create a pepper crust.
  3. Heat pan to high on stove top. When pan is hot, add butter or oil.
  4. Sear the steak, flipping after one and a half minutes. Steak should be dark brown on the outside.
  5. At this point, the whole pan can go into the oven (make sure pan handle is heat-resistant).
  6. Cook in the oven at 350 degrees for 2-5 minutes, depending upon the desired temp/finish (rare, med-rare, med, well, etc). Use meat thermometer if necessary.
  7. Take out of the oven and remove the steaks from the pan. Let them rest for 5 minutes.
  8. While the meat is resting, add shallots to the pan and sauté briefly, de-glaze the pan with Whisky, careful to add whisky away from open flame and be prepared when returning pan to flame in case of a flare up (mine has never done this, but be aware).
  9. Reduce until almost dry and finish sauce by melting butter into it. Don’t let the sauce simmer after butter has been aded or it will separate.
  10. Optional: slice steak on a bias and fan out or serve as is.
  11. Pour whisky sauce over the top. Drizzle the roasted shallot aioli over steak (see recipe below – very simple, worth it!)
Roasted Shallot Aioli
  • 2-3 shallots
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon horseradish
  • 1 tablespoon chef’s salt (mixture of salt, pepper and spices, usually paprika and powdered garlic)
  1. Roast shallots in a 325 degree oven. How? Peel and trim to the same size and toss with a little olive oil, pepper and fresh herbs. Place on a piece of aluminum foil into a pillow and roast in the oven for 45 minutes.
  2. Remove from the oven and puree shallots in food processor. Add egg yolks, sour cream, horseradish and chef’s salt. Quickly mix these ingredients.
  3. With machine running slowly, drizzle in the oil until it is all incorporated.
Potatoes inspired by Julia Child

~c/o Judith Jones’ The Pleasure of Cooking for One Ingredients:

  • 3-5 red potatoes or 2 medium new potatoes
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 4 teaspoons butter (unsalted)
  • freshly ground pepper
  • salt
  1. Peel the potatoes and slice them very thin.
  2. Peel and mince the garlic, then, with the flat of your chef’s knife, mash it with a little salt until it is a paste. Work a little of the butter into it.
  3. Heat 2 teaspoons of the butter in your small frying pan over medium-low heat, and lay in half the potato slices, overlapping slightly, to fill the bottom of the pan.
  4. Salt and pepper them lightly, and smear half of the garlic paste on top.
  5. Add the remaining layer of potatoes, and cook gently, setting a small cover askew on top of the pan.
  6. After about 8 minutes, turn the potatoes, which should be brown on the bottom, by setting a small, sturdy plate on top of the pan and flipping the potatoes over onto it. They won’t hold together perfectly, but don’t worry.
  7. After heating the remaining butter in the pan, just slide the potatoes back in and arrange them as neatly as you can. Let them cook, semi-covered, for about 5 minutes, and uncovered for couple more minutes, at which point they should be done and nicely browned, both top and bottom.

Bon Appétit!

~Outro music – Ella Eyre “We Don’t Have to Take Our Clothes Off“, remix


17 thoughts on “10 Differences Between Women & Girls

  1. Hey Shannon , thank you so so so much for this extraordinary post . When I first read the title of this post i was just so damn excited because , deep inside I just needed someone to talk to me about what it means to be a woman . I am 22 years old , and I know it is time for me to act like a woman already , but in certain situations I get stuck blindly without knowing how to react like a woman of class. I am kind of struggling to find the balance between “once I was a girl” and “Now I have to start behaving like a proper woman.”

    This post is a complete life-saver for all the young women who are fighting to know their roles as a modern woman . Now I know how I gotta show up to this world as a woman . Lesson learned .
    Thank you so much .

  2. Hi Shannon – This is a fabulous post. I can see my younger self in several of the “girl” sections, and thankfully, much more of my current self in the “woman” sections. This is so spot-on that I emailed it to our daughter. What a guideline you’ve given women and girls everywhere!

  3. Fabulous topic and information, as usual!

    Thank you especially for this week’s petit plaisir; you planned my Valentine’s dinner for me. This morning, all I knew for sure was that we would have t-bone steaks because we have some lovely grassfed steaks in the freezer. I laughed out loud when I heard this week’s petit plaisir included t-bone steaks as I was getting ready for work this morning. I happen to have a bottle of Pendleton Whiskey as well! This is perfect; thank you for putting together my menu for Saturday night!

  4. Great post! Fortunately, I seem to be fitting the “woman” role in many of these areas. I’m pretty good with money, although I do a good bit of impulse shopping at times (guilty). I thoroughly believe in the idea of the modern woman being independent and financially stable on her own, but I still hold out hope for a Prince Charming with a bottomless bank account too.

  5. Shannon – I am 37 years old but can pass for a 20 year old. I’m Asian, and quite frankly, we just age very well. For the first time in my life (and at an age more mature than the typical female), I feel like I can actually refer to myself as a woman and not a girl, and precisely for the reasons stated in your post.

    I wish this post were written 20 years ago as I started my chaotic ascent into womanhood but unfortunately, for various reasons, it came rather late. Regardless, your post resonated so profoundly with me. Thank you for being such an inspiration and for providing the first pieces of sound advice I will be giving to my future daughter!


    1. Hi Tina.

      Your comment caught my attention “37 but can pass for 20”. I am in that category as well but have still not been able to appreciated it. Would like to know if you ever had that issue.


  6. Hi Shannon, I’m such a big fan of your extraordinary blog, and have found much helpful guidance and inspiration from it. I really, really enjoyed this post. As a 19 year old, one foot in and one foot out in many aspects of life, I really appreciate the points that you outlined here.

    1. Shannon,
      Great, Awesome, post I too will share this with my daughter as I find that at 23 she has a head start to becoming a woman and certainly carries I can proudly say all of these traits.
      At 51 I can revel and embrace being a woman and no longer a girl.

  7. What an amazing post, a helpful series of guideposts for me as I near 30 and assess my transition from girlhood to womanhood. You have been truly blessed with both wisdom and the communication skills needed to effectively teach others.

  8. I agree to every point. I can clearly see that having a daughter and being a single mom has undoubtedly pushed me through the transition from girl to woman and I have always said I’m a work in progress. It never ends since life is all about evolving into our best selves. And what an amazing privilege that is. Thank you for this wonderful post.

  9. Hi Shannon,

    Thank you for this excellent podcast and post. I think hearing the contrast, or the examples of both the immature and mature way to approach things made the points so much more clear to me. I hope you will do this girl/woman comparison again in future posts. Even in my forties, there is a lot of room to grow wiser!

  10. This post was absolutely amazing and accurate. I appreciate how you handled with tact and dignified every woman by reminding them that this is all attainable with effort regardless of up bringing or past choices. You have given me so much to think about and I am excited to make some changes and re-prioritize my focus in life onto myself.

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