Each generation thinks the one below it is an eternal mystery – and since we millennials grew up in the establishment of the mainstream digital age, the enigma we present to our elder generations is significantly more complex than generations passed.
Here are six strange millennial habits that previous generations just can’t comprehend:
1. Money isn’t taboo
Yes, I know Mum says you can’t ask anyone about their salary, but we’re curious, and we strongly value fairness and transparency.
This means if a woman discovers that her male co-worker who performs the same tasks as her in the same hours with identical qualifications is earning a significantly higher wage, the disparity can be exposed – and it has been already, in some cases. We also (apparently) prefer to collaborate with our colleagues rather than compete with them.
2. We crave constant validation
It’s a scary world out there in the workforce, especially when we’re suddenly too old to receive participation trophies or cute stickers just for showing up. So, we combat this empty, black hole in our souls by asking for constant feedback in the workplace, rather than waiting for performance reviews.
This Monday to Friday validation helps to combat the terrors of family lunches, during which we’re regularly roasted by Gran who thinks that offering to stitch up our ripped jeans every fucking Sunday is quality humour.
3. We move in with our partners before we marry them
Don’t tell Jesus, but we’re fornicating left, right and centre, and your threats that we’ll sizzle in purgatory aren’t enough to convince us to keep our legs shut. 72% of millennials think that moving in with a partner before marrying them is desirable, to test out their compatibility in more ways than one. Is this ‘try before you buy’ trope to thank for the declining divorce rate? We think so; all we millennials truly desire is to be, uh, satisfied consumers.
4. Google is the grandparent we never knew we needed to raise our tots
Millennial parents, nicknamed “parennials” (which sounds like something that needs to be surgically removed from your abdomen, but okay), are turning to the world wide web for parenting advice, rather than their own parents. If only there wasn’t so much anti-vax conspiracy content online, this might actually be a positive thing.
5. Full stops end our friendships
Grammar is a beast that evolves with the times, and we’ve moved the full stop from a simple device that clearly ends a sentence, to one that ends friendships. Okay, if you’re writing an essay or a work email, you might still use a period to signify the end of a sentence or an idea – but if you dare to drop one in a Twitter DM, we’ll jump to offence faster than a liberal trying to shut down a music festival.
A “hi.” is the equivalent of that awkward grimace you give to a co-worker or acquaintance you secretly hate when you see them but it’s too late to cross the street – don’t @ me.
6. Our humour is dark AF
Society and culture are very different nowadays to when previous generations were growing up, so it’s fair to expect that our humour has developed differently too. Whilst conventional humour like irony and puns have stood the test of time, millennials have thrown a few new categories into the mix, like self-deprecation.
The rise of the internet meme has furthered the idea – and apparent appeal – of self-deprecation. It’s easy to share, because as we communicate across diverse geographic boundaries, self-deprecation adds an element of relatability between complete strangers.
This dark humour has been said to be a coping mechanism for young people living in an age of severe uncertainty. For example, global warming is a catastrophic threat to our existence, and plenty of us just act glad it will all be over soon – anything to escape the existential dread.
So there you have it – six odd millennial habits that previous generations can’t wrap their heads around. Are there any other strange generational habits you’ve picked up on? Let us know in the comments below!
Claire is Hogwarts aficionado who will stalk your social media account to find your star sign as soon as she meets you. When she's not re-reading Harry Potter for the zillionth time or meddling in some casual witchcraft, you can find her thinking aloud on Twitter @silent_claire.