30 Adults List Things They Don’t “Get” About The Younger Generations

Published 3 weeks ago

We often discuss the differences between generations — the varying beliefs and behaviours that separate Millennials, Baby Boomers, and other age groups in areas like politics, work habits, technology use, and more. Intrigued by this topic, a Reddit user named 5h0gKur4C4ndl initiated a conversation on the platform, asking older users to share what they find puzzling about younger generations.

From the reliance on smartphones for life experiences to the tendency to label everyone, we’ve gathered some of the most common responses to delve deeper into the reasons behind the generation gap. Hopefully, this exploration will help us better understand each other and take steps toward bridging that divide.

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#1 Their obsession with immediately diagnosing psychological things and turning everything into therapy-speak. “You’re gaslighting me”, etc.

Image source: vickyswaggo, cottonbro studio

#2 Their inability to see the nuance on a lot of issues. It’s black or white for them, completely ignoring the multitude of layers and shades of gray that exist in the world.

Image source: CGMM_15

#3 If I have to teach one more adult how alphabetical order works, I’m going to lose it. These are university graduates. They just throw the file back in. Like how did you find it in the first place?

Image source: jneinefr, Alexander Dummer

#4 They’ve been so coddled and raised in front of screens rather than interacting in the real world that ANYTHING gives them anxiety.

Talking to people, trying something new, going somewhere, literally anything can make them shut down.

Image source: UniqueUsername82D

#5 We were saying what we would do if we won the big lottery jackpot. The new 22 yr old hire said he’d become an influencer. Can you imagine winning a billion at 22 and that’s what you would do. Not start a business, travel the world, charity, sports, property… Learn something… but become an influencer… with a billion dollars. I mean like he’s gonna hire a marketing company to fabricate interest in his social media? He’s gonna spend money on stupid things to make people cringe or rage comment? With a billion dollars.

Just thought that was a weird and low bar and was hard to understand.

Image source: CoverCall

#6 Why do they go to the movies only to scroll through their phone the *entire time*?

Image source: IAmASurgeonDoctorHan, Luis Quintero

#7 Why do you want to watch a 100% of a concert, that you payed good money for, through your phone lens?

Image source: LeluWater, Görkem Cetinkaya

#8 The absolute lack of capacity to deal with any emotional stress or upheaval without turning into a gibbering mess.

I’m being hyperbolic of course, but I have literally now lost count of how many students I’ve dealt with who cannot under any circumstances be given criticism or negative feedback without utterly falling to pieces.

I had someone messing around in a lecture, playing with their phone and being disruptive. I stopped the lecture and told them to put it away and pay attention or leave.

They looked SHOCKED to have been called out, and sat there quietly for the next 10-15 minutes until suddenly going all “deer in the headlights” when asked a question in relation to the topic and then running the full length of the lecture hall and out the room.

I was informed the following day that the student had went to counselling services to complain that I had “put unreasonable pressure on him by asking him questions in class, and set off his anxiety”.

He then told the University he would need to take the next 2 weeks off with extensions for all his submissions in order to “get over the troubling experience”.

He was mid 20’s at this point.


Another situation happened when a student was told that their research work was unfortunately substandard.

They seemed utterly baffled at how they could’ve gotten any criticism on it, when given suggestions on where they went wrong (lacking depth to the arguments, biased stances, non-credible sources) they went on a tirade about how they wouldn’t use any source that didn’t align with their perspective because “they’re the anti-X crowd and all f*****g evil”.

This person then burst into tears and when they realised the door was locked (it needs a key code to open it) they started freaking out, screaming and hollering as though they were being physically attacked.

Any attempt to talk to them was met with more tears and screams and when the door was opened she ran out of the building.

Image source: Indiana_harris

#9 Why they’d rather watch someone else play a video game than play it themselves. That was a punishment when I was a kid, not entertainment.

Image source: deadevilmonkey, Fausto Sandoval

#10 The self victimization, clinging to whatever label they think will shield them from criticism, learned helplessness, refusal to consider viewpoints that doing align with their worldview. I could go on.

Image source: ghoulishly-yours

#11 They don’t “go out”. Their friends are on social media or online, so there’s very little “going out”. Also, a marked disinterest in dating.

Image source: 500ravens, Pixabay

#12 Speaking mostly for the middle schoolers I work with, but not caring about being smart, understanding the world, achieving success, or having empathy. I cannot fathom what keeps them going without caring about anything. I don’t know how to motivate these kids when things like getting something wrong loudly and publicly doesn’t even give them pause or introspection. They just move on and continue not caring about what really is right and wrong?

Image source: Thorhees

#13 Recording yourself crying.

Image source: BlueberryNo5363, cottonbro studio

#14 Apparently, despite growing up with technology around them, they don’t know how to use computers properly because they focus mostly on smartphones and tablets.

Image source: NoobDinosaur, Valery

#15 37 year old attending college for the first time here. They have negative confidence. They barely speak above a mumble, especially when answering a question from the teacher. Most of them would rather die than talk to someone they’re interested in. It’s like 90% of them are cripplingly introverted.

Image source: Intelligent-Mud1437, Pixabay

#16 The lack of understanding that things put on the internet are public forever.

Image source: Leading_Screen_4216, Ron Lach

#17 Why aren’t they voting!?! Do they not know how much power they could have? Willing to go to protests (and that is a good thing) but not willing to go to the voting booth (and that’s a bad thing).

Image source: BiscottiLeading

#18 They’ve apparently lost the ability to step outside their comfort zone, I think. All that happens have to be safe and secure, otherwise it gives severe anxiety. No need for exploration, adventure.

Image source: xavras_wyzryn, Inside Weather

#19 Taking public calls on speaker phone and sending voice messages. .

Image source: rizlar09

#20 Tiktok is an actual news source for some.

Image source: Illiteratap, Nik

#21 Treating fixable problems as core personality traits, and focusing on accommodating them rather than fixing them. Too anxious to go to the grocery store? Too fat to do well in gym class? Too shy to make friends? Too illiterate to enjoy reading? The ADA is not for you. Fix your s**t.

Image source: RemoteWasabi4, Jessica Da Rosa

#22 The need to document every thought, bite of food, outfit change , papsmear , and things that leave them ” literally shaking right now”.. like the lady at Starbucks calling you sir when clearly you’re a they/them with a beard.

Image source: New-Lie414

#23 I don’t understand why most of them want to look rich with expensive s**t and most of them act like they run businesses or something.
They take pictures with cars that are not theirs for example.

Dude chill, you’re 16.

Image source: Honest_Math_7760

#24 Will never understand the constant need for *external* stimulation.

I’m quite happy just to ponder my own thoughts. Love flying, because it gives me several hours to think on s**t without distraction.

Ask young people to put down their phone? It’s as if you asked them to chop off their left hand.

Image source: Midnight_Poet

#25 The emails I get from my students aged 18-25 are such a mess of incoherent garbage, I can’t tell if they are lazy or if it’s an actual literacy issue. And I’m barely older than they are so if this is a generational gap, it happened quickly!

Image source: NefariousSalamander, Solen Feyissa

#26 Gen Z has a very strong not my problem/not my job someone else will do it/fix it attitude.

Image source: Ghostforever7, MART PRODUCTION

#27 I’m a middle school teacher.

My kids will routinely claim they can’t do anything and then shut down and do nothing. And then… It’s easy and they do it.

It goes like this: “Everybody, here’s the assignment. Follow all the steps.”

I go around the room and one kid forgot their Chromebook, ir a pencil. One kid needs a charger. One kid doesn’t understand “any of the steps.”

So basically it’s the degree of learned helplessness. They know to ask when I go over, but if there are twenty kids and I get to them last, they will do nothing (no phones, nothing!) for twenty minutes and act surprised I’m irritated they didn’t grab a damn pencil from the freeeee pencils on my desk. And then act surprised they’re behind on the assignment!

Or I’ll ask “okay, which of the 5 steps is tough for you?” “All of them.” “K, read step 1.” “Oh. That’s easy.”

Rinse and repeat.

Image source: scarletuba

#28 I’m in my forties and I manage a small group of people who are in their 20s to early thirties. What I notice most is how anxious and fearful they seem to be. Everyone is out to get them. I often get approached by subordinates who want me to do something about a colleague who is doing them wrong in some way. After I gather more information, it almost always is a case of poor assumption about someone else’s intentions, coupled with a desire to jump to the worst case scenario. If I ask them a series of probing questions about other possible interpretations they often admit they didn’t consider those possibilities. The other thing is too much bravado – over confidence in their knowledge, skill or ability in an area. I think it’s potentially a defense mechanism to combat the fear and the people they think are out to get them.

Image source: Reasonable_Human55

#29 Everything seems to have to have a label. Not just people and groups, but every concept or just generic thing that is popular has to be given a label or a hashtag. I find it so weird, especially when it’s something that people have been doing forever, but now Gen Z have discovered it, it’s got some brand new buzzy hashtag label as though it’s just been invented.

Image source: DistractibleYou

#30 I’m manage a lot of fresh graduates in my job, and I don’t understand how in the space of just 2 years (during Covid) we went from great graduates, able to operate independently and work things out themselves to graduates who need their hand held for the most basic tasks.

Image source: 420BIF

Shanilou Perera

Shanilou has always loved reading and learning about the world we live in. While she enjoys fictional books and stories just as much, since childhood she was especially fascinated by encyclopaedias and strangely enough, self-help books. As a kid, she spent most of her time consuming as much knowledge as she could get her hands on and could always be found at the library. Now, she still enjoys finding out about all the amazing things that surround us in our day-to-day lives and is blessed to be able to write about them to share with the whole world as a profession.

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age, age gap, baby boomers, generational gap, generations, millennials
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