With how rapidly humans evolve, it’s no wonder that generational clashes are bound to happen. And in the age of social media, millennials and baby boomers are going head-to-head like no other past generations. Whether it’s an older person complaining about the overly-sensitive youth, or a young adult raging about the market their predecessors destroyed, there’s plenty of irritation to go around. From boasting about paying their way through college to pressuring young adults to settle down and start a family, these boomer generalizations top the list for things millennials can’t stand about the older generation.
When Boomers Talk About Paying Their Own Way Through College
Tumblr user Musicality posted about boomers saying things like, “When I was a kid, I had no help with college tuition, I was hardworking and paid it all myself.” In response, they noted the rapid increase in tuition costs since 1970 compared to the small change in the minimum wage.
Many boomers see younger generations as having it easier thanks to things like technological advancements and changes in parenting practices. For millennials, though, it can feel that they’ve had the tougher lot in life since they grew up in The Great Recession, as opposed to The Great Prosperity.
Complaints About Millennials Not Settling Down
Many boomers are dumbfounded by why millennials are putting off settling down and starting a family. According to a 2016 Gallup poll, half as many adults age 18 to 30 are married nowadays compared to when boomers were the same age.
Some millennials revel in the freedom that comes with no longer being identified primarily by their relationship status. One the other hand, millennials who do want to start a family may not be able to afford it. Pew Research Center reported in 2019 that “individual earnings for young workers have remained mostly flat over the past 50 years.”
Being Pressured To Buy A Home
With the cost of living going up and wages staying flat, millennials aren’t exactly in the best position to buy property. As @talzir articulated in a tweet, “If I had a dollar for every time a BabyBoomer complained about my generation, I’d have enough money to buy a house in the market they ruined.”
Boomers may feel that millennials are so busy trying to “find themselves” that they lack the ability to commit to one place or grow something lasting. That assumption can leave millennials bitter, however, if they feel financially constrained.
Criticism For Being “Glued To Their Phones”
Boomers grew up in a time when cellphones weren’t even a thought, so seeing a younger generation so attached to their devices can be unsettling. From the millennials’ perspective, though, it can feel unfair to be judged for conforming to the societal standards into which they were born.
That’s how @meghanyahnke felt when a baby boomer said it was “so sad” that she was using her phone to calculate a tip. At the same time, there is a healthy balance that should be achieved to avoid becoming too reliant on technology and out of touch with reality.
Shaming Millennials For Not Knowing Old-Timey Things
@ZacYNF tweeted about a baby boomer he taught how to print and how her response was, “We used to use carbon paper to make copies, you probably don’t even know what carbon paper is.” Millennials aren’t all peaches and cream when it comes to shaming someone’s ignorance, though.
@Zach_Wallen wrote a tweet about boomers complaining that youths can’t write in cursive. He then accused boomers of not being able to turn on their laptops without “getting 6 viruses and then wiring half your retirement money to a Nigerian Prince.” It seems that both generations have a lesson to learn.
Calling Today’s Youth More Disrespectful
Perhaps older generations will forever find younger ones disrespectful as a symptom of changing times. Some millennials certainly feel that boomers perceive them in such a way. @jonestm97 vented his frustrations by quoting them complaining about disrespectful youth and then turning around and screaming over there not being pickles on their burger.
Though the situation was hypothetical, someone did comment that they had a similar problem occur while working at Subway. To boomers’ credit, these millennials were performing the exact same overgeneralization that they were upset about.
Tipping The Waiter Little To Nothing
@bdapraa tweeted, “From serving, I’ve noticed that millennials that are even struggling to pay bills tip at least $10. But baby boomer Susan thinks it’s amazing to keep the change and it’s $1.67.” Many waiters share the sentiment that the age of guests can relate to how they generally tip.
One possible explanation is that money used to go a lot further, so boomers are out of touch with how much in tips a server needs to survive. At the same time, there are plenty of young diners who tip poorly or waiters who deliver below-average service.
Being Told That They “Can’t Take A Joke”
With “politically correct” culture at its height, many boomers have had it with curbing their language to suit millennial standards. @ahoybailey tweeted that it isn’t about the younger generation lacking a sense of humor, pointing out that millennials spend all day laughing at internet memes.
Rather, it’s that millennials are so committed to undoing social injustices of the past that they have a harder time taking certain jokes lightheartedly. Boomers may argue that the pressure to watch what you say is stepping on free speech rights. It’s a grey area that only seems to be getting murkier.
Acting Like Therapy Is Still Taboo
When boomers were growing up, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder was still called Shell Shock, and many conditions like depression, ADHD, and OCD were hardly acknowledged. Fortunately, mental health has since become much more recognized, which is why many millennials don’t understand boomers’ reluctance towards the subject.
@jordynlancaster summed up the differing viewpoints in a tweet that compared a boomer nervously whispering “therapy” to a millennial loudly announcing what they learned from their therapist today. Though someone’s mental health is personal and doesn’t have to be shared openly, doing so helps rid society of the stigma.
Boomers Who Judge Tattoos
Nowadays, tattoos are so commonplace that there’s a wide array of millennials who have them. When boomers were young, tattoos were more taboo and often misconstrued as being affiliated with troublemakers or “bad boys.” Some boomers still think this way, leading to tense encounters with tatted millennials.
@deelalz tweeted, “Another baby boomer at work looked at my arm and said ‘you know those are permanent, right?'” Apparently, this wasn’t the first time such an encounter happened. While tattoos are permanent and should thus be taken seriously, it’s undermining to point that out to someone who already has one.
Being Asked Why They Live With Their Parents
As we’ve mentioned, there’s a large disparity between how much millennials get paid and how much their boomer counterparts made at the same age. That’s why some young adults are so offended when someone from an older generation looks down on them for living at home.
Pew Research Center reported that in 2017, almost 32% of US adults had a roommate who wasn’t a romantic partner or 18 to 24-year-old student. In other words, many adults find themselves forced to share a home anyways, so millennials aren’t in as much of a hurry to flee the nest.
When Boomers Contradict Their Own Beliefs
There are many widespread beliefs nowadays that weren’t around when boomers were growing up, making it easy for them to not always see eye-to-eye with millennials. The kicker is when either generation blatantly contradicts what they claim to believe, as this tweet illustrates.
@ValeeGrrl wrote that her baby-boomer father “is a loud climate change denier but also won’t retire in South Florida cuz ‘it’s going to sink into the ocean.'” Seeing the climate change around you but denying climate change is kind of like calling poison healthy but refusing to drink it.
Making Millennials A Go-To Scapegoat
It can be easy to throw all of your frustrations at a scapegoat, and for baby boomers, this sometimes means unloading on a millennial. That’s what happened to @horselover069, who tweeted about a customer who overreacted to the restaurant not having any clam chowder.
The boomer didn’t get upset at the establishment or the chefs, but rather complained that it was somehow related to the millennial generation. Pointing the finger at someone because they are older or younger than you is easy to do; just look at the way millennials talk about baby boomers!
Not Paying Millennials Their Worth
Since millennials by and large have a harder time affording the cost of living compared to previous generations, they can sometimes grow resentful towards their baby boomer bosses. Though not all people heading companies are baby boomers, the ones who are can seem hypocritical since they grew up in a flourishing economy.
Everyone does have to start somewhere, and millennials are often accused of being too expectant. While it’s important to stay humble, employees shouldn’t be put in a position where they feel taken advantage of.
Having Everlasting Trouble With The Internet
Perhaps one of the more stereotypical nuisances millennials complain about is boomers who can’t seem to get the hang of this internet thing. Since the younger generations grew up with internet technology, getting used to a new feature is more or less second-hand.
For a boomer, on the other hand, much of modern technology is completely foreign to them. It’s like a language that millennials are fluent in and boomers are still learning. Younger generations would be wise to hold on to their patience, because who knows what they’ll struggle with one day.
Undermining Social Justice Movements
Being that boomers saw the civil rights and feminist movements of the ’60s, you would think that they would be on board for such protests nowadays. That’s why millennials are so offended when a baby boomer undermines a current social justice movement.
It gives the impression that the older generation feels they already fixed these issues. In actuality, millennials are all too aware of the problems that came about under boomers’ authority. Regardless of age, pointing the finger isn’t going to solve anything.
Calling Millennials Lazy
@Timcast tweeted that one way to confuse a millennial is to “Destroy the environment, destroy the economy, destroy the housing market, and then call millennials lazy.” His point was that millennials were not born into the best of situations, so their misfortune isn’t always linked to how productive they are.
To be fair, being a millennial doesn’t automatically make you not-lazy, just like it doesn’t immediately indicate that you’re hardworking. At the same time, it can be challenging to fight cynicism and make the most of a situation over which you have little control.
Telling Millennials To Work Harder
@Weight-a-second wrote on Tumblr that a millennial can have three jobs and still not be able to pay their rent. They then joked that a baby boomer would probably reply, “Well then, why don’t you have four jobs?” The notion that hard work creates success is one that millennials don’t quite buy these days.
Since workers don’t make what they used to, younger generations find themselves paying more for education and earning less compared to boomers. At the same time, millennials shouldn’t use their circumstances as an excuse to go nowhere.
Seeing Boomers On Their Phones
As we mentioned, millennials aren’t too fond of being accused of being lazy and cellphone addicted, and then having to go and help out boomers who are struggling with technology. That’s why when they see a boomer who is glued to their phone, it can feel like a big slap in the face.
Though millennials have no idea what that boomer may be doing on their phone or what their individual thoughts on technology are, it can be triggering all the same. To someone who has been made to feel “less than” for growing up with a phone, it doesn’t seem fair.
Having Their Degree Called Useless
Millennials are keenly aware of how expensive college degrees are and that they don’t guarantee a job, let alone a good paying one. Still, the bit of hope they have left may lead them to getting a degree in a field they truly love, regardless of the outcome.
That’s why a boomer who criticizes millennials for throwing away money on a useless degree can be so offensive. Though they may be correct in that the investment might not pay off, sometimes following an unlikely dream is the only way to combat cynicism.