How Millenials hurt themselves socially

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How Millenials hurt themselves socially

So I’m a Mil­lenial. Well, or a Xen­nial (or maybe an Ore­gon Trailer!) since I’m a bit older, or maybe some­thing else. But in this crazy world, I can iden­tify as a Mil­lenial, so that should be good enough for you, and you’ll just have to accept me as I am.

I work with lots of younger Mil­lenials. I like them, and I think most of the Mil­lenial crit­i­cism has more to do with com­ing from bro­ken fam­i­lies. But I’m see­ing a few trends that seem to be unique to this upcom­ing gen­er­a­tion. More impor­tantly, I worry that these are hold­ing peo­ple back when they have to work with older people.

Start with RSVPs, or rather, the lack of them. Mil­lenials don’t RSVP for any­thing. Wed­dings, din­ners, busi­ness meet­ings, what­ever it is, if I ask peo­ple to RSVP, I’m lucky if 20% do. I’ve had din­ners where 20 peo­ple sent RSVPs and I had 45 show up. While it’s awe­some to have the occa­sional sur­prise guest, it makes plan­ning dif­fi­cult. In this case, it put a lot of pres­sure on the restau­rant staff to find us a place to sit.

So tip num­ber one: Take the ten sec­onds to RSVP and put the date and place on your Google Cal­en­dar. It’ll take less time than read­ing that bad Vox arti­cle on your phone.

Speak­ing of phones, being on your smart phone when some­one is try­ing to have a con­ver­sa­tion with you is a huge faux-​pah. I’m guilty of this one, and I’ve started either putting the phone on the table or leav­ing it in my car if I’m out with a friend. I’ve also adjusted the set­tings so that it doesn’t ring or chime unless it’s a text mes­sage or phone call, since get­ting buzzed for every Face­book reply is just annoying.

More impor­tantly, it stunts your growth in terms of learn­ing how to con­verse with peo­ple. When you’re talk­ing to some­one, you pick up on facial expres­sions, tone, hand motions, and all sorts of other things con­ve­niently fil­tered out by the text on social media. It takes time to mas­ter that, but prac­tic­ing with peo­ple that you like will help you work with dif­fi­cult peo­ple in the future.

So tip num­ber two: Leave the phone behind and enjoy talk­ing to your friends and family.

Let’s talk about clothes. Clothes say a lot about you. Any­time I’ve found myself rushed and wear­ing a wrin­kled shirt, I feel bad, because I think it just looks unpro­fes­sional. Appar­ently I’m in the minor­ity. I see plenty of peo­ple wear­ing jeans and grubby t-​shirts to church, to busi­ness meet­ings, and to work. If you work on a farm or an auto­body shop, grubby clothes make sense. If you work in an office, they don’t.

Now, I know that Face­book and Google are all like “We have relaxed dress codes, and we’re the cool kids!” But you prob­a­bly don’t work at Face­book. Or Google. And you prob­a­bly aren’t that cool to begin with. You’re just like the rest of us. Sorry to break it to you.

And that brings tip num­ber three: Dress nicely. A col­lared shirt and slacks/​skirt go a long way.

I don’t think Mil­lenials need to lose their iden­tity. But I don’t like see­ing them lose out on oppor­tu­ni­ties because of sim­ple bad habits. Many of these have become too preva­lent to think they will die out over time, so it depends on us self-​identifying Xen­ni­als to point them out and fix them.


This post rep­re­sents the views of the author and not those of the Depart­ment of Defense, Depart­ment of the Navy, or any other Fed­eral entity.

Check out my blog and drop a tip in Da Tip Jar!

So I’m a Millenial. Well, or a Xennial (or maybe an Oregon Trailer!) since I’m a bit older, or maybe something else. But in this crazy world, I can identify as a Millenial, so that should be good enough for you, and you’ll just have to accept me as I am.

I work with lots of younger Millenials. I like them, and I think most of the Millenial criticism has more to do with coming from broken families. But I’m seeing a few trends that seem to be unique to this upcoming generation. More importantly, I worry that these are holding people back when they have to work with older people.

Start with RSVPs, or rather, the lack of them. Millenials don’t RSVP for anything. Weddings, dinners, business meetings, whatever it is, if I ask people to RSVP, I’m lucky if 20% do. I’ve had dinners where 20 people sent RSVPs and I had 45 show up. While it’s awesome to have the occasional surprise guest, it makes planning difficult. In this case, it put a lot of pressure on the restaurant staff to find us a place to sit.

So tip number one: Take the ten seconds to RSVP and put the date and place on your Google Calendar. It’ll take less time than reading that bad Vox article on your phone.

Speaking of phones, being on your smart phone when someone is trying to have a conversation with you is a huge faux-pah. I’m guilty of this one, and I’ve started either putting the phone on the table or leaving it in my car if I’m out with a friend. I’ve also adjusted the settings so that it doesn’t ring or chime unless it’s a text message or phone call, since getting buzzed for every Facebook reply is just annoying.

More importantly, it stunts your growth in terms of learning how to converse with people. When you’re talking to someone, you pick up on facial expressions, tone, hand motions, and all sorts of other things conveniently filtered out by the text on social media. It takes time to master that, but practicing with people that you like will help you work with difficult people in the future.

So tip number two: Leave the phone behind and enjoy talking to your friends and family.

Let’s talk about clothes. Clothes say a lot about you. Anytime I’ve found myself rushed and wearing a wrinkled shirt, I feel bad, because I think it just looks unprofessional. Apparently I’m in the minority. I see plenty of people wearing jeans and grubby t-shirts to church, to business meetings, and to work. If you work on a farm or an autobody shop, grubby clothes make sense. If you work in an office, they don’t.

Now, I know that Facebook and Google are all like “We have relaxed dress codes, and we’re the cool kids!” But you probably don’t work at Facebook. Or Google. And you probably aren’t that cool to begin with. You’re just like the rest of us. Sorry to break it to you.

And that brings tip number three: Dress nicely. A collared shirt and slacks/skirt go a long way.

I don’t think Millenials need to lose their identity. But I don’t like seeing them lose out on opportunities because of simple bad habits. Many of these have become too prevalent to think they will die out over time, so it depends on us self-identifying Xennials to point them out and fix them.


This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other Federal entity.

Check out my blog and drop a tip in Da Tip Jar!