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Ready for a rant?
Baby Boomers, Gen Xers and Millennials alike, it’s time to talk Gen Z.
Over the years, each generation has had their share of pet peeves, Protestant work ethic gripes from hardworking Boomers; cries against lax parenting from Gen Xers; and fierce debates over technology etiquette between Millennials, but now is the time when actual teenagers make us grind our teeth in frustration.
If you’ve ever found yourself shaking your head at TikTok trends or rolling your eyes during an impromptu dance-off on Zoom, then you know: young people today can really try one’s patience!
Here are 14 of the most irritating habits adopted by this new wave of youth that might have even the most zen adults reaching for a Xanax before long.
#1. An Obsession With Flaunting Wealth
It’s no secret that Gen Zers like to show off.
From luxurious vacations to the latest must-have gadgets, young people today can’t seem to get enough of flaunting their financial success on social media.
Unfortunately, this habit can quickly lead to conflict between those who have and those who don’t, setting a dangerous example for impressionable minds.
Unsurprisingly, this behavior has also caused a lot of tension among family members and friends who aren’t quite as fortunate.
#2. Anyone Born Before 2000 Is Old
It’s no wonder that Gen Zers often feel superior, they’re practically the kings and queens of the internet!
But despite their expertise in all things tech-related, many young people have adopted a rather outdated attitude towards people born before the new millennium.
By referring to anyone born before 2000 as “old” or “outdated,” Gen Zers are not only insulting their elders, but they’re also ignoring the wisdom and experience that comes with age.
#3. Dancing Anytime, Anywhere
TikTok has given rise to a new generation of dancers.
And while there’s nothing inherently wrong with breaking into dance, the sheer randomness of it has left many boomers perplexed.
Gone are the days of ‘Save the Last Dance.’
Now, it’s all about capturing that 15-second dance routine in the middle of a grocery aisle.
#4. Oversharing and Under-sharing Paradox
Gen Z is the most open generation, documenting their lives on social media and the most private, using platforms like Snapchat, where messages disappear, and Finstas (Fake Instagram accounts) for their more “real” content.
This paradoxical approach to sharing has left many older adults trying to catch up.
#5. Cancel Culture
While accountability is essential, the speed and severity with which Gen Z cancels celebrities, brands, or even their peers can be jarring for others.
The dialogue about accountability versus ‘canceling’ continues to be a topic of intergenerational debate.
Often, the lines blur between genuine concern and bandwagon criticism, leaving no room for growth or understanding.
#6. Middle Part Rebellion
Remember the days when a side part was the epitome of style?
Apparently, Gen Z didn’t get the memo.
The push for the middle part, especially on platforms like TikTok, has many millennials feeling attacked.
Their defense of the side part isn’t just about aesthetics. It’s about identity.
That seemingly innocuous shift in hair alignment became an unintentional generational boundary.
#7. The Quest for Virality
Gen Z’s obsession with going viral is a phenomenon that often puzzles boomers.
While both generations are digitally savvy, Gen Z seems to be constantly searching for the next big trend or challenge to earn them their 15 minutes (or 15 seconds) of fame on platforms like TikTok.
Yet, this chase for virality also hints at the pressure they face in a digital world where relevance is fleeting.
#8. The Resurgence of Retro
Millennials watched in amused confusion as Gen Z brought back trends from the 90s and early 2000s: bucket hats, platform shoes, and tiny sunglasses.
It’s a nostalgic trip down memory lane for millennials but also a reminder that fashion is cyclical.
And while it’s endearing to see these styles get a modern twist, millennials can’t help but chuckle at their younger counterparts’ newfound discoveries.
#9. Documenting Emotional Breakdowns
It’s essential to be open about mental health, but the trend of recording and sharing raw emotional breakdowns concerns many in other generations.
Is it a genuine cry for help, a call for attention, or just the modern way of processing emotions?
Watching these videos, Gen Xers often find themselves torn between wanting to offer a comforting word and pondering the ethics of such public vulnerability.
#10. The Rebranding of Classics
Referring to beloved yoga pants as “flare leggings” is almost sacrilegious to millennials.
Similarly, laying claim to the emo culture as if millennials weren’t its founding fathers and mothers is another point of contention.
It’s not about ownership but about honoring the origins.
Change is inevitable, and every generation reshapes culture, but sometimes millennials wish Gen Z would tread a tad more lightly on their nostalgic toes.
#11. Abbreviation Nation
Let’s be honest: every generation loves a good shorthand.
While millennials thought they had the upper hand with ‘TTYL’ (talk to you later), Gen Z has come out with an entire arsenal of acronyms that might make anyone pre-1995 scratch their heads.
Dive into their world, and “IYKYK” (If You Know You Know) is merely the beginning of the fun.
And when they say “smh” (shaking my head), it’s less about the head movement and more like an inside joke about the world’s latest shenanigans.
#12. Label Evolution
The way Gen Z embraces and expands upon labels, especially in gender and sexuality, is commendable and a learning curve for others.
While older adults were pivotal in pushing for acceptance, Gen Z is redefining the boundaries.
This constant evolution speaks to a broader understanding of identity, encouraging society to be more reflective and accepting.
#13. Embracing the Aesthetic Lifestyle
While millennials were busy adjusting the filters on their Instagram posts, Gen Z took the concept of living for the ‘aesthetic’ to a new level.
From retro-inspired bedroom designs to meticulously crafted Instagram feeds, this generation knows how to make everything look picture-perfect.
Sometimes, it feels too orchestrated for millennials who once championed the candid snap.
#14. Overuse of the Sparkles Emoji for Emphasis
The sparkles emoji has been around for a while, but Gen Z has increased its usage.
While millennials might sprinkle it in occasionally for some added pizzazz, Gen Z uses it for just about everything, leading to serious eye rolls from the older crowd.
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I have over 15 years experience in the financial services industry and 20 years investing in the stock market. I have both my undergrad and graduate degrees in Finance, and am FINRA Series 65 licensed and have a Certificate in Financial Planning.
Visit my About Me page to learn more about me and why I am your trusted personal finance expert.