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Want To Get Along Better With Younger Generations? Ditch These 7 Annoying Phrases

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Want To Get Along Better With Younger Generations? Ditch These 7 Annoying Phrases
Apart from catching up with distant relatives, large family gatherings are fertile ground to highlight the inescapable, unavoidable fact that different generations will never see eye to eye on every issue.
The circumstances of their formative years, the cultural zeitgeist of their time, and their feelings on the matters that matter to them, are almost assuredly indistinguishable.
Case in point: The spectre of cancel culture, a contemporary concern for the social media age.
So how does one convey the hard-wrought wisdom that comes with experience?
With a touch of grace and compassion, so as to avoid verbal kerfuffles with the younglings over mooncakes, even if you think they’re all just oversensitive narcissists with short attention spans and a penchant for armchair activism.
This is a list of seven trigger phrases guaranteed sure to set off indignant fireworks – and another seven substitutes to teach young’uns, without lecturing ’em.
1. Back in my day, we had it worse
Indeed, we didn’t – which is why our generation slogged our guts out to invent them, all in an effort to make life more comfortable and enjoyable than it was in our time. We earned money, put food on the table and sent them to school, so they could pursue their dreams.
Instead of belittling the problems of today – or indeed, progress made – it might do us better to challenge the next generation to adopt the same pioneering spirit in all they do.
2. When I was your age, I was already married
Want To Get Along Better With Younger Generations? Ditch These 7 Annoying Phrases - married
There’s nothing that says “generation gap” more than making reference to a bygone age.
Times, and timelines, have changed drastically in the last half-century. The post-industrial era has ushered in a new set of cultural norms, including both the participation of both men and women in the workforce and a skew towards higher education.
As a result, relationships, marriage and children are being put on the backburner in favour of careers, education, or the classically millennial habit of collecting experiences.
If you’re going to ask about timelines, try to keep it open-ended rather than prescriptive (“it’s high time you found a girlfriend”).
They’ll still probably complain about it on Instagram, but at least you’re giving them a chance to bow out gracefully.
3. You’re too young to understand. You’ll only understand once you’re older
Nobody likes being talked down to, not even wide-eyed, idealistic youngsters.
Implying that you’ve dished out the best and only advice worth listening to, before not-so-subtly stating that you wish them the worst of luck in their endeavours, is a surefire way to get sound advice ignored.
Once you’ve said your piece, that’s your job done as a parent, grandparent or mentor.
If they end up right, you’d have gained some valuable perspective on the current world. And if they’re wrong, well, some lessons are best learnt at the school of hard knocks.
4. Kids these days are so sensitive
Want To Get Along Better With Younger Generations? Ditch These 7 Annoying Phrases - sensitive
First, the elephant in the room: The younger generations are undoubtedly more sensitive than their hard-as-nails, forged-in-fire ancestors. But that’s a product of their cosier environment and upbringing – which again, is something we worked hard to accomplish.
The second implication of a sensitive generation is the rise of political correctness. Whether that’s a much-needed correction from an intolerant past, or an overreaction bordering on absurdity, will depend on who you ask.
What we can say is that sensitivity to other people’s feelings usually comes as a result of improved living conditions, freeing up bandwidth from physiological concerns to more abstract issues like emotional and mental wellbeing.
If a cosier upbringing has led to undue expectations about how the (real) world works, it’s easier to bring someone back to earth when you mellow out the cold-hearted logic with empathy and reason.
That goes double when grappling with unfamiliar concepts like political correctness.
After all, cultural norms have shifted significantly. Understanding the shift comes before deciding if you agree with them (and by the way, it is okay to disagree with them). Which brings us to the next item on the list…
5. Are you going out dressed like that?
Want To Get Along Better With Younger Generations? Ditch These 7 Annoying Phrases - apparel
Like we said, cultural mores change with the times. What’s considered risque apparel yesterday might become prudish tomorrow.
That applies also to behaviours, tastes, hobbies and everything else people get up to, whether that be sipping on fruity cocktails as a dude or, for that matter, heading into a club as a silver.
After all, nobody likes to be labelled or put into boxes.
Unless it’s blatantly inappropriate, dangerous or downright illegal, live and let live.
6. Why don’t you know how to…
Want To Get Along Better With Younger Generations? Ditch These 7 Annoying Phrases - fixed things
Like we’ve said, the younger generation have grown up in a very different environment.
Around the world, and in Singapore especially, children devote much of their childhood to performing well in school.
This leaves little time for learning about handiwork around the house, especially when both parents were often at work.
That being said, it is no excuse for youngsters to remain perpetually helpless. As a parent or mentor, why not teach them a thing or two?
You’d want them to treat you with the same patience when it comes to dealing with modern-day concerns that are naturally their domain of expertise, like setting up a Facebook account or troubleshooting a router.
7. Why are you so addicted to your phone?
Mobile phones and their supercharged successors, smartphones, have been around for a good while now, so this isn’t something you hear all too often anymore.
It is understandably frustrating for younger people when they are given undue advice on how and when to use their phones.
Having grown up with instant messaging apps, youngsters typically communicate asynchronously (not at the same time), sporadically and often.
Furthermore, most digitally enabled silvers are just as likely to spend an inordinate amount of time on their phones, except on different platforms.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that common courtesy goes out the window. There is a time and place where phones should be put away.

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