Relating to Other Generations...

Is it normal to feel a disconnect with the generation below you?

I was born in 1995, so that makes me 27/28 and one of the last Millenials (or as some people call people born close to the cutoff point, Zillenials), yet I still feel a big disconnect between myself and Gen Z and an even more significant disconnect between myself and people under 20/21.

Growing up, I related more to my now 30-year-old cousin (born in 1993) than I do to my brother (1999) or my other cousin (2004). I can barely keep up with, or understand Gen Z’s way of thinking, or their slang (I’m always on Google trying to figure it out), and I can’t understand the “wokeness” that comes with it.

When I was growing up, we had movies like Little Man, a bunch of Adam Sandler stuff, and other things pre-Marvel that wouldn’t fly today. We had oversexualized music, with simple beats and violent video games keeping us afloat. We went outside to play and weren’t chronically online.

I didn’t get my first actual phone until I was about 10 or 11, and I had begged for months to get one until my parents gave in. It was a Motorola one and basic. It had a number pad (yikes :open_mouth: ) and you had to use a navigation panel to scroll through the menu. It barely had internet on it, and texts cost money to send.

Now, I see Gen Z with phones as an extension of their arm and nonexistent attention spans tweeting about things they don’t know, whilst perhaps having good intentions as slacktivists. Or scrolling through TikTok like it’s a news website, listening to music void of tone.

Not to make fun of Gen Z, but things are sure different than I remember them to be. The things that were considered acceptable to me probably wouldn’t fly with Gen Z. The digital era has created a whole different culture, and worldview than before social media got popular.

People have become more socially conscious as a result, and although many teens (and young adults) mean well, sometimes it creates a rift between people who grew up pre-internet/social media, or even their own generation who grew up differently/came late to the digital party.

Maybe that is part of the reason why I get on better with Millenials, and people who are a few years older than me (and people over 25 in general). We’re on a similar wavelength. Yes, there are some Gen Z users on the same wavelength as me and we get on well and share similar opinions (shoutout to you, you know who you are) but they seem far and few between.

I wonder does anyone else have this problem?


Hm, I think that it’s entirely normal to be able to relate to your generation more than younger/older generations. Why I do feel it’s not entirely necessary in connecting/relating to someone, it does help bridge a gap. You both grew up in a time with similar values, social issues, and popularity trends–this means you already have more to talk about and it would be easier to make friends with someone from your generation (despite not knowing them then) then it would the younger/older generation, who perhaps experienced different things.

I also feel like generations are so easy to play a blame-game with one another. “Your generation has to fix this this and that caused by older generation.” The younger generation then puts part of the blame on them, “Well if you didn’t do this this and that then our generation wouldn’t have to fix it!” And then it becomes a circular argument with little compassion or objectivity. Like, this, this, and that couldn’t have been fixed then because of this social issue, this political issue, and this war issue. Different generations suffered from different problems an crisis and I think both are so unwilling, or unable to, communicate these hardships without facing constant ridicule from the other. Like, the younger generation will tell the older generation that they’re emotionally stunted. Well, okay. This may be true–but they’re not actually asking why that is. They’re blaming them for an issue they all suffer with and, at the end of the day, was not their fault. And then the older generation will call the younger generations entitled, self-centered, or “too” sympathetic. Well, okay. Why is that? Because they grew up with and experienced an environment, political system, and social structure that was so badly damaged they feel there’s little to no hope in fixing it. Then they’ll get told “you’re too young to understand” and walk off.

I think people have the hardest time with change and growth. Like, I was also part of the group that had to beg for the smallest of items, because my family grew up in poverty. When I see my younger siblings able to obtain technologies I spent my entire childhood desiring, it can feel a little bitter. Well, why can’t they suffer as I have? Why can’t they just go play outside? And I’m not saying criticism isn’t warranted, as I feel a lot of this generation could benefit by unplugging. But, let’s look at the facts. We are in a significantly more technologically advanced world now then we were then. If we were to take this technology entirely away from children, the would be put at a major disadvantage in school, in keeping up with social trends, or even being able to communicate with friends. Why? Because even if your kid doesn’t have these things, their friends do, and this is the way they spend time together.

It’s hard to understand change, and differences in one another’s generations, but I think comparing the old to the new is never a satisfactory way of attaining true understanding–or at least compassion/knowledge–of one another if we’re so quick to dismiss the pivot from one generation to the next. If you’re talking about values, music becoming more sexual, tv shows and movies covering more “hot topic” issues, that has always been there. It’s just that sexual music or hot button issues in your time were different than they are now, and that’s ok. That’s how it should be.


That’s probably normal! I have a different view of Gen Z, though. I don’t use TikTok, IG or any of the sites they do so maybe you’re right, but from what I see, Gen Z seems to be totally indifferent to social and environmental issues. It’s the older, hippie generations that seem to care more about political stuff, and Gen Z seems to care only about the issues that directly affect them right here right now. And that’s fine; I wouldn’t expect kids to be socially conscious. They’re out partying and getting drunk and having fun, ignoring anything that gets in the way of that. They seem to be all about escapism, but of course, maybe that depends on region and local politics…? ¯\_(ﭢ)_/¯

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We’re all drinking and doing drugs preparing for the inevitable fate that climate change will likely claim us at 50, we’re never gonna own a home, we put in exceptionally more effort for very little reward, we’re all poor as hell and depressed, and we’re never gonna retire.

Half my generation are still minors. They have all the same stuff going for them as minors typically do—impulsive, somewhat selfish, and don’t really think things through. It’s just being broadcast for the entire world to see. They’ll change as they get older and their brains develop more—and then they can become like us, the older part of Gen Z, trying to stem our endless mental health issues.

I don’t think we’re any different than Millennials. Just Millennial Lite who got shafted by graduating into COVID instead of 2008.

Oh, and we, the adult part of Gen Z, didn’t have cellphones until we were teenagers, either. People seem to forget that. Our first phones were also flip phones. :slight_smile:


Absolutely. You settle into your nostalgia phase right when they are hitting their “prime novelty”.


I used to have TikTok and I used to have Facebook.
I never had Instagram nor Twitter. I see those two as promotional things for your job, personally.

I am 32 years old and well I suppose I am young at heart, but even still, I am not at the same time.

Some slang I don’t get or don’t even say in a conversation.
I honestly wouldn’t fret about it.

I don’t relate to people younger than me that much neither.
I sometimes relate to people who are older, but I feel I relate a bit better to people around my age if that makes sense.


I find it funny that I was born in 1999 and I relate more with millennials than Gen Z. :joy: I guess that’s because I have a brother in his 30s?? Idk, I just can’t relate to Gen Z besides the slang and prob some other things. I have a friend a year younger than me who helps with the slang, I just catch on with the context around the words.

This was my childhood also. I think it depends on how we were raised. Although, I wasn’t a violent video game girl, I was more into Super Mario games and other Nintendo games my big brother introduced me to. And I was singing along to sexual music without knowing what they meant until I grew older. My parents never bothered to monitor my music because they knew I didn’t understand.

I’m honestly glad I was born in 1999. I didn’t start using the internet how I use it today until I was like 13 so my childhood was mostly out in the front playing with the neighborhood kids. I didn’t get my first iPhone until middle school. My first flipphone was when I was 11, when I started walking to school myself.

A lot of the older Gen Z’ers relate to millennials, more than you think. You just gotta find us. :sob: We’re lost in a very big sea.


I was born in 1997, and I grew up with a “millennial” lifestyle, considering my siblings being 2-5 years older than me (my oldest sister, who is 31, was my closest friend up until she moved out when I was 15-16). But because I’m the youngest of the group, I became super close to my little sister (born in 2006, turning 17 soon). It was just us two for years because my four older siblings were out of the picture. And because we were the only ones hanging out, I was able to feel younger than I actually was.

I’m on the cusp of both generations, and personally, I don’t feel like either or. Growing up with box TVs, CD players, not having a phone until I was 19, my parents never knowing where I was without telling them or a phone call, being there at the start of social media like MySpace and Facebook, knowing how horrible cell phones were before touch screen, having to rewind VHS tapes and sticking a pencil or something in that little gear thing to fix the tape thing itself, the adventures of going to Blockbuster on a Friday night to pick out cool movies to watch, and so much more… makes me feel like I’m a millennial in that kind of way because the younger Gen Z and Gen Alpha will never know these experiences… But then I also think of having to grow up with my little sister, and how I understand her and have gone through similar experiences also makes me feel like I’m Gen Z. It’s weird.

But I also think that it depends on the experiences you’ve had and what sets you apart from them to feel said connection. Like, if I hadn’t experienced those “millennial” things, I probably would feel closer to Gen Z than I do now. And the same for those who were born in the mid to late 90s.

And, on that note, I think a lot of people misuse “Gen Z” for Gen Alpha. Like, Gen Z is 1996-1997 to 2009, so the oldest Gen Z is about 26-27 with the youngest being fourteen, whereas Gen Alpha is from 2010 to now (oldest being thirteen, youngest being a newborn). Some of the slang, trends, and more come from Gen Alpha and the youngest Gen Z, not the older ones. And some of the older ones, even up to millennials, hear of those trends or slang words or whatever, and gets on the same train as them. My oldest sister was born in 1992, and while at times, she connects more with the older millennials, she also—like myself—connects with Gen Z. And a part of this may also be because she has Gen Z friends (and a Gen Z boyfriend now—he’s 22, almost 23) and she also has a life group class at her church where she’s a leader of Gen Z kids (15-18).

This feeling may also stem from the thought of feeling like people who are younger are too different from you. I’ve heard of people saying that they “can’t understand people a year younger than them” which is weird to me because one year is not that big of a difference. :sweat_smile: I had a colleague who was 24 and thought of me as like a five year old even though I was 19. Like, no. I’m not that much younger than you. :roll_eyes:

But on the other hand, it’s completely normal to feel more connected to those who are around your age, if not, older just because of those experiences and, like you said, wavelength.

Personally, I wonder if I connect with Gen Z not only because of my sister, but also because it’s hard for me to realize I’m twenty-six. In my mind, I’m sixteen. I understand teenagers more than most adults because I still feel like a teenager. To me, it hasn’t been ten years since then. It was yesterday where I was in school and freaking out about an upcoming test. I can still feel the weird leather seats on the bus, and the way it smelled, and how a classroom smelled. How, as a child, I would sit up close to the TV and watch reruns of Scooby Doo and Camp Lazlo while having a pizza or taco lunchable. It’s a weird feeling to me, and maybe I think of myself this way because I miss it…


I know enough Zoomers to know they’re not all weirdos (I’m a '94 baby), but sometimes I’ll encounter a broccoli-top dumbass in real life and I gotta remind myself they were raised differently.