5 mysterious rituals of millennials uncovered

Two young women taking a selfie together and using one of their hair to make a moustache.
Photo by Peter Bernik/Shutterstock

While some things about millennials are obvious, like their love of vampires (directly related to their fear of aging), their never ending desire to watch cat videos (everyone knows cats are cute), and their obsession with brunch (you get to sleep in late and then order a cocktail with your eggs), other things remain a mystery to anyone who isn’t a member of the inclusive Gen Y club.

On demand everything

Young woman with credit card buying something online.

Photo by gpointstudio/Shutterstock

Millennials love simplicity, and work hard every day to make life easier. However, they also want more choices and unlimited options. Basically, they want it now, or they don’t want it at all. That means millennials want everything at their fingertips, including music, television, books, news, food, dating, transportation, and probably anything else you can think of.

This demand resulted in many of today’s greatest achievements: Netflix, Uber, Spotify, Amazon, Tinder, and apps for everything you can think of. Want to make a grocery list? There’s an app for it. Want to get the best Thai food in town delivered to your favourite park? There’s an app for it. Want to pay your bills while sitting on the toilet? You guessed it; there’s an app for it. Millennials also want to make their purchases at the exact moment when they realize they need something, so you can now buy literally anything on the Internet, and spend a few extra dollars for same-day delivery.

Hooking Up

A young couple taking a selfie in a diner.

Photo by Peter Bernik/Shutterstock

When it comes to dating, millennials, well, don’t. Or at least they claim not to. The term dating has almost exclusively been replaced by “hanging out” or “hooking up.” Millennials are forward thinking liberals who believe in the motto, work hard, play hard. They are highly educated, which means they often concentrate on their careers instead of getting married, and put off having families and home owning until later in life.

This delayed “adulting” means they often don’t want to settle down, or have higher standards when it comes to choosing a partner. When you’re hooking up with someone, it just means that you’re casually dating them. No strings, no commitments, just late night texting and occasionally hanging out. And yes, hooking up also means they are having sex.

Technology dependence

A diverse group of young people all on their digital devices.

Photo by Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock

The total and absolute dependence on technology isn’t really a mystery; everyone knows that millennials can’t be away from their phones for more than five minutes. They are so afraid of being away from their phones that there is even a word for it: nomophobia. But why are millennials so obsessed with their technology? Well, the answer to that question is actually pretty simple. They have FOMO (fear of missing out).

Basically, a millennial worries that if they don’t check their social media accounts every hour, they will be the last person to find out about the newest international incident, celebrity mishap, or political scandal. And that just isn’t okay. Millennials are a generation of activists, so they always want to know what’s going on and they have a need to stay relevant.

Millennials also rely on their cell phones to stay in touch with their friends and to include themselves in the social media world. Sure, they might use emojis instead of actual emotional responses, and have a genuine fear of phone calls, but all the memes, hashtags, and selfies are actually just the millennial’s way of communicating with each other and the rest of the world.

Using words in a new way

Young person shouting loudly with a big megaphone.

Photo by Robert Kneschke/Shutterstock

Millennials, like any generation, have come up with their own secret language. They love mashing two words together to create portmanteaus, such as jeggings (jeans + leggings), cronuts (croissant + donut), sexting (sex + texting), and hangry (hungry + angry). They also love repurposing old words to have new meanings and creating catch phrases (blame the hashtag for the former):

Break the Internet – No, they don’t actually mean the Internet is broken. Don’t check your modem or Internet connection. Breaking the Internet happens when everyone starts talking and posting about one thing at the same time. Sometimes it’s called “going viral”. For example, the latest Kardashian sex scandal broke the Internet, or the half-naked picture of the Kardashian went viral.

Bro – This used to be short for the word brother, but it now refers to guys who only think about sex and overtly-masculine activities, like drinking beer and playing hockey. The word bro is often mashed together with another word to create a bros-only word, such as brodown, which is like a party, but just for bros, or bromance, which is when two bros are best friends.

Sorry not sorry – Wait, what? This term exploded into millennial vocabulary with as much force as YOLO, but it’s less annoying and longer lasting. Sorry not sorry is used when a millennial does something other people might feel bad about, but they don’t. For example, when a millennial eats an entire kimchi burrito that could have fed a family of five and they are ridiculously full, but still don’t regret a single bite.

The struggle is real – This is a great one. When a millennial does something particularly awkward or embarrassing in everyday life, such as wearing two different shoes to work without noticing all day, buying dog clothes for their baby, or forgetting their bottle of craft beer was in the freezer and it exploded, they will admit that due to their forgetfulness, or clumsy nature, the struggle is real. It’s also a student favourite because it can be used when you’re poor and ate all your boxes of mac and cheese.

Retro obsession

A collection of eighties objects like a cassette, record, headphones.

Photo by tomertu/Shutterstock

Millennials absolutely love nostalgia. It’s one of their favourite things. Flea markets, yard sales and second hand stores are flooded with Gen Y’ers who are looking to fill their homes with the styles of yesteryear. This love of used goods comes from the millennial’s need to be unique. If they buy a piece of furniture from a flea market, there is a much lower chance of their friend having the same piece. Mass-produced coffee tables? Don’t even think about it.

And it’s not just furniture; millennials also love typewriters, VHS players, record players, old cars, and retro fashion. They want to hang broken old cameras on their walls and use floorboards from an old barn to make new tables. Millennials frown upon waste, having been brought up as the first generation of obsessive recyclers, so repurposing old items makes them feel warm and fuzzy. Why buy something new if you can just reuse something old?

Also on RNR: