Why do Millenials find it so difficult to make meaningful connections?
As technology has grown in popularity and made communication thousands of times easier than it has been in the past. It’s estimated that there are now twice as many mobile phones on the planet as there are humans, which is an insane number. It makes sense when you think about it, most people have a mobile phone and many of us have spares lying around in drawers or cupboards that we can utilise if our favoured handset gives out.
These little devices have made our lives ridiculously easy and eliminated a lot of the need for genuine human contact. A lot of us don’t even go outside to go to the supermarket, opting instead for the more convenient home delivery option.
So, why do Millenials find it so hard to form connections with others?
Well, I believe that there are a few factors which prevent from doing so, knowing that I’m guilty or subect to a lot of these issues.
ALLOWING YOURSELF TO BELIEVE PEOPLE ONLY CARE ABOUT THEMSELVES
I’m definitely guilty of this one and I believe it’s a combination of being raised in an old-fashioned, church oriented community and extreme media sensationalism. There is a lot of hysteria surrounding the Coronavirus at the moment and I remember when that same type of fear would revolve around kids being kidnapped and held against their will, stabbings, shootings, robberies and sexual assaults, some of which were happening less than five minutes walk from where I lived.
I didn’t grow up in a bad neighbourhood either, it was the richer side of a poor town. We lived there because it was convenient I think. My grandparents were there and they had a lot of roots in the town, despite the fact that neither side of the family were originally from there if you went back a couple of generations. But that false sense of security and being in the bubble of middle class society meant that I was scared of everything.
I’d guess that most Millenials grew up in a somewhat similar situation, casting my mind back and thinking about where my friends from high school grew up too. Even the ones who could be considered poor by socio-economic standards lived in decent neighbourhoods where the worst thing that happened to you was that you stood in dog faeces and had people laugh at you when you got on the bus.
So, it makes sense when you add that deeply ingrained, sensationalised fear pumped into us through TV, radio and newspapers from a young age and throw in the internet to fuel that fear 10 years later. The wildly spun conspiracy theories that used to be considered nonsense are now given more air time on the internet and it fuels that learnt fear that people are just out to get you. So, that’s reason one.
NEVER UNDERSTANDING DIFFERENT SOCIAL BEHAVIOURS
Perhaps this is another byproduct of my youth and maybe there are people who don’t feel this because they grew up in different environments.
I grew up in a town that in 2017 handed in a census that read 98.9% white protestant. If you’ve ever thought that you’ve been in a WASP (White Anglo Saxon Protestant) stronghold then you’ve never been to St. Helens in Merseyside.
When you grow up surrounded by the same type of people on a daily basis and are rarely in contact with anyone from a different ethnicity or culture, you get used to a certain behaviour and it becomes difficult to adjust to anything new.
I want to state here that my home town has gone downhill a lot, just in case anyone has visited recently. There are not a lot of shops open, the economy is broken and there is a much lower culture than there used to be. I don’t really know the reason for this, but assume that it’s something to do with the powerhouses like Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds taking money away from the smaller towns that surround them. When I was younger, the town was mostly middle class and upper class people, so manners and politeness was everything.
So, it stands to reason that when I moved out of the town and went off to university, I was looking for certain standards of behaviour in my friend group and wasn’t willing to allow manners to slip. This hasn’t changed at any point for me and I still find it important to be as gentlemanly as possible when I can.
It means that it’s hard for me to accept what I consider negative behaviour and I assume that many people have experiences with too.
CREATING A FALSE PROFILE
There’s a cliche that we all wear masks to cover up our true identities in a cold impersonal society, but I think there’s a reason it’s a cliche.
It started with Myspace. The first social media platform that gave us the ability to post our own identity online and manipulate it to show the best parts of us, or at least the parts that we considered to be the best.
That’s when I think things started to go downhill for personal growth and development of friendships since people always had access to how we were feeling and what we were doing but never really knew what we were feeling on the inside. A lot of social media is just for show. Posting pictures of yourself on a beautiful beach with a slogan like “never going back home, my heart is in Ibiza,” or whatever cool, original catchphrase your sun soaked, alcohol dipped brain has managed to come up with, knowing full well that you have to go back home to restart your dead end job and support your misbehaving children and maintain your increasingly boring life.
It might sound a little bit harsh, but that’s the truth. The person that you’re pretending to be in those pictures isn’t real. They never were and that’s the problem. How are we supposed to make friends when we are constantly being judged on a fake platform that we’ve created to make ourselves seem a little more fun, creative and interesting than we really are?
One of the things I often reminisce about regarding some of my old friends is doing nothing with each other and still having a good time. We’d spend hours playing stupid trading card games and laughing at one word utterances like some sort of Liverpuddlian version of Beavis and Butthead, but that’s what friendship was. You didn’t have to be interesting all the time, you understood that your friends were just as boring, annoying and gross as yourself. As teenagers, we didn’t think we were gross but looking back on it, it’s obvious and I understand that’s what made the friendships work.
If you look at the list of the happiest places to live on Earth, the UK doesn’t come anywhere near the top 10 and that’s not surprising at all. We are overworked, undervalued and devoid of sunlight most of the year.
Now, this isn’t true for everyone and I actually feel quite lucky to be British and to have a decent job, but one must consider the idea that it’s difficult to get through five days of anything, even if you love it, so there’s a strong argument in favour of Norway, Sweden and Denmark who have been trialling four day working weeks and three day weekends in order to get more productivity out of their employees.
I’ve been an advocate of four day working weeks for a while, much as I have the £10 minimum wage. It’s not a hard equation, more money to workers means that they have disposable income and are willing to spend it in shops, cinemas and bars etc. This is called circular economy and actually benefits us in a number of ways, including strengthening the country and helping us make friends.
Perhaps it’s the government policies that are making us more antisocial or maybe we just need to relearn how to communicate.
What do you think? Leave a comment in the comments section and discuss with your friends on our language exchange section!
Written by: Jordan Benyon, Staff Writer
- 10 Mar, 2020
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