Most generations have their fair share of negative stereotypes. Boomers are stubborn, millennials are lazy, and Gen Z is glued to their phones. But Gen X has dodged most of the heat. One person, born in 1975, asked fellow Gen Xers of the internet to share their generation’s negative traits to even the playing field.
Note: Some quotes in this piece have been lightly edited for grammar.
1: Wearing a Suit of Armor
One fellow Gen Xer blames their generation’s general antagonism on their upbringing. “We were brought up in a culture that valued cynicism, sarcasm, and irony over sincerity,” they said. “This gives us a tendency toward apathy and nihilism if we are not careful to craft our own unique positive values and pursue our passions.”
2: Dwindling Hope
“As most Gen Xers, as a kid, I viewed the world with a healthy dose of mistrust, but I was absolutely an idealist,” says one person, who’s found it increasingly difficult to look on the bright side. “The realities of the world we have experienced have slowly chipped away at that idealism.”
3: Not Feeling the Kenergy
One commenter says they struggle to share other generations’ sincere enthusiasm for things like Taylor Swift concerts or dressing up for the Barbie movie. “I have such ingrained Gen X cynicism that the idea of openly and enthusiastically liking something feels very strange and vulnerable.”
4: Taking Things Seriously
“We have an amazing ability to retain useless knowledge, but we struggle with handling issues with any emotional weight,” says one Gen Xer. “We joke about the whole ‘generation of latchkey kids’ label, but I think that, for many of us, having two working parents and spending our important adolescent years coming home to empty houses really did a number on us.”
5: Prepare for Disappointment
According to one commenter, being part of Generation X means “often expecting nothing but mediocrity from our fellow man.” A fellow Gen Xer advises, “Keep your expectations low, and you will rarely be disappointed.”
6: Flying Solo
Don’t expect a lot of teamwork from Generation X. “We’re not team players,” one person says. “I hate working in groups.”
7: No Laughing Matter
One Gen Xer finds that many people in their generation cope with traumatic childhoods through humor. “To keep the pain from these situations from eating us up inside, a lot of us (myself included) would make jokes. In the long term, I think that humor kept us from truly dealing with our trauma.”
8: You Can’t Be Serious
Many Gen Xers agree that sarcasm is their love language. One commenter said, “I’ve always used sarcasm and snark in my everyday conversation, and I have been told by coworkers older and younger than me that, at times, it makes me come off as unserious and flippant.”
One Gen Xer is tired of being constantly mixed up with other generations. “The younger generations think we’re Boomers, and the Boomers think we’re Millennials. They use the stereotypes mentioned for those generations. If anyone acknowledges we exist at all, then we’re slackers.”
10: Scaredy Cats
Commitment-phobia has stricken a majority of Gen X, according to one commenter. “[We’re] suspicious of joining any kind of organization, cynical about working together and making a difference, avoiding getting married because we saw how that worked out for our parents.”
11: Missed Opportunities
One commenter points back at Gen Xers for not owning up to their generation’s faults. “We really should be running things right now. I would argue that if we had less ‘Meh, whatever’ and more ‘Screw it, let’s do this’ we would be the generation leading the way instead of stewards for that group coming up behind us.”
12: Do It Yourself
“We are reluctant to ask for or seek help when we need it,” one Gen Xer says about their generation. “This is especially true regarding our mental health. Rationally, I know there isn’t a person alive who wouldn’t benefit from some therapy.”
13: Adjusted Expectations
Another Gen Xer agrees that their generation can be “cynical, depressive and deeply pessimistic.” They said, “We were not told we were exceptional or that we could change the world. So we’ve focused on small things.”
14: Passing up the Polls
According to one commenter, one negative characteristic of Generation X is their lack of voting and political power. “Our traits have led our generation to continually have terrible voting turnout.”
15: Placing the Blame
One commenter believes there’s a double standard among their generation. “We like to pat ourselves on the back for toasting our own Pop-Tarts after school and drinking out of a hose as if we lived through a war, while we call kids today who are buried by crippling debt and can’t get housing or afford to get married ‘whiners.'”
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