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"That's Not A Life Hack, Sweetie": Older People Are Sharing Things That Are Seriously Confusing About "Kids These Days"

"I can't stand how Gen Z likes to call anyone older than them this..."

When I was younger, I remember how hard my siblings and I would laugh when our parents tried to use the phrase "hook up" in the proper context. "Are you going to hook up with your friends at the mall today?" my dad would ask, clearly not understanding the millennial usage of the term.

Three people sitting on a couch with surprised expressions, one holding a plush toy. They are TV characters

But oh, how the tides have turned. Recently, I've been hearing young people throwing around terms like "no cap" and "rizz," and I now realize I am officially a confused old fart! So, redditor u/5h0gKur4C4ndl asked, "Adults of Reddit, what is something about the newer generations that you can't seem to understand?" Here's what people said.

1. "Recording yourself doing mundane things and even feeling the need to share so much of your life online. I’m 29, and I have one social media account other than Reddit. I post nothing. I don't want people to know anything about me unless they call me on the phone."

A plate with an assortment of food: cucumber slices, tomatoes, olives, cheese, nuts, bread, and sliced meats

2. "Cancel culture. Young people don’t seem to understand the difference between someone having opinions they don’t like and someone having opinions that are actually morally reprehensible."


3. "I'm a 37-year-old attending college for the first time. I've noticed that younger students have negative confidence. They barely speak above a mumble, especially when answering a question from the teacher. Most of them are extremely introverted."

Lindsay Lohan and Jonathan Bennett in a classroom scene from the movie 'Mean Girls'

4. "Recording yourselves crying. I do not know how intense your desire for external validation must be for you to cry and simultaneously think, 'Lights, camera, action, baby. Let's make sure as many people see this as possible.'"


5. "I manage a lot of new college graduates in my job, and I don't understand how, in the span of just two years (during Covid), we went from having great graduates who were able to operate independently and work things out to graduates who need their hands held for even the most basic tasks."

Two male characters from The Office, Jim and Dwight, seated at desks, appear to be working and discussing

6. "Pulling up white socks with sneakers was the most unfashionable middle-aged American dad look in the entire world, and now it's fashionable."


7. "I just don't understand the fascination with watching people's morning and evening routines. It's enough for me to look at my own puffy, sleep-ridden face in the morning. Why would I want to watch someone else's?"

Woman holding iced coffee, wearing a white top, red scarf, and sunglasses on head

8. "Voice notes. I don't mind one here and there, and I can see certain circumstances where they serve a purpose. But you have entire conversations over voice notes. It makes no sense! Make a phone call!"

Three women looking intently at a smartphone, expressing surprise and curiosity, in a room with posters on the wall

9. "How every shirt is now a crop top. I was born in 1996, but like…I want a shirt that covers my torso."

Person with headphones standing by a doorway with a potted plant nearby

10. "Everything seems to have to have a label. Not just people and groups, but every concept or otherwise generic thing that becomes popular has to be given a label or a hashtag. I find it so weird, especially when people have been doing it forever. Now all of a sudden Gen Z has discovered it, and it's got some brand new buzzy label as though it's just been invented."

Two characters lie on grass, close-up, appearing in a relaxed or intimate moment

11. "How they treat TikTok like it is an actual news source."


12. "The obsession with life hacks. Recently I saw a young person explaining how if you plant the seeds from your capsicum (bell pepper) it will grow a plant! Wow! That's not a life hack, sweetie, that's called gardening."

Green onion sprouts regrowing in a jar with water on a countertop

13. "I can't stand how Gen Z likes to call anyone older than them a boomer. I'm 29 and have been called a boomer more times than I can count by younger coworkers. It's hilarious."


14. "I'm a teacher, and my high school students are very overly sensitive to how others perceive them. They take everything personally."

Cher from Clueless sits in class, looking puzzled, with students and a teacher in the background

15. "The way they believe in cancel culture over consequences. I don't want anyone canceled. To me, that says you were ruined for no reason. I believe in consequences. If someone is a horrible person, the consequence (ideally) is that people stop buying their stuff and making them even richer."

Radar's Teddy

16. "Why do you want to watch 100% of a concert you paid good money to see in person through your phone lens?"

Audience with phones raised at a concert, capturing the event. Focus on one phone's screen showing the stage

17. "At work we were going around and saying what we would do if we won the big lottery jackpot. The new 22-year-old hire said he'd become an influencer. Can you imagine winning a billion dollars at 22, and that's what you would do? Not start a business, travel the world, give to charity, buy property, or even learn something…but become an influencer? With a billion dollars? I found that one truly hard to understand."

Man with a smile, subtitle: "Somebody has to inspire these people" from TV show Schitt's Creek

18. "My young sister-in-law writes her college essays on her phone. That's just wild to me."


"I’m a Gen X'er, and the thought of typing an entire paper on my phone gives me an anxiety attack."


19. "Preferring FaceTiming people over picking up the phone and calling them. Unless you have to show me something, I prefer not to show my face on a screen."

Person in a casual outfit sits on a sofa looking intently at a smartphone with a laptop nearby

20. "The emails I receive from my students aged 18–25 are such a mess of incoherent garbage. I can't tell if they are lazy or if it's an actual literacy issue. And I'm barely older than they are. If this is a generational gap, it happened quickly!"


21. "That they think they invented the fashion trends they all are following right now."

Woman in a hat and striped shirt appears pensive, indoors near a window

What is something about a different generation — either older or younger — that is thoroughly confusing to you? Tell us in the comments or drop your response into this Google form.

Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.