"Young People Need To Adapt": 21 Older Adults Are Revealing The Behaviors Younger People Should Stop Before They "Get Left Behind"

Everyone has opinions about other generations, but the older adults from the Reddit community had some pretty candid things to say about younger folks when redditor r/OSkullory asked: "Is there anything you wish young people did differently?" As a Gen Z'er myself, some of these points are totally valid, while others are some pretty hot takes. Here are the responses that might have you either nodding in agreement or shaking your head in disdain:

1."I would like younger people to be more concerned with their neighbors and community than the millions of anonymous people on the internet whom they will never meet."

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2."Go to the polls in droves and vote all these ancient people out of office. I'm over 60, and I want all of those folks over 70 out! Then, I want the youngsters to insert age and term limits into the constitution. Thank you, young people. I DO believe in you!"


3."I have a lot of hope and excitement for millennials and Gen Z'ers. I feel bad that you guys had the internet while growing up — that shit twists your minds. But, at the same time, it's exceptional because you're more aware than I think any other generation is/was. Make sure you step away from the 'connected life,' though. As an X'er, I feel like we got the best of both worlds: We grew up analog and were young enough to grow with the internet and take off with it. One thing that makes me sad, though, is seeing a table of young people not looking up and interacting with each other. That just hurts my heart. But if young folks could slow down on the slang, that would be great. Otherwise, I'm just going to start writing in cursive so that you guys know how it feels to not understand something."

Person taking a photo of a plate of food with their smartphone

4."Start saving early, even if it's, like, $10 a week. You'll empower yourself and thank yourself later."


5."I wish younger people would stop smoking and vaping so much. Aside from that, you're all doing a much better job at being inclusive and accepting of ALL people than the people in my generation are. I'm proud of the younger folks."

Man in a cap using a phone while exhaling vapor from an e-cigarette at a cafe table
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6."Some of the things I wish people online (specifically Gen Z'ers) would do is be more respectful. Just because someone doesn't agree with you, it doesn't give you a license to be an asshole! All that does is feed into and encourage cyberbullying; it hurts, and it DOES take a toll on people's self-esteem and self-worth when taken too far. Gen Z'ers are already in their 20s, and it's about time they learn to think about anyone other than themselves."


7."Don't be so black and white about things, and perform critical thinking. The good: Young people think they can change the world. Once in a while, they're right."

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8."Put down the phone and enjoy experiences. I love my phone and its camera, but I don't document every single thing. I wish that would stop."


9."Take pride in learning to communicate clearly and effectively like an adult. Learn to construct sentences and paragraphs, punctuate, and spell correctly. Stop phrasing everything you write within the context of 'texting culture' or 'meme-speak.' Stop adding 'literally' and 'I mean' to everything you say. You will need these skills once you venture out into the real world, and if you don't have them, you will be treated like the child you sound like. I work with people in their 20s and 30s who message me using the same kind of language my 12-year-old stepdaughter uses when she texts me. If you want to be taken seriously, make the effort to sound like you do."

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10."Recognize that just because you feel something doesn't mean it's the truth."


11."It would be nice if they stopped getting tattoos. It's their body, so have at it, I guess. It's just something I don't understand; life will mark you up all on its own. It's unfortunate to see young people with beautiful skin marred with tattoos. I know this is a problematic view these days, but it's just how I feel."

A tattoo artist inks a design on someone's forearm, with a reference image nearby
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12."I wish that some of them would stop dreaming of instant online fame and instead create a product or service that others need and are willing to pay for."


13."Quit blaming Boomers for everything and start to understand that, at one point, Boomers wanted changes like you do. But guess what? The world wasn't and still isn't a fair place. Your generation is going to have it even worse because of the chaos that's currently happening, so, unfortunately, you're going to have to work harder than ever to make sure you have a say in your future."

Four individuals holding signs with messages advocating for justice, peace, and an end to racism during a protest
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14."If you're explaining how to use technology to an older person, please explain as if you are talking to a kindergartner. My adult kids try to explain new tech to me faster than the speed of light, and I can barely keep up."


15."Stop making everything so life or death — trauma, emotional illness, and so on. You are not the house you live in, the clothes you wear, or the job you have. Yes, those are things you have, but they're not you. Stop making those things your identity and find out who you really are. The world is not here to make you a victim."

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16."It's fine to question authority, but in certain cases, 'no' means no. People can't bend to your will because they disagree or don't want to negotiate with you. Many people have limited authority, and young people need to adapt to that."


17."Try out and listen to older genres of music."

Woman lying on floor with headphones, surrounded by vinyl records and a turntable. She appears relaxed and happy
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18."Don't make an issue of every little thing. Not everything needs to be dissected, labeled, categorized, debated, etc. Let the little shit go because most of it is just that: little shit. I'm glad there's more acceptance and openness surrounding mental health issues, sexuality, and other stuff, though."


19."Vote in every election, no matter how minor it seems."

Two people smiling, holding 'I Voted' stickers, casual wear, outdoors with palm trees in the background

20."I think younger people get a lot of things right, but being more community-minded would really help us all. Take responsibility for other people, know where your taxes are going, get to know your neighbors, be an active member of the community, etc. Take care of your people and respond with compassion, even if older people say or do weird, out-of-date things. Be true but kind."


21.Lastly: "I wish younger people would stop thinking that struggling financially is abnormal when you are just starting out in adult life. I graduated in '95 and supported myself while making $6 to $13 an hour (depending on the city). I worked two jobs just to make the minimum payment on my student loans. But my situation was totally normal for new college graduates in the late '90s to '00s — and that was before the housing crisis. Nobody I knew was even thinking about buying a house until their 30s, and even then, many people I grew up with still don't own homes."

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If you're an older adult, do you agree with these? What other things do you wish younger people did differently or were more cognizant of? Let me know down in the comments, or you can anonymously submit using this form!

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