When Millennials Meet Boomers: 5 Tips to Make Sure Everyone Gets a Trophy
So your significant other is taking you to meet his family. Your palms are sweaty and your mind is wonky.
Your GroupMe pals just tell you to relax and be yourself, yet your significant other has already briefed you that his parents are judgmental and out of touch.
We believe Millennials have gotten a bad rap for being the “all about me” gen, but they come by it honestly, from the hovering and enabling Boomer and Gen X parents who lavished them with praise and extra servings of “you are special.”
In spite of that, Millennials or “Echo Boomers” have grown up to be independent thinkers with a collective global consciousness and a chip — not on their shoulder — but a “tech chip” as part of their DNA. They are compassionate, savvy, and one of the most well-educated generations in our history.
In her research on Millennials, author Jean Twenge Ph.D. shares that, “American culture has become more individualistic—more focused on the self, and less on social rules.”
How might Millennials and Boomers play nice when a significant other is introduced to her partner’s family? Here are 5 tips we’ve learned from our clients about how to earn an “A” at that first meeting:
Accept: If you know going in that your world views are on opposite ends of the spectrum, acknowledge the differing beliefs. Hold strong to your own beliefs, yet seek common ground. You might say: “Interesting question and one I’ve considered for a long time. I’m passionate about global issues and focus my attention, like you, on how I can make the world a better place.” Reframe.
Adapt, Don’t Alienate. A Boomer family shared with us their first meeting for a quick meal with their child’s girlfriend — both 25-years-old. The 50-somethings felt amazed that the gf literally wouldn’t let go of their child’s hand. Tethered, the two took several trips to another private room for alone time. With the four of them at dinner, the two whispered together in front of the parents. It doesn’t matter what generation you’re in: rude is rude. Adapt to the dynamic; don’t alienate your significant other from the family.
Accountability: Sometimes parents ask what you do, where you work, etc. If you’re out of work, left a job, or were let go by your employer, be honest about the circumstances. Blaming an ex-boss, (or if you’re divorced, an ex) makes you look bad. Give the reason you were not the best version of yourself. Your significant other's family will think better of you if own your sh*#.
Adore: If you and your significant other present yourselves as an adoring couple (without creepy displays of affection), it’ll be palpable for all. Show genuine care and compassion toward one another. It feeds right into every Boomer’s mantra: “I just want my child to be happy.”
Authentic: This goes right back to what your Groupme friends said: “Relax.” Be real. More and more Gen Xers and Boomers are embracing a world of transparency. Born as a generation of people-pleasers, they want nothing more than for everyone to get a trophy.