‘Xennials’ Were Born In The Early ’80s — Here Are All The Ways They’re Different From The Millennials

We are all unique, as our personalities are a mixture of various experiences and factors, and generation is an important one. People born in the same generation experienced world events, and especially technology, in unique ways particular to their age.

Some argue that generations don’t exist and that they are a myth perpetuated by the media, but many would agree that people that belong to the same generation often display similar characteristics, preferences, and values in life.

Have you heard of the Xennials?

If you have been born between 1977 and 1985, you belong to this microgeneration, overlapping Gen X (1965 – 1980) and Millennials (1981 – 1996).

Some refer to it as the “Oregon Trail generation,” after the once-popular video game, or “Generation Catalano,” after Jared Leto’s character in “My So-Called Life.”

The term was first used by writer Sarah Stankorb in GOOD magazine in September 2014.

These people spent some time with some of the basic tenets of pre-digital technology, and in their 20s, they adapted to social media.

Dan Woodman, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Melbourne in Australia, agrees that the attitudes of this generation differ from Gen X’s pessimism and Millennial optimism, so they deserve their own banner:

“It was a particularly unique experience. You have a childhood, youth, and adolescence free of having to worry about social media posts and mobile phones. It was a time when we had to organize to catch up with our friends on the weekends using the landline, and actually, pick a time and a place and turn up there.

Then we hit this technology revolution before we were maybe in that frazzled period of our life with kids and no time to learn anything new. We hit it where we could still adopt, in a selective way, the new technologies.”

Here is why xennials are set apart from millennials:

1. A Youth Of Innocence 

Xennials enjoyed their youth in peace, while millennials were shocked by the terrible tragedy of 9/11.

2. The Recession

Xennials were severely affected by the recession, being graduated, with their student loans to pay off, and at risk to lose their new job. On the other hand, millennials were in a better position, in college, with their career decisions still ahead of them.

Stankorb wrote:

“We landed in a fleeting sweet spot before the Recession that plagued Millennials’ launch. Yet we were still young enough that when the market crashed, we hadn’t yet invested much and didn’t lose as many homes or as much in retirement savings, unlike many Gen Xers. We at least had a chance to either get jobs or go to college as young adults, then attain more serious jobs, quit them, get other jobs, and find ourselves just a little before the economy truly tanked.” 

3. Social Media

Xennials spent their childhood and even teenage years without social media, so they avoided the internet peer pressure of likes and shares.

According to Stankorb:

“Those of us born in the fuzzy borderland between Gen X and Millennial are old enough to have logged in to our first email addresses in college. We use social media but can remember living life without it. The internet was not a part of our childhoods, but computers existed and there was something special about the opportunity to use one.” 

4. Cell Phones

Xennials didn’t have mobile phones until their early 20s, and they used payphones and landlines. On the other hand, millennials were given a cell phone as kids or teens. Yet, xennials were fast learners when it comes to technology. Even though they grew up watching “My So-Called Life” and popping cassettes into the stereo, they quickly transitioned to using smartphones and social media.

5. The Middle Mood

Millennials are confident and extremely optimistic, while xennials are not pessimistic, but somehow grounded.

6. Childhood And Parenting

Their parents were more relaxed than the ones of millennials, who were obsessed with excellence and achievement.

Do you agree? What do you like or dislike about your own generation?