Holiday Conversation Tips - Millenial Edition
By: Nate Webster, IMH
If there is one thing millennials deal with around the holidays, it is the passive-aggressive (or sometimes obviously aggressive) cross-examination and questioning of their life and career choices. Many millennials are dreading the question, “So what do you do for a living?” only to be met with blank stares when they try to explain that they are free-lancing, creating art or finding themselves. Holidays can be especially tough for millennials because it often feels more like a time to justify their existence than to celebrate family. So for those millennials reading this, let’s review some strategies for handling those inevitable periods of time during the holiday season when friends and family will prod at you about your life.
1. Keep it simple: There are some old sayings, "Don’t throw pearls before swine or else they’ll trample them" and "Don’t give what is special to dogs or else they may turn around and bite you for it!" Most people in life don’t appreciate the journey; they only value the destination. They listen to someone talk about the “path they’re on” but they only really care about where that path is going to end up. This point is captured no better than in the proverbial question “So what are you going to do with that degree?” A question that pricks at the hearts of millennials as they sincerely try to express that life is more than just a degree. So while you enjoy your seasonal soirées, keep things simple and remember to be cautious about providing details to those who won’t appreciate them.
2. Be the ambassador: If you, however, are the type of person who just can’t keep quiet and perhaps enjoys some jesting with friends and family around the holidays, then here’s a tip to help you in your ventures. Try being an ambassador. Ambassadors are individuals who represent and promote specific ideas, activities and traditionally, the interest of countries. However, as it pertains to our topic, being an ambassador can look like advocating for millennials when culturally they are often depreciated. My favorite angle to take with scrutinizing family is to put the ball back in their court and to ask them how we can actually equip millennials instead of criticizing them. Spinning around a sideline scrutinizer, who is criticizing the players but abdicating any responsibility to get in the game, promotes a conversation about solutions rather than criticism. It lovingly challenges someone’s apathy and moves the conversation towards answers, instead of just arm chair opinions.
So there you have it - a strategy for making it through the holidays and initiating some constructive dialogue. Wherever your holiday conversations take you, be sure to still be able to give your family or friends a hug and tell them that you love them.
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