Millennial Allergies And The Language Affected


They’re between 18 and 34, and while they may look normal, they’re anything but. We all know them. They’re opinionated. They’re well-educated. They’re tech-savvy, and they also happen to be the largest generation since the baby boomers. They are, of course, millennials, and with their vast numbers comes great influence.

Their preferences have shaped the lexicon in ways big and small. They’re vocal about what they like and even more so about what they don’t. Listed here are a few of the many things they’re “allergic” to, and how those allergies have helped redefine the language we use (or how they’ve made some of it obsolete entirely).

Also, a word to the wise, don’t tell them they’re being categorized. They’re allergic to labels, too.


The problem, to those outside the millennial age group, might be approaching an epidemic with this “allergy.” Marriage numbers among millennials are down. Home-ownership has cratered, and long-term employment commitment appears to be disappearing. Yes, in all three of those metrics, trouble with commitment seems to be a serious issue with young people.

On the bright side, however, they appear to have redefined the term commitment so that it describes situations of a lesser degree. They have no problem committing to a six hour, three-season Netflix binge. Or, ask them to commit to brunch and they’ll be there in a heartbeat. In essence, if you’re asking millennials for commitment to small details, there’s a chance you might get it. If you’re asking them to commit to life-changing decisions however, you may be waiting a while.


Ahhh, yes, conversation with your fellow man. It requires a great many things: eye contact, mastery of language, the confidence to elucidate on a topic or point of view. But, as an art form, is it lost?

Well, millennials have simply redefined the means conversation should be held within . . . to fit their preferences. They are unlikely to respond unless your query came in the form of a text. And, if text happens to be your metier, then you’re in business. That is, of course, if you’re fluent in emoji. If not, well, maybe you can just go live with one of those rainforest tribes that hasn’t had much contact with the rest of the world. Because, honestly, you’re in for a tough time.(Need a refresher on millennial slang? Brush up with this list!)


Stocks? Bonds? 401(k)s? IRAs? Diversification? Margins? Leverage? Nope, nope, nope, and most definitely nope. For a millennial, the above terms might as well be Mandarin, a language they probably are more fluent in than financial lingo.

Due to the Great Recession, most millennials are allergic to investment of any kind, preferring instead to have cash or Bitcoin. The approach mimics that of their grandparents. Is it an advisable financial strategy? Probably not. At any rate though, the resistance many millennials show toward investment is quickly making the term obsolete.


Among millennials, church attendance is declining at a rapid pace. Sure, the practice can help with pesky realities like eternal salvation or just generally learning to care about your fellow man. In spite of that, abstaining from religious services is becoming so common that the term going to church is quickly becoming obsolete as well. What’s the deal?

Maybe millennials are godless heathens, but it’s more likely the millennial allergy to church stems from searching for religion on their own terms. A cynic on the other hand might say it’s due to inconvenient scheduling, that’s to say it’s an impediment to watching football. Or, it’s an impediment to sleeping in, to yoga, to writing that one-act play, or, for that matter, to attending an online course in underwater basket weaving.

Ok, you get the point. It’s boring, and they’ll say just about anything to get out of going to church.


Have you ever watched a millennial make a sandwich? No, you probably haven’t. “Does the meat go in between the bread, or does the bread go in between the meat? You know what, never mind, I’ll just hit Subway.” When was the last time you’ve seen a millennial read a book? “You mean this thing isn’t a coaster?” Sadly, it’s true, millennials appear highly allergic to patience.

It’s just a hunch, but we suspect the allergy stems from the instant gratification offered by the internet, so much so that they’ve redefined patience to coincide with their online lifestyle. Prove it, you say?  Look at Twitter. Their recent format change allowing tweets to expand to 280 characters from 140 tells you all you need to know about the redefinition of patience.


Since you’re reading this we assume two things. First, you’re not living under a rock, and second, you have access to the internet. In both instances, good for you. The trouble is, however, the internet comes with its fair share of problems too. In this case we’re talking about the degradation of privacy, a millennial allergy if there ever was one.

To many of us, the concept of privacy is simple: keeping your private life private. Not so for millennials, however. Unnecessary status updates on social media? Check. Ubiquitous selfies nobody was asking for? Check. They are indeed open people, and yes, millennials seem all too comfortable with a lack of privacy in their lives. And so, this may be another word we soon see in the land of lexicon past.


“Some people just weren’t cut out for a life on the road.” It’s a quote from the movie Dumb and Dumber. Don’t worry about it millennials, we know you probably haven’t seen it or anything made during the antiquated age of VHS. Also, we know that the above quote perfectly encapsulates your allergy to the practice of driving.

The proportion of 18 to 34 year olds without a license has spiked in the last decade, an appreciable change from generations past. It’s not that they’re lazy or actively trying to do away with mobility. Instead, their interests lie elsewhere. And, while driving isn’t technically obsolete, it is being redefined to mean ride-sharing, i.e., Uber and Lyft. And hey, driving leads to traffic. Traffic leads to headaches. Headaches are no fun. And, millennials are definitely not allergic to fun.


There was a time not too long ago when wearing anything but a suit, dress, or a pantsuit to work would have you mistaken for the janitor. Nowadays, however, wear a hoodie to work and people are probably saying “that must be the mysterious, seldom-seen, and mercurial CEO we all work for.”

That’s most likely because your millennial boss has an allergy to formalwear. Millennials have done away with stuffy formalwear, redefining it instead as athleisure. Is it any better or any worse? We couldn’t say, but it’s certainly a change.


Is the bread gluten free? Was it forged by an artisanal baker in a kiln powered by devotion and only the finest kindling chopped from hand planted, six-year old Dogwood saplings? Are the greens organic? Were they cultivated on a plot of land reclaimed from a former steelworks and harvested by an aging urban hippie?

Honestly, if you’re dining with a millennial, we certainly hope all those questions are affirmative. Anything else would aggravate their highly-attuned allergy to normality, at least in the traditional sense of the word. To be fair, it’s not that they are opposed to fundamentally normal things like eating out. Instead they’ve redefined it; normal to them is higher-quality ingredients and perhaps an establishment with a unique backstory.


Listen, do those poor Nicaraguan day laborers carting coffee beans down a mountainous goat path have a bum deal? No doubt. Is that enough to keep us from slugging down a pot of Maxwell House after a particularly long night? Definitely not. Yeah, yeah, we know, we probably ought to do more to fight for socially conscious causes, but honestly, why bother when the 18 to 34 generation is working hard to make the term exploitation obsolete?

Look, for all the fun we have at their expense, the Millennial generation is at the forefront of the campaign against global injustice. Whether it be unfair trade or discrimination in all its malevolent forms, their fight against exploitation remains honorable. And for that, we give them some credit.

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