15 Things That Are Normal To Boomers But Taboo To Gen Z

15 Things That Are Normal To Boomers But Taboo To Gen Z

Every generation has its own set of norms and values that shape their worldview and behavior.

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What might seem perfectly normal to one generation can be completely outlandish or even taboo to another. The generational gap between Boomers and Gen Z is no exception. Here are some things that Boomers might consider perfectly acceptable, while Gen Z might raise an eyebrow or even cringe in disbelief. Talk about cultural differences!

1. Asking someone’s age without hesitation

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For Boomers, inquiring about someone’s age was often a casual conversation starter, a way to gauge their experience or life stage. However, for Gen Z, this question can feel intrusive and even ageist, The Guardian notes. They might see it as a way to judge or stereotype them based on a number, rather than focusing on their individual qualities and achievements.

2. Calling your boss “Sir” or “Ma’am”

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Boomers grew up in a more formal era, where addressing superiors with titles like “Sir” or “Ma’am” was considered respectful and professional. Gen Z, on the other hand, tends to prefer a more casual and egalitarian workplace culture. They might find these titles outdated and overly hierarchical, preferring to use first names or nicknames instead.

3. Smoking indoors or in public spaces

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In the past, smoking was widely accepted and even glamorous, with designated smoking areas in restaurants, offices, and even airplanes. However, Gen Z has grown up with a greater awareness of the health risks associated with smoking and secondhand smoke. They might find it shocking and inconsiderate for someone to light up indoors or in public spaces, where it can harm others.

4. Making jokes about gender roles and stereotypes

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While Boomers might have grown up with a narrower understanding of gender roles, Gen Z is more attuned to issues of gender identity and expression. Jokes that rely on outdated stereotypes or belittle certain genders can be seen as offensive and harmful. They value inclusivity and respect for diverse identities, making such jokes taboo in their social circles.

5. Not recycling or being environmentally conscious

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Gen Z has grown up with a heightened awareness of the environmental crisis and the importance of sustainable practices. They might find it appalling if someone doesn’t recycle, uses excessive plastic, or disregards their environmental impact. For them, being environmentally conscious is a moral imperative, not just a lifestyle choice.

6. Using outdated slang or pop culture references

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Language and pop culture evolve rapidly, and what might have been cool in the 1980s or 1990s might sound cringeworthy to Gen Z, Parade explains. They have their own lingo and cultural touchstones, and using outdated references can make you seem out of touch or trying too hard to be relatable.

7. Not being tech-savvy or refusing to use social media

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Gen Z is the first generation to grow up with the internet and social media as an integral part of their lives. They might find it baffling if someone doesn’t know how to use a smartphone, navigate online platforms, or engage with social media. For them, technology is a tool for communication, connection, and self-expression, and not using it can seem like a deliberate choice to disconnect from the modern world.

8. Having a landline phone or not using a smartphone

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While Boomers might have relied on landline phones for decades, Gen Z sees them as relics of the past. They might find it strange or even amusing if someone still has a landline or doesn’t use a smartphone for communication, entertainment, or accessing information. For them, smartphones are an essential part of their daily lives, and not having one can seem like a major inconvenience.

9. Giving unsolicited advice or opinions

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Boomers, with their wealth of life experience, often feel compelled to share their wisdom and guidance, even when it’s not asked for. However, Gen Z values independence and autonomy, and they might bristle at unsolicited advice or opinions. They prefer to figure things out for themselves, learning from their own mistakes and experiences.

10. Not understanding or respecting personal boundaries

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Boomers might have grown up in a time when personal boundaries were less defined or respected. They might ask probing personal questions, offer unsolicited hugs, or overshare personal details without considering the other person’s comfort level. Gen Z, on the other hand, is more attuned to boundaries and consent. They might find such behavior intrusive and disrespectful, preferring to establish clear boundaries in their relationships.

11. Making assumptions about someone’s career or life path based on their age

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Boomers often follow a more traditional linear career path, with expectations about when someone should graduate, get married, have children, or retire. However, Gen Z is more open to alternative career paths and life choices. They might find it presumptuous if someone assumes they should be in a certain stage of life or career based on their age. They value flexibility and individuality, and they don’t want to be boxed in by societal expectations.

12. Not being aware of or sensitive to issues of cultural appropriation

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Boomers might have grown up in a less diverse and interconnected world, with less awareness of the nuances of cultural appropriation. They might unknowingly adopt elements of other cultures without understanding the historical context or potential harm. Gen Z, on the other hand, is more sensitive to issues of cultural appropriation and the importance of respecting other cultures. They might find it offensive if someone wears traditional clothing as a costume or uses cultural symbols in a disrespectful way.

13. Using physical discipline as a form of parenting

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While spanking or other forms of physical discipline were more common in the past, Gen Z views them as harmful and outdated, CNN reveals. They believe in positive reinforcement and non-violent communication as more effective parenting methods. They might be shocked or even traumatized if they witness or hear about physical discipline being used on children.

14. Making comments about someone’s weight or appearance

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Boomers might have grown up in a time when commenting on someone’s weight or appearance was considered normal, even complimentary. However, Gen Z is more aware of the negative impact such comments can have on body image and self-esteem. They value body positivity and inclusivity, and they might find such comments hurtful and insensitive.

15. Not being open to new ideas or perspectives

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Boomers, having lived through significant social and cultural changes, might be more resistant to new ideas or perspectives that challenge their existing beliefs. They might dismiss new trends or technologies as fads, or cling to traditional values and norms. Gen Z, on the other hand, is more open-minded and adaptable. They embrace change and innovation, valuing diversity of thought and the freedom to explore different ideas and perspectives.

Harper Stanley graduated from Eugene Lang College at The New School in NYC in 2006 with a degree in Media Studies and Literature and Critical Analysis. After graduating, she worked as an editorial assistant at The Atlantic before moving to the UK to work for the London Review of Books.

When she's not waxing poetic about literature, she's writing articles about dating, relationships, and other women's lifestyle topics to help make their lives better. While shocking, she really has somehow managed to avoid joining any social media apps — a fact she's slightly smug about.