Gen Z Trends That We’ll Never Understand

Every generation has a thing that defines them. Usually, it's something cringeworthy (see: 90s fashion, 80s fashion, etc.). But on the surface, Generation Z seems untouchable with their digital sophistication and nihilistic sense of humor.

Texting Someone Through Snapchat And Not An Actual Text Message

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Why send a text when you can send someone a text that's overlayed onto a picture of your forehead? Honestly, we don't understand it, but Gen Z is doing it.

One Gen Z-er says that it's an easy way to establish a more personal connection with people you don't see on a daily basis, which is, admittedly, a very wholesome reason.

The Desire To Go Viral

Reasons Why TikTok Will Never Die Down
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With the emergence of social media and video platforms as a viable career for those lucky enough to make it, Gen Z seems determined to go viral at any cost.

It's like everyone's obsession in the 2000s with being on reality television. Or in the 1990s when everyone was sending in tapes to be on America's Funniest Home Videos.

I guess that we relate to Gen Z more than we realize.

Not Using Capital Letters

Woman looking at phone
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Back in my day, our parents would wonder why we stopped using cursive when writing. Today, we're trying to figure out why Gen Z has an aversion to capital letters. One person gives a reason: texting.

Some view texting with capital letters as too formal, so people started removing capitals while texting as a way to seem more casual and laid-back.

Video Obsession

Girl recording herself
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Many people couldn't wrap their heads around the constant need for Gen Z to film everything about themselves and post it to social media. Dangerous stunts and crimes are especially people and leave many scratching their heads.

One user shared how they saw the Snapchat story of a 20-year-old who had posted a video of himself driving over 100 mph in the dark and rain. That same night, the SnapChatter ended up in a fatal car accident.

“They are really the first generation with the capability to do that easily,” the Redditor added. “They're like the oldest siblings who make all the mistakes so the younger ones can learn from it. I salute their sacrifice.”

Another user who also identified as a Gen Z agreed, adding, “It's so pointless, and nobody seems to want to be in the moment anymore, it's all about showing it off to friends who ultimately don't care.”

Micro-labeling and Misuse of The Word “Aesthetic.”

Aesthetic woman
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Gen Z has a very idiosyncratic vocabulary and for many, their use of “aesthetic” is just too much.

Everything these days seems to be categorized as an “aesthetic” or some kind of “core.” For one user, the differences between the trends, “feel so minuscule that I'm not sure why they all need to exist in the first place.”

“It's the natural evolution of the advertising demographic,” another Redditor explained, justifying the trend. “Squeeze yourself into as many neatly labeled boxes as possible, so they know what ads to target you with and what products to offer you.”

But others hate the way Gen Z uses the word “aesthetic” to begin with.

One user couldn't get past the fact that Gen Z boiled down the definition of aesthetic to simply mean something is “good” or “iconic.”

“Nuance,” they explained, “need not apply.”

Another person added, “Also the misuse of the word “aesthetic” itself. Stop calling things ~aesthetic~ (ex. “omg her living room is so aesthetic”) without another qualifier (it's aesthetically pleasing or fits the clean girl aesthetic, for example).”

Romanticization of Mental Illness

Mental Health
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Self-diagnosing mental illness is a troubling trend among Generation Z.

According to a Gen Z-er, “It's embarrassing because they treat it like it's a competition or something quirky like… no it's not? Stop making your mental illnesses your only personality traits.”

The user added that her sister has, “Never seen a doctor, just reads up online about certain quirks and thinks she has a bit of everything.”

Another replied, “This, yes! As a mental health professional, self-diagnosing has become increasingly common. This can be damaging to the therapeutic process when someone gets “stuck on” their self-diagnosis.”

Borderline Personality Disorder, Autism, and Body Dysmorphia Disorder were common diagnoses their patients came in with.

Someone else ties this back with Gen Z's love for labeling. “Gen Z generally seems to have a fetish for labels. Whereas many people don't enjoy being overly labeled or categorized, that seems to be the thing gen z loves most.”

They added: “Whether it's gender, mental disorders, or anything else, there seems to be a common obsession with specifically defining yourself by identifying with categories and labels instead of simply being a person with likes, dislikes, thoughts, and opinions.”

Broccoli Haircut

Peaky Blinders
Image Credit: Netflix.

You've seen it in Peaky Blinders, and now you're probably seeing what's now called the “broccoli haircut” on a Gen Z-er near you.

Now with more volume than the Shelby brothers sported, a lot of people hate this hair trend.

One person hoped that the haircut trend lasted, if only because of the amount of comic relief it provided them. “It honestly looks like a joke haircut. Lol kids have been convinced it makes them look good/cool. I hope it sticks around, it's legitimately… hilarious.”

Another said, “I don't get the hair. Mate you look like a sea anemone. Whatever makes them happy though, I guess.”

Weird Use of Emojis and Punctuations

Social Media
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Generation Z's idiosyncrasies extend into their text conversations, especially when it comes to emoji and punctuation use.

If you've been using punctuation or emojis at work, chances are a Gen Z-er is making fun of you. One user shared that they, 33, was told by their 18-year-old co-worker that she laughs whenever the user uses an emoji un-ironically.

That person also added that “reacting” to iMessages, using “lol,” or ending a text with a period are also texting faux pas according to Gen Z.

Crying Videos

Color Out of Space
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Gen Z is paving the way in normalizing showing emotions. But for some, the crying TikToks are too much.

Someone else replied, “I see seemingly non-narc people sharing videos of themselves crying in the same way they would share a video of themselves blowing candles on a birthday cake.”

Not only is it just a lot of emotion, one user shared that this trend was inspiring older Millennials and Gen Xer's to post their own ugly crying videos. The problem the user had was that the captions were usually calls for attention.”

“Too many crying videos and Unfortunately I am finding people my age (41yo) posting the crying or breakdown pics and giving the vague description that basically says “something is wrong, please reach out to me to know what it is.”

No Interest in Getting a Driver's License

Woman can’t drive
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Generation Z also has no desire to drive cars, which is baffling to many Redditors.

“It is weird to me in the sense that I got my license on my 16th bday. Could not wait,” one user wrote.

“But it's not weird in the sense that the world is different now.” they reasoned. “[Gen Z] stay home and play video games. But they're doing it with their friends and staying safe at home.”

The world has definitely changed.

A thread inspired this post.

This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

Amaka Chukwuma is a freelance content writer with a BA in linguistics. As a result of her insatiable curiosity, she writes in various B2C and B2B niches. Her favorite subject matter, however, is in the financial, health, and technological niches. She has contributed to publications like Buttonwood Tree and FinanceBuzz in the past and currently writes for Wealth of Geeks.

Nicole Tommasulo is Boston-based and Buffalo-born writer and editor. Typically covering all things lifestyle, her beat spans from food, to breaking news, to travel, mental health, and everything in between. She has an MFA in Writing from Savannah College of Art and Design and has been previously published by The List, Heels Down Magazine, Hello Giggles, and several now-dead but not forgotten websites like xoJane and Femsplain. When she's not writing or editing, she's nerding out over books, prestige TV, plants, food, and frisbee golf.