Behind viral tweets revelling in time alone is an uncomfortable truth: millennials struggle to have, and keep, friends. So what's going on?by Marie Le Conte / February 7, 2020 / Leave a comment
We millennials have killed many things; long lunches, diamonds, mayonnaise, take your pick. It is our way: we see something the generations before us liked and, mercilessly, we throw our heads back, laugh and put an end to it.
Well. Something along those lines. Often, stories about selfish and weird young people no longer enjoying parts of what society gladly offered them hides a sadder, more structural issue.
Millennials killed long lunches because they are expected to work longer hours and eat a bleak-looking salad at their desks instead; they killed diamonds because working those long hours still doesn’t mean they earn a good enough wage to afford them.
In a similar vein, it is worth wondering exactly what younger people are doing to their own friendships, and why they might be doing it. Or, to put it bluntly: are millennials really killing off the very idea of human socialisation?
It certainly looks like it, if you spend enough time on social media. Take on recent tweet pitching a new tech start-up: “The app is called ‘You’re Cancelled.’ When you’ve made plans that you wish you could cancel, you go into the app and press a little button. If the other person presses theirs too, congratulations! Confetti exploded and your plans are cancelled.” At the time of writing, it has been retweeted over 18 thousand times, and liked over 168 thousand times.
It is an amusing idea, but also one part of a wider genre. Before @mattiekahn’s app idea, there was @breatheandlove’s “I’m so glad it’s Friday tomorrow and I can finally cancel all my weekend plans at the last minute.” There was also @effinghandbook’s “People who cancel our plans before I get up the courage to cancel them myself are my kind of people.” There was even @thatramosgirl’s “My friend just cancelled plans right before I left the house and it feels like I won $100 on a scratch off. What an unexpected treat!”—and many, many, many others.
Far from being something you may quietly think but never say out loud, being glad your plans to see your friend(s) have fallen through is now a popular topic of memes and discussions online. Sometimes it’s bragged about…