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Millenials: What Makes One & 20 Common Traits of the Digital Nomad Gen

Millennials have set the bar high in terms of being different from previous generations. Learn the best characteristics of millennials and the worst!

millennials traits characteristics

The characteristics of millennials are vast, and the stereotypes surrounding them are varied and extreme! As the first generation who truly grew up with advancing technology, there are some pretty significant differences between them and past generations, which has been a steady point of contention and judgment!

What is a millennial?

Millennials are those that were born between the years 1981 and 1996.

The biggest thing you need to know about millennials is that they’re all about change. They grew up watching the world change and become a different place in a more rapid way than any other.

For instance, they weren’t born into technology like the newer generations, but they grew up watching it happen. They saw the first semblance of the modern home computer and internet boom in the mid-1990s.

But they knew what it was like to be without those things. They knew how to create their own entertainment, mainly by playing outside and concocting their own games.

Then, home internet was born, and many millennials grew obsessed as soon as they got the chance. They were crazy about learning everything about it. That obsession grew as computers became fancier and mobile phones became more advanced and common.

Technology isn’t the only thing that’s seen changes through the eyes of millennials, though. [Read: Millennials vs. baby boomers – their night and day differences]

Millennials have taken a more keen interest in social and environmental issues than other generations.

They’re known to spend less money because they have less disposable income and a much higher cost of living.

This could potentially contribute to millennials starting families later in life on average, alongside the fact that their priorities are different. They often place more importance on travel and personal fulfillment.

Millennials are also known to be less religious, but active religious households have been in a steady decline from generation to generation.

According to the Pew Research Center, while just as many people claim to believe in God, it seems that more people are unaffiliated with religion than ever before, and even the believers attend services less regularly than their elders.

Positive characteristics of millennials

Millennials often get a lot of flack from older generations, but some of that can be attributed to simple generational differences or basic misunderstandings.

Millennials are definitely a spirited bunch with a host of positive qualities. [Read: 15 millennial problems that reveal that all is not Instagram perfect]

Here are just some of their amazing qualities:

1. They value meaningful motivation

Millennials are driven by purpose.

As a whole, they have a tendency to respond more to something that supports their values. They need their values to be recognized and aligned in order to really care about what they’re doing.

Millennials are less likely to be motivated by financial gain than their predecessors. They would prefer to be in a place that respects and appreciates their hard work and values. They place a significant amount of importance on doing work that they enjoy.

2. They challenge the hierarchical status quo

This generation has ideas and opinions, and they want you to know them. [Read: How to express your opinions without seeming cocky]

Millennials aren’t afraid to challenge their superiors if they feel that it’s necessary. They firmly believe in advocating for what’s right according to their values. They practice creative and productive solution-based thinking over simply following orders “just because.”

3. They know that relationships with superiors are important

In the same way that millennials place such importance on their ideas and values, they value connection with their superiors.

Especially in the workplace, they need to feel comfortable and have a mentor with whom they connect and feel at ease with.

Millennials crave feedback and advice and need someone they feel comfortable receiving those things from.

4. They have an intuitive knowledge of technology

Because they grew up at the same time that technology was growing up, being tech-savvy is one of the most prominent characteristics of millennials.

They’re known to have a great knowledge of technology and are largely responsible for some pretty impressive tech advances.

After all, millennials were learning coding at a young age, thanks to MySpace. They were integral in the improvements of mobile phones as some of the first explorers of early versions of the modern cell phone. [Read: The toxic dangers of social media & 19 ways it makes you insecure]

5. They’re open to change

Notoriously open-minded, millennials appreciate, push for, and adapt to change very well.

This generation has played huge roles in changes in business, politics, and technology, among other things. They recognize that the world around them is in a state of constant change and understand that behaviors and policies must change with it.

6. They value tasks over time

Millennials are absolutely more interested in quality than quantity. They’ve proven to be efficiently task-oriented and put less focus on time restraints for the sake of production.

This group puts more emphasis on the quality of what they’re doing than trying to get it done quickly. [Read: Dating a perfectionist – things you must know before you date one]

7. They’re passionate about learning

One of the most relevant characteristics of millennials is that they have an insatiable appetite for learning.

Their curiosity is deep and unmatched. They’re constantly seeking new information, new understanding, and new skills. They’re a multi-faceted generation known for knowing a lot about a lot.

8. They’re receptive to feedback and recognition

Not only are millennials receptive to feedback, but they crave it. They thrive on input and constructive criticism just as much as they thrive on praise.

They genuinely like to know that they’re doing well or making a difference or if there’s something that they can do to improve. [Read: Ways to master the art of constructive criticism]

9. They’re free-thinking and creative

Because millennials grew up witnessing innovation, they’re often innovative themselves.

They have a more open and creative approach to things than their predecessors. They have an extensive imagination and an open mind that accepts different ideas and possibilities. For this reason, they’re always able to enact creative solutions and imaginative ideas.

10. They value teamwork and social interactions in the workplace

Millennials place more importance on things that older generations just don’t, and workplace connections are no exception. [Read: Tips to be good friends with your co-workers]

Because they place such a high value on being happy and satisfied with the meaning of their work, it makes sense that they would want to be happy and satisfied with the culture and environment, too.

They know that a huge chunk of their time is spent at work and would rather enjoy it than feel like it’s sucking their life away.

11. They’re multi-taskers

Millennials have an uncanny ability to tackle multiple things at once. Maybe it’s because they were raised at the height of fast-paced technology, but their brains are seemingly wired to cope with what would likely overstimulate older generations.

12. They’re nomadic

This generation is full of wanderers. [Read: The biggest myths of traveling alone]

Millennials have been shown to travel more than any other group of people and take much longer to settle down than those that came before them.

Millennials are often referred to as digital nomads as the pioneers of the “work from home” movement. It’s not uncommon to find a millennial who bounces from place to place while maintaining a steady job.

13. They’re adventurous

As has been noted, they’re wanderers. In general, they’re curious. They’re connected.

They often seek authentic adventures that challenge them and quench their thirst for new information. They want to have genuine experiences that give them stories to tell. They’re known for being fearless when it comes to trying new things.

14. They’re concerned about the environment

No generation shows concern for environmental health the way that millennials do. It might have a lot to do with their creative thinking, but there has been no shortage of unique ideas to slow down the damage being done to our planet. [Read: Millennial burnout – are you suffering from wanting to do too much?]

As a result, studies have shown that over seventy-five percent of millennials make a conscious effort to buy things that are eco-friendly. They practically demand sustainability above all.

15. They advocate for a work-life balance

Their adventurous and creative spirit really takes hold of how they work. Not only do millennials want to enjoy the work they do, but they also want to be able to enjoy their time outside of work.

Millennials persistently challenge the standard nine-to-five work environment filled with overbearing stressors.

They work on trading that for a more favorable environment that values their input and work ethic so that they’re not as mentally exhausted. They’re definitely the live-to-live type rather than the live-to-work type. [Read: How to balance your career, social life, and dating life]

Negative characteristics of millennials

Calm down!

Maybe these aren’t really negative characteristics of millennials as much as they are negative stereotypes.

Millennials get a bad rap, after all, and they have some very specific negative traits associated with them. While they are just generalizations, these are the biggest gripes other people have with millennials:

1. They crave attention

While millennials have a lot of nicknames, most paint them in kind of a negative light. In fact, they’re often referred to as the “Me Generation.” [Read: Attention whore – what it is & 23 signs & secrets to handling an attention seeker]

Call it a side effect of social media if you want to, but millennials often have a bad habit of exhibiting attention-seeking behavior. They want to be known and seen and are wildly competitive.

Many people attribute this behavior to the era of participation trophies and claim that people in this age group were often given praise without deserving it. This could also be why they desire constant feedback.

2. They’re often entitled

On the whole, one of the most known and debated characteristics of millennials is their sense of entitlement.

This is to say that a pretty decent chuck of this generation just thinks that they’re deserving. Of everything. For nothing. Participation trophies may have really done a number on them. [Read: How to get rid of the sense of entitlement that’s ruining your life]

It’s often claimed that millennials think that they’re entitled to a good life without effort. Older generations especially believe that millennials think that they should land the perfect job with flexible work hours, an incredible salary, and a stellar work environment straight out of college.

3. They can be know-it-alls

Without a doubt, millennials have had a great advantage in terms of education. They are absolutely known to be the most intelligent generation and have a great number of skills that previous generations don’t. [Read: Confident or cocky? 16 subtle signs that split an arrogant & modest man]

However, some believe that this kind of goes to their heads, and they carry around a “smarter than you” attitude.

4. They might be a bit sensitive

Because millennials are such creative and open-minded thinkers, they also tend to be a bit more passionate about things.

Some might not consider that to be a bad thing, but others believe that millennials have extremely delicate feelings that are easy to shatter.

5. They’re phone zombies

This is by far the worst of the characteristics of millennials, and it’s bound to be the worst for future generations to come. [Read: Social media addiction – the 16 alarming symptoms & how to break out]

Millennials are attached to their phones, and many find it hard to function without them. They keep their calendar on their phones. Their books are even on their phones.

In addition, there’s practically an unlimited number of apps that demand a person’s attention, and millennials definitely give it.

How millennials see themselves

It’s super easy for people to judge others based on generalizations. Unfortunately, the negative characteristics of millennials listed are just a fraction of the not-so-great traits associated with them.

But how do millennials see themselves? Do they consider themselves to be selfish and entitled? Would they call themselves know-it-alls or dramatically sensitive? [Read: Why am I so sensitive? How to stop being sensitive & grow thick skin]

The fact is that millennials are painted in such a negative light that only around thirty percent of the generation thinks that the millennial label applies to them. In other words, millennials don’t even like millennials when it comes to how they’re generally portrayed.

When asked to describe their generation as a whole, some of the more popular characteristics are that they’re self-absorbed, greedy, and wasteful. Ouch.

If you choose to focus on the positive, however, millennials tend to agree that they’re self-reliant, entrepreneurial, and forward-thinking.

Regardless, there’s good and bad in every person in every generation. It’s easy to believe that the fact that the lives of millennials have been shown off all over social media makes their traits a little more pronounced than past generations, so it’s definitely easier to nitpick them. [Read: Weird trends millennials have to explain to their kids]

Whether or not you’re a millennial, you probably know at least one! While there are a million characteristics of millennials, try to focus on the positive ones in this feature!

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Vinod Srinivas Serai
Vin Serai
Vin Serai is the founder of LovePanky.com, and has delved deep into the working of love and relationships for almost two decades. Having dipped his feet in almo...