Coming of age in these times is the best. 10/10. Highly recommend.
When a group of millennials gets together (what is this called, anyway? A Struggle Bus of millennials? An Overwhelm of millennials? A Depression of millennials?), it always seems to follow the same basic framework. While some of these topics may not be exclusively millennial, there are some fun existential twists that millennials seem to have adopted. After all, who doesn’t like enjoying a fine meal while discussing the eventual collapse of society, amirite? Rose gold, avocado toast, and casually sipping a beverage while the world crumbles around us…ah, the millennial trifecta.
Before the hang
The pre-hang is fraught with so many apologies and reschedules that you almost don’t remember why you agreed to hang out in the first place. Jenny has had to reschedule so many times because of her kid’s soccer games, and Carmen keeps taking so many depression naps that we don’t hear from her for hours (or sometimes days) in the group chat.
Herding this group feels impossible, but with some determination, everything will come together. After about the 30th time you’ve been too busy to hang out or it hasn’t worked out for one reason or another, there’s finally a date that works for everyone! It’s happening!!!
Arriving at the hang
If you’re at a restaurant or another location waiting for everyone else to arrive, you’re hanging out on your phone to mitigate the awkwardness of sitting alone and keep others from interacting with you. What if someone asks if they can use another chair at your empty table and you have to awkwardly tell them no because you have friends coming? The horror!
If the hang is at someone’s house and you’ve just arrived, you send a polite “I’m here” text. Why use the doorbell when that could risk an awkward run in with someone else in the house. Maybe your friend isn’t ready yet and you’ll be forced to chit chat with someone else who lives with them while you wait. The horror!
Like any other group, we talk about work! Most people spend at least a third of their lives at work, so of course the stories are endless. Plus, everyone knows that workplace drama (particularly the workplace drama you’re not actually involved in) is the absolute best. After we’re done discussing all of the petty crap that went down between our coworkers while we were eavesdropping, we talk about the never ending struggle between caring so much about our jobs that we feel the need to overwork ourselves for abysmal pay and caring not at all as an attempt to achieve that elusive work-life balance.
Which tactic won out this week? Neither! My brain vacillated between overcaring and apathy to the point where I was curled up in a fetal position and unable to do everything. Too relatable!
My aching back
We aren’t getting any younger, and our bodies like to remind us of that every day. From new food intolerances to the consequences of doing something reckless like sleeping the wrong way, our bodies are beginning to betray us more than they used to. We get together and talk about all of the new ways that we’re experiencing our bodily decay while we reminisce about the “good ol’ days.” Then we move on to talking about how old we are with relation to TV shows, movies, each other’s cousins and siblings, etc.
While many people like to think that millennials are still teenagers in high school and college, the youngest millennials are actually in their mid-twenties right now. That’s right, we’re going through all of those big life changes like figuring out exactly what our careers will look like, looking at homes for sale, and chatting about marriage and kids. Every millennial hang involves at least one person talking about their upcoming wedding, pregnancy journey, or house/apartment hunt. Usually followed by the modern-day struggles we’re facing with those…
Nothing says “I’m fine” like joking about mental illness
Everything’s bad. We take turns talking about our various mental illnesses and things that we learned in therapy recently as we’ve tried to cope with existence, all with huge smiles on our faces. So many facets of life and society — both recently and in the last decade — have taken terribly bad turns. And we get a front row seat as we try to buy houses, have kids, move up in our jobs, just afford to exist, etc. At least part of our conversation has to turn to the state of the world. So that’s…fun.
It’s all about the escapism
Now that we’ve effectively reflected on the state of the world and bummed ourselves out, it’s time to talk about what we’re doing to keep our brains from catching fire. Which forms of escapism did we use this week? Whether healthy or unhealthy, we talk about filling the endless void with anything from losing ourselves in our latest obsessions to needless spending to consuming copious amounts of caffeine.
Because watching the world burn isn’t optional, but sipping an iced latte while you do it is.
The highlights of the week
At some point in the conversation, we discuss all of those things that made us happy during the week. While these used to be actual fun things like winning contests and going to concerts, they are now going to the home improvement store, finding a great deal on milk, or buying a new vacuum. Oh, and did I mention that I just bought a new showerhead with excellent water pressure!? Could life really get any better!?
No millennial hang is ever complete without everyone sharing their favorite memes and TikTok videos that they’ve seen over the past few weeks. Everyone needs a good laugh, and if there’s any way to share that laughter with a friend, it’s always welcome. Thus begins the rapid-fire meme exchange, where each new thing is preceded by the phrase “I’m not sure if I already sent this to you but…”
Ice cream…for some reason
Then, all millennial hangs end in ice cream. I mean, I’m not sure how specific this is to the idea of the “millennial hang,” and I’m not sure why this is the case. But they all end in ice cream. I don’t make the rules. I just benefit from the chocolatey goodness of them.
And there you have it: your classic millennial hang. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it? Maybe I should make a BINGO board with these to use at all of my millennial hangs. For my millennial readers, is this how your hangs go, too? Or is it just me and my friends?
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto