7 Ways Older Millennials Text Differently Than Younger Millennials

It's no surprise that millennials have very specific texting habits. In fact, many are practically shamed for having a phone be akin to an additional appendage on their arm. But communicating is crucial, as is constantly staying connected to this 24-hour world. Relation is essential. And so we text, all the time. But there are a few ways older millennials text differently than younger millennials, because even a few years is a significant enough generational gap.

According to Pew Research Center, "anyone born between 1981 and 1996 (ages 22 - 37 in 2018) will be considered a millennial, and anyone born from 1997 onward will be part of a new generation." That's quite the span of time. While older millennials grew up to the tune of a dial tone, younger millennials were blessed with instant messaging, high-speed internet and the luxury of wi-fi. While we're all bunched into the same generational title, we still practice differing habits when it comes to sending messages. Because sometimes, as a millennial who falls somewhere in the middle of 22 and 37, it seems the "kids" these days have a new language. Confession: it took me a while to figure out what "ship" meant.

Despite the differences, we do have some texting traits in common. We can all bond over dreading the punctuated and ever infuriating "k." to a heartfelt message. And nobody texts when they drive because it's not cool.

Punctuation Vs. Emoji

Everybody, even your mom, maybe even your grandma, uses emojis. But older millennials might have a stronger connection to a language without the use of emojis to get their message across. In a "Survivor: Millennials Vs. Gen X" episode recounted by The Hollywood Reporter, the Gen X team took the time to spell out "you" instead of simplifying it to "u" or communicate their message via emoji. Which ultimately resulted in a loss for their team. While, yes, this was Gen X versus millennials, some of the older millennials might still be attached to the capitalization, correct spelling and punctuation English class taught us so well while younger millennials get to the point. A flexing emoji says the same thing as, "you are a strong person," just without all the typing.

No Read Receipts Vs. Read Receipts

Read receipts keep the heat on. And not everybody is into that kind of pressure. Older millennials might like to have this turned off so that they can respond at their leisure without speculation and almost free of assumption. Hey, you really could have left your phone in the car or fell asleep and that's why it took you so long to respond. With flip phones, older millennials were never used to the notion of a read receipt. But younger millennials aren't about the shade and it seems like hold their texting partner responsible. Tick, tock. Brit + Co reports that, "55 percent of teens and millennials do have them enabled." I'm gonna go ahead and say that half of millennials would be the younger half.

Acronyms And Abbreviations

We've all "lol"-ed. "BRB" and "G2G" was born on AOL Instant Messenger. Which many older millennials became attached to. "U" was necessary on flip phones that didn't have separate digital keyboards. But abbreviations differ based on if you're an older or younger millennial. Older millennials seem to learn the newest from their younger counterparts. "Stan", anybody? It's a whole new language of abbreviations out there.

Sending Text After Text Vs. Playing The Waiting Game

Older millennials grew up with AIM which had its own, though similar, etiquette. You could send message after message all broken up and each ding of a notification ringing through your computer would elicit joy. But younger millennials know how to work the game of texting. The younger millennials are more privy to double texting. Not in the know? Double texting is when you send two texts without a reply in between, which apparently, is not the way to play the game.

Sending Pics Vs. Sending GIFs

There's a lot you can do via text. You can send emojis, pictures, screenshots, GIFs, and now even artwork. Older millennials might jump on all the new developments and master them because code basically runs through our veins, but there are some things we are more attached to. Older millennials might send more screenshots and pictures because they're worth a thousand words. Younger millennials might send more GIFs because those are worth at least two thousand words and are funnier reactions than a selfie or emoji.

Text As Main Source Of Communication Vs. Many Modes Of Communication

Forbes reports on a story about American communication published on Gallup that "68 percent of millennials admit to texting a lot". We sure do! But there are so many ways in which our communication varies on the phone. Older millennials might still be open to turning texts into phone calls. And younger millennials turn texts into DMs into voice notes into FaceTimes.


A "hello" or "hey" works for older millennials whereas a "what's up" or "u up" has gained traction with the younger of the millennial crew. But we allllllll know what "u up" insinuates.