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How To Relate To Your Boomer (Or Millennial) Coworkers

Sep 05, 2022
How To Relate To Your Boomer (Or Millennial) Coworkers

How To Relate To Your Boomer (Or Millennial) Coworkers

I've always been a bit of an oddball at work. I'm not the youngest, but I'm also not quite old enough to be considered part of the "older generation" either. As a millennial, I often find myself in-between generations—and that can make it hard to relate to coworkers from older or younger backgrounds. But there are ways for us all to get along better!

Tailor your body language and communication style to that of your coworkers.

Boomers (and Gen-Xers) often find it difficult to relate to Millennials, especially when it comes to communication style. If you're a Millennial working with a Boomer, here are some tips for communicating effectively:

  • Be a good listener. Listen more than you speak. You'll be surprised at how many times you will learn something new from the other person if they feel like they're being listened to by someone who cares about what they have to say and wants their opinions on the matter.

  • Use body language that shows interest in what is being said instead of merely waiting for your turn to speak again. This includes nodding along or even smiling at appropriate moments as well as making eye contact firmly but kindly (it's hard not to look into those Baby Boomer eyes!).

If your coworker is using humor instead of anger or sarcasm, try using humor too! It can be hard but remember that everyone likes having fun sometimes, so go ahead and lighten up! And if all else fails...just ask them about themselves; this is usually enough for most people!

Find common ground with your coworkers by asking questions about their hobbies and interests, outside of work.

  • Find common ground with your coworkers by asking questions about their hobbies and interests, outside of work. You don't need to share a hobby or interest in order to relate. But asking about what they do for fun will help you understand them better as a person, which will make it easier for you to communicate with them at work.

  • Try asking some of these questions: "What's your favorite book?" "What's the best movie you've seen recently?" Or if they're more into sports, ask things like “What’s your favorite team?” or “Who won the World Series last year?” If they like traveling, ask where their favorite vacation spot is—or if they're more adventurous than that (and maybe just went camping), ask what their favorite camping spot was!

  • Don't be afraid of looking silly while trying to connect with people; everyone has hobbies and interests outside of work!

Discuss your shared values with coworkers.

If you find that you have a lot in common with your coworkers, consider talking about your shared values. One of the best ways to get to know someone is by talking about what they do in their spare time. What are their hobbies? Do they run marathons or go to church? Or maybe there's one thing that makes them stand out from everyone else at work—for example, maybe they're vegan and can recommend some good places for lunch! Take some time to ask them questions and see where things go from there.

Learn from each other's strengths.

  • Learn from each other's strengths. The older you are, the more experience you have in your field. The younger you are, the more adaptable and open-minded you are likely to be. Use this to your advantage—it might be tempting to do everything yourself because it was done that way for so long, but if there's something about the new way of doing things that could help out your business or office then take advantage of it! For example, maybe someone from Generation Z has a better idea on how to optimize your website for mobile devices; maybe Boomers can learn how to use social media by watching Millennials' videos and posts online; maybe Millennials will teach their parents about modern technology and apps like Uber or Venmo (just kidding).

Respect the views and experiences of your coworkers as you work together on projects.

As you work with your coworkers, keep in mind that they have different viewpoints, experiences, opinions, and perspectives. They may also have different ideas about what should be done to solve problems or achieve goals. Some of their values may be in conflict with yours, but this can help you understand how this person thinks and why he or she behaves the way he or she does.

When you are working on a project together with someone who has a different point of view from yourself (or even just a different background than yours), it's important not to make assumptions about what your coworker believes or wants without asking him/her directly first--and then, listening carefully when he/she answers your questions!

This is especially true if one of your coworkers is younger than yourself; there may be times when an idea that seems very obvious to someone older than 40 years old might seem strange or even silly when explained by someone who is 25 years younger than themselves (~20 years old).

There are many ways to bridge the generational gap at work.

There are many ways to bridge the generational gap at work. You can:

  • respect their experience and knowledge

  • learn from them

  • ask them questions, such as “How did you get here?” or “What’s your opinion of this?”

  • find common ground by talking about things you both enjoy, like sports or music. Or talk about current events in the news.


In the end, it’s important to remember that you’re all on the same team. You have more in common than you think, and working together as a team will help you accomplish great things. We hope these tips will help your team work together better—and maybe even become friends!

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