Boomers More Narcissistic Than Millennials, Study Shows

Surprising No One, Recent Research Shows Boomers Are A Bunch Of Narcissists

Senior Lady Looking at Mirror
Scary Mommy and Brigitte Sporrer/Getty

In a study that most of us could have written without any research whatsoever, scientists in the Journal of Psychology and Aging found that Boomers are more sensitive than Millennials and display more traits traditionally associated with narcissism. It should come as no shock whatsoever that a generation which brought us mass-scale multi-level marketing, Donald Trump, and Applebees would act in a more “hypersensitive” fashion than one which overwhelmingly supports gay marriage, marijuana legalization, and a path to citizenship for undocumented workers.

Debbie and Carl, your precious snowflakes are rolling their eyes. You know, that same motion we make when you ask us to “fix” your Roku so you can watch endless seasons of The Incredible Dr. Pol. No, I lied. When us ask us to “fix” your Roku, we hang up and cry silent tears of frustration and despair.

Click on articles about Millennials in the workplace. I’ll wait. You call us “spoiled,” “lazy,” and “entitled.” Well, we might sound entitled when we caterwaul about how Boomers fucked up our environment, refuse to fix it, and keep farting out more carbon. Give us our goddamn rainforests back, Susan! And how, exactly, are we entitled? Because we believe our neurodivergent, differently sexed, differently oriented, differently gendered, and differently abled friends deserve a novel thing called equal protection?

We are so entitled to “overwhelmingly support comprehensive LGBT nondiscrimination policies.”

Boomers will retire somewhere between age 66 and 67. Meanwhile, we will work until we die, probably in a shitty gig economy you made necessary with your corporate takeovers. Call that spoiled, Larry. We will never see the social security dollars you are snarfing up — from a program you refuse to bail out. We are so spoiled we live in our parents’ basements because we can’t afford a house.

Newsflash: we do not want to live in a basement. This is not “being spoiled.” This is “being really fucking poor and drowning in generational debt.”

A Closer Look At Narcissism And Hypersensitivity

This study encompassed 747 participants, the largest cohort ever studied for narcissistic traits. It found that while there’s a drop in narcissism around age forty, older generations start out with a higher degree of narcissism than younger ones. Boomers specifically scored high in the “defensiveness” or “hypersensitivity” category.

Experts defined hypersensitivity as “being unreceptive to others’ feedback and lashing out at any criticism toward one’s self.” Remember, like the meme says: accusations from a narcissist are really confessions.

So when we tell Carol and Larry that they should stop driving a seven-seat, carbon-burping tank on one-person grocery runs, or maybe take another look at that Alex Jones dude and reality, they get super pissed off and double-down. This is how we ended up with Q-Anon and a recurring belief in stupid narratives like:

  1. The American dream: Anybody can become whatever they want!
  2. The Bad Immigrant: They took our jobs!
  3. The Bad Black People: They need to stop rioting. And what is ‘BIPOC’? Quit your goddamn acronyms.
  4. Political Correctness Is Bullshit: Saying “political correctness” does not signal that I am a racist ass.

Boomers refuse to accept critical analysis of these narratives they hold dear. Instead, they dig their heels in, and these dangerous stories persist.

They will call bullshit on all of this. They saw Hamilton once.

Erik Isakson/Getty

Let’s Talk About “Willfullness,” Boomers

That study also showed that Boomers scored higher when it came to “willfullness,” or “the tendency to impose opinions on others.” Translation: you want everyone to dance to your score, and when we refuse, you get super pissed off and call us names. And throw tantrums. Think Trump and his Twitter account (should we even allow you people on social media for more than cat memes? None other than the glorious AARP reports that Boomers with COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy are more likely to get their information from social media and internet sources than mainstream news). Is John Fetterman all up on Twitter shitposting about vaccine denial? No, he’s probably advocating for marijuana legalization and having an adorable argument with his adorable wife Gisele.

This willfullness means that not only are Boomers more likely to impose their opinions on others, they’re less tolerant of others’ opinions. So while Millennials might shrug off choices that don’t impinge on others’ rights, Boomers need to get all up in that. Do you rock rainbow hair? Listen to different music? Tattoo your face? Not my business, yo. You do you.

But Boomers turn all Judgy McJudgerson. 31% of employers said they would be less likely to promote someone with a visible tat, and 37% less likely to promote someone with a piercing. Wow, that tiny nose piercing totally affects one’s ability to write or wait tables or dig ditches or science or whatever. Mostly dig ditches or wait tables, since Millennials can’t find decent-paying jobs. See our super-low employment-to-population ratio as evidence. We also have an incredibly slow rate of wealth accumulation. But something tells me our tattoos aren’t that determining factor.

Boomers’ opinion? Just google it. We’re lazy.

Counterpoint, Boomers. There are no jobs. 

Now it’s time to throw down, because you don’t tolerate different opinions well. Even when we back them up with facts.

Sit Down, Uncle

We always knew y’all showed narcissistic traits. How else can we explain your inability to fix climate change and your bloated defense budget? Do we really need another fighter jet when one in six American children faces food insecurity? Yes, you become less narcissistic as you age. But you still have a long way to go. Linda, remember that part in “Land of Confusion” about how “My generation will put it right”?

You have made Phil Collins a liar. I hope that feels good.

But unlike what you and Pete Townshend always wished, you didn’t die before you got old, so you have to reap what you’ve sown: fruits of entrenched racism you refused to confront, climate change you wouldn’t fix, debt crises you didn’t bail out and crumbling infrastructure you willfully ignored. But I’m a liar, my opinion doesn’t matter, and I am whining. I have no right to criticize because… (insert reason).

Don’t worry. We’ll solve it all.

We sort of fucking have to.