5 Ways Millennials Are Missing Out on Delayed Gratification


Why wait when you can have it now? The fast paced, technology dependent culture that millennials are shaping has begun to eradicate the idea of delayed gratification. Of course, delayed gratification is the concept of waiting longer before claiming some type of benefit. We could have seen this idea growing up when our parents told us not to eat all our cookies at one time so we could have some for later—or when we were told to save our allowances and not spend all our money right away. Previous generations were better equipped to look beyond the present and thinking strategically about the future. Today, telling a millennial to wait for something is like insulting their urge to exist.

This lack of patience, and to some degree of self-control, has begun to infiltrate almost all aspects of millennials’ lives. Savvy tech products and the dependency we now have on them to function in society has turned millennials into impatient drones thirsty to reap any gratification as fast as they can receive texts. These are five ways millennials have eradicated delayed gratification from their lives: 

1. Communication 

I know how frightening it is to look back to the dark ages when most families had home phones, but communication meant more to us back then. If you wanted to call a friend you would have to wait to get home and use your home phone to call a friend. Conversations were probably more meaningful since we had actual things to talk about. Today, unlimited texting and ever changing updates on social media constantly keep friends informed about each other’s lives. There is no need to talk because there is nothing new to share that is not already posted on a social media outlet. Genuinely missing someone is a foreign concept to many millennials with the help of online web chatting. Before, if a loved one went away for some reason people would have to wait to see them. This distance created appreciation for the other person. It is hard to miss someone even if they are really far away if you have Skype chats with them every night. Millennials will have none of that nonsense about "waiting" to see someone; instead, they just turn on one of their devices and problem fixed.

2. Dating

Dating might not be in many millennials’ vocabulary anymore. Courting someone and getting to know them before dating is almost as outdated as MC Hammer’s music video outfits. After dating a person for some time the next step in a relationship was probably intimacy. For those who were extra "old fashioned" it might have been marriage and then the benefits of the honeymoon. Millennials jump straight into the honeymoon and "hook up" as early as the first day of meeting each other. If after the sex there is interest in getting to know the other person, they could begin dating. How did Bella Swan from the Twilight saga manage to wait so long for Edward? Oh wait, Bella Swan is just a character; the real Kristen Stewart could not wait to reap the benefits of director Rupert Sanders!

3. Friendships

At someone point, moving to new schools was incredibly hard for kids because making friends was a long process. It took time to get to know someone, to build a connection, and to develop a genuine friendship. It was almost as time consuming and involved as making an apple pie out of scratch. Making "friends" in today’s culture has been facilitated and cheapened by Facebook’s magical friend request button. People are no longer acquaintances; they automatically become friends when one accepts the other’s friend request even after meeting only once. We all know once it goes up on Facebook it become official, so of course they are friends. Facebook says so!

4. Making memories

There was always a sense of joy when picking up developed pictures from your local drug store where you had dropped off your film or disposable camera. People took pictures and would later have time to remember those moments they captured. Today, people probably spend more time erasing and retaking pictures until they capture themselves at the right angle. When most of the pictures are digital and prints are not longer needed, there is a loss in the appreciation of the moment. The only true memories seem to be the older versions of the iPad and iPod.  

5. Money and Shopping

There was a time when people would only spend the money they had available. Credit cards have solved millennials’ caveman worries about having to wait for money. All that is needed is a swipe of a card and you are good to go. Who needs to wait until they have money to get what they want? The best is when people can pre-order things before they are made available at stores. Instead of going to the store and purchasing goods, people can have them delivered to their doorstep. Make sure to pre-order your favorite items before they become so two seconds ago!

Of course, there are great benefits to being able to rapidly obtain the things we want and to stay connected to those we love. These things are what make us a creative and highly effective generation. However, there are just some things inparts of life where shortcuts can't be taken, like education, bonding with loved ones, and learning the value of waiting to gain the benefits of something worth waiting for. After all there, is a reason why a good cheese or wine is one that has aged a while.