Chances are you may not see eye to eye with older or younger generations—and that’s pretty normal. From values and attitudes to technology and finances, things have changed quite a bit over the last several decades, which is why it’s important to help bridge the gap to promote understanding across the divide. We’ve gathered eight ways to help foster better relationships across generations with simple actions.
Show respect and appreciation
It’s important to treat each of your family members and coworkers with respect and learn to value the contributions and knowledge each generation can provide. Everyone has a different experience and perspective on how they grew up and their current lives. Although you may disagree with each other’s way of life, be open to learning from others’ experiences…you may just be surprised by how they align with yours.
Practice active listening
It can be easy to shut down and stop listening if someone says something you don’t necessarily agree with. But instead of turning away, take the time to truly listen and understand each other’s perspectives. When you actively listen to what someone else has to say instead of thinking about what you want to say, you’re giving open dialogue a chance. Avoid interrupting each other and ask intentional questions to understand the way they see things.
Share stories and experiences
Help create a sense of connection by sharing personal stories, experiences and memories. Every experience has relevance—from war stories to social media trends. The more you learn about each other, the better understanding you’ll gain from each generation.
Engage in activities
Participate in activities that allow different generations to bond and interact with each other. Whether it’s gardening and canning or learning the latest TikTok dance, take an interest in what each of you likes to do or pursue shared hobbies or interests.
Be open to learning from each other
Each generation has an opportunity to learn from one another because each has its own strengths and knowledge to offer. Be open-minded so you can learn from each other’s experiences and perspectives, regardless of age.
Celebrate and create new traditions
Respect and honor the traditions of different generations through holiday celebrations, cultural events or family rituals together. And while you celebrate old traditions, create new ones that your family can enjoy for years to come.
Generational differences can sometimes lead to misunderstandings and conflicts. Practice patience, empathy and understanding if these situations arise, and understand that every generation has experienced something different. Try your best to seek common ground and build bridges between generations instead of dwelling on things you don’t necessarily agree with.
Communicate openly and regularly
The key to building relationships is to communicate often and openly. Keep in touch through phone calls, video chats and in-person visits so you can share life updates and discuss common interests. Showing a genuine interest in each other’s lives can help foster strong bonds, bridge generational gaps and create an inclusive family or work environment.Back to issue