Brust: Millennials are terrible at the art of arguing

Allec Brust

Arguing is awesome. It shows intelligence and promotes growth through discussion. It is not a negative thing to disagree, which is something many millennials tend to forget. Millennials have become subjected to a life of communication from behind a computer screen and, along with that, we have lost a very important skill: the ability to argue.

Millennials are passive aggressive. It is difficult to describe us that way however. The onslaught of protests and violence is in no way passive aggressive. I do not mean that millennials do not combat their issues because it is obvious that aggression has been a staple of the election season. The issue is that millennials have lost sight of what it means to communicate through argumentation, a skill which is vital to succeeding in the workplace.


It is a slippery slope but it does not take a ton of research to see that millennials are failing at communication skills and holding a job in general. One more concrete example is women failing to negotiate their salary in high paying careers. If women don’t wish to communicate they get the short end of the stick on their own accord.

It all comes down to a trait we have all inadvertently acquired: a dependence on secondary communication. Businesses have started to recognize gaps in communication skills with younger applicants. The dependence on our phones has made our ability to speak publicly a talent only few possess. Since millennials were socialized to modernize and dumb down we have lost business skills that our baby boomer counterparts had success in. Why would I meet with someone to discuss differences when I can just bitch through my phone? Why would I have a political argument when I could just post my views on Facebook? Convenience is killing our very ability to speak.

The problem is surface level: we are a nation that thrives off of convenience. It can be frightening to tell people you disagree, which is understandable because we are only human and deal with conflict differently. The issue is that we have the choice to be non-confrontational where in the past that wasn’t an option.

There has been extensive research on this generation’s dwindling communication abilities. We can analyze it all we want but in the end it starts with the individual. Millennials need to stop being goddamn pushovers. Charisma has taken a backseat to the passive aggressive loser complaining on my Facebook feed. Problem solving skills have dwindled at the hands of cattiness from behind our iPhone screens. We are the generation of individuals who will freeze under the influence of constructive criticism. We are useless, blabbering toddlers who can’t speak our thoughts. We cannot handle opposition without feeling aggressively attacked.

Millennials have ideas and goals and strengths but we cannot communicate when faced with opposition. It is imperative to learn these skills. When your boss tells you your project is terrible you can’t go to your office to cry about it; that’s just annoying and pathetic. Not only is it annoying but not understanding criticism has lead people to violence. The 2014 Arapahoe shooting was prompted all because a student was told his debate skills were inadequate. Being able to take opposition is imperative in the workplace but also for life in general.

On a more positive note being able to actively argue and discuss differences is incomparably sexy and intriguing. If you have ever sat down over coffee to discuss opposing political views you know what I mean. There is so much you can learn from the passions and beliefs of people that are different from you. Being able to listen actively to someone is a beautiful, educational experience. Playing off of one another’s ideas and listening without the intent of immediate rebuttal is a talent, something we should all acquire. Discussion over opposing ideas exists and it’s amazing once you open up to being opposed.

So stand strong in your views. Be passionate about issues and fight for your beliefs. If someone opposes you listen to them without the intent to attack. If you have an issue with someone don’t instigate the situation by sending a text. Show them you are serious through confrontation. If you are faced with criticism just take it. Learn to speak and grow through communication. Leaders are not made behind the screen of a laptop.