New Brunswick — Are you in a messenger or text chat with a baby boomer and are wondering what their responses mean?
If you’re a millennial or even from Gen X or Z, you’re probably used to more thorough responses from your peers when you send them a message. Usually, that response will be in direct relation to your question or statement, and reflect the same emotion or tone you’ve used throughout the rest of the conversation.
Not so with boomers. We’re here to help you decode what these sometimes cryptic or frustrating responses from boomers really mean.
- Thumbs up reaction. Whether it’s one thumbs up emoji affixed to your last message or several sent independently, this is a baby boomer’s way of saying they received your long, thoughtful message, and would like the interaction to be finished.
- “Ok.” Similar to the thumbs up, this is an acknowledgement of receipt. While, coming from a millennial, this would be immediately construed as passive-aggressive and even hostile — especially if there are ellipses after it — from a boomer, this is normal.
- “Thanks.” This is another acknowledgement of receipt. Younger people would use an exclamation mark and specify what it is they’re thanking you for. Boomers write “thanks” as a way to say, “Thank you for sending this message; I’ll consider it and get back to you.”
- “Your aunt had a bad fall.” This means that the baby boomer in question picked up their phone to convey some family news at about the same time as you sent your last message, which means that text from you was not seen and will not be taken into account — you’re now talking about your aunt’s health until further notice.
- A series of emojis and/or stickers. To young people, this is basically junk mail. It’s the unsolicited Burger King flier of messages. You may have said something heartfelt, but the boomer will send a cartoon fox holding a heart that says “love you” and believe it conveys genuine emotion. While irritating to look at, these stickers mean they really care, so you’d be wise to accept it as such.
- “Seen.” No, the baby boomer did not type out the word “seen.” This is when you can plainly see that they’ve received your message as whatever platform you’re using informs the sender, but the boomer says nothing. While being “left on read” is a major burn in younger circles, no answer at all is actually the most common response from a baby boomer. It doesn’t mean they’re angry or not interested — it just means they were doing something else and will either respond in a few days with an unrelated topic, or never.