KANSAS CITY, Mo. — There’s a group of people who don’t feel they belong. They feel too old to be true Millennials but too young to be from true Generation X. After trading similar experiences, the sentiment gained steam online. Now, they have a new label. Meet the Xennials.
“I feel like there was some of a disconnect with me and the Millennials and with the Generation X. I have friends that feel the same way,” explained Israel England.
Xennials are a microgeneration of people born between the years 1977 and 1983.
“Their desire not to be pigeonholed as a Millennial or as Generation X makes them really a hybrid of both,” said Jeff Moran, Professor of History at The University of Kansas.
The group also bridged an important time in a change in communication. They grew up in an analog childhood with no internet or social media but as adults, they can easily operate digital devices.
“At some point when they were getting a little bit older the digital revolution hit by 1996 and they were sending email,” explained Professor Moran.
A soundtrack of that iconic societal change included the whiny, beeping dial-up modem sound followed by the phrase, "you’ve got mail!" America Online offered many of the Xennial generation their first window into the world wide web.
“There was something about floppy disks and AOL. I was like 'how many floppy disks did I get stuck?'” remembered Amanda Fridlington.
When she first heard the term Xennial, she thought "bingo!"
“Yes, now I finally belong! Yes, totally. Yes, I felt like I belonged,” said Fridlington.
The same feeling is shared by others in the newly labeled group. They’re roughly between the ages 34 and 40. Of course, shedding the negative stereotypes of other generations is also a driving factor in creating the new microgeneration.
“There is a perception Millennials have a sense of self-indulgence and that they feel entitled. This idea that their parents either never punished them or always gave them prizes,” said Professor Moran.
For Xennials like England, it’s about constant change building on a foundation laid before.
“I think that is always going to be the process. You try to improve from the previous generation and now we’re picking up baton finishing the race.”