248 646 6659
[email protected]
2075 West Big Beaver Road Suite 520, Troy, MI 48084

Expectations and Facebook Envy: Why Generation Y is Unhappy


“Follow Your Passion.”

It’s either a mantra of success you’ve heard all of your life, or is a line that you’ve ingrained in your children and grandchildren for all of theirs.

Unfortunately, if you have told this to your children all their lives, you may have set them up for unhappiness due to forming unrealistic expectations of life in their heads, according to this article in the Huffington post titled “Why Generation Y Yuppies are Unhappy” by Wait But Why.

This article breaks down the mathematics of happiness in poignant, quirky illustrations, and shows us why many Generation Y Yuppies seem perpetually dissatisfied with their life circumstances. It argues that during the baby boomer era, young people weren’t promised much, but found themselves in a time of prosperity as they entered the career world – this is a scenario in which reality beats expectations, and people were consequently satisfied and happy.  Today, Gen Y young professionals have been told all their lives that the world is their oyster, and that they can have anything they want if they really try for it, but instead are facing a much harsher and more mediocre reality than they expected.

Of particular interest to our current focus on social media depression is the section that discusses how this dichotomy between reality and expectations is further exacerbated by the “internet images” that are carefully crafted by friends, classmates, and acquaintances on Facebook and other social networks.  The effect of social media image crafting is that people start to believe that everyone else’s reality is meeting their expectations except theirs, when in reality everyone else is on the same level of “normal” as the looker.  This kind of constant social comparison can lead to self-criticism, anxiety, and FOMO effects, particularly in young adults and teens.

Here is an excerpt from the article below:

“Social media creates a world for Lucy where A) what everyone else is doing is very out in the open, B) most people present an inflated version of their own existence, and C) the people who chime in the most about their careers are usually those whose careers (or relationships) are going the best, while struggling people tend not to broadcast their situation. This leaves Lucy feeling, incorrectly, like everyone else is doing really well, only adding to her misery…”

Click here to read the rest of the article.

Parents, do you feel you painted an unrealistic picture of the “real world” to your kids?  And Gen-Yers, do you feel that the world was not quite what you had hoped for as you enter adulthood?  Tweet @birminghammaple or reply in the comments below!