Seniors and millennials weigh up on biggest etiquette rules

The seventh instalment of ‘The Australian Seniors Series’ explores the extent to which Australia’s over 50s are adapting to emerging social etiquette expectations and their attitudes towards these changes. Read more in the Modern Manners survey about the research that shows that Australia’s over 50s are a generation of grounded individuals who place a lot of importance on being authentic.

Who wins on etiquette standards in city versus rural people?

Which residents excel in being polite and friendly? More than half of the seniors surveyed think rural towns are leading the way. The survey also asked millennials for their views, and their response was different, with much smaller proportions of those surveyed singing the praises of country folk.

Chart showing the breakdown in regional versus metro and rural towns

How do seniors around Australia want to age? 

When asked about their philosophy on getting older, close to three in four seniors want to age gracefully as opposed to ageing disgracefully. (Numbers in grey in the middle reflect those who have no preference.)

Chart showing information on who values ageing gracefully and who wants to age disgracefully

What NOT to do on social media according to seniors and millennials:

  1. Send personal messages through a public post.
  2. Embarrass others in public forums, including sharing embarrassing children’s stories.
  3. Post when overly tired, intoxicated or emotional.

Millennials have a similar take except that their third top social media etiquette rule includes not sharing intentionally vague/inane posts, chronic complaints, emotional dumps or oversharing. 

How social etiquette has changed in the past 20 years

  • 84% believe people are ruder or more impatient.
  • 50% say people are more isolated from their community.

The top two most important social etiquette practices 

Seniors in Australia weigh up on politically correctness in culture

While Aussie seniors value the importance of good manners, nine in ten agree that people are too politically correct (or ‘PC’) these days and believe that the push for constant PC behaviour is ruining society (86%). In fact, “having to be politically correct all the time” is a top pet peeve for more than half of Aussie seniors (52%).  

While PC practices can be considered both a prerequisite and a faux pas, there is no question that having racist, sexist, classist or ageist opinions is one of the greatest gaffes that be can be committed, with two-thirds agreeing with this view.

In what ways do seniors feel patronised about their age?

  • 49% say it’s people assuming they can’t use technology well.
  • 31% say it’s people assuming they are less physically able.

Read the full Australian Seniors Modern Manners research to get more of an insight into the thoughts of seniors on manners and social etiquette.