Know a Quarterlifer Who’s Struggling? Here’s How You Can Help
Are you a parent, grandparent, friend, or loved one of an adult quarterlifer? Quarterlifers are individuals who are in their twenties or thirties. They’re the millennials or Gen Zers in your life who you may notice are struggling right now. Whether they’re back home living with you, suffering from unemployment, generally lacking motivation, sleeping a lot, socially isolating themselves, or just not opening up to you about it, then you may wonder…
What can I do to help?
If you think someone you know is having a quarterlife crisis, you can help. Here’s what we suggest.
What should I do if I think my loved one is having a quarterlife crisis?
If you know a quarterlifer who is struggling, you’re not alone. We often hear from family members or other loved ones who believe that their child or friend is suffering. This is what you can do.
1. Recognize the symptoms
Symptoms of a quarterlife crisis include:
- Lack of motivation
- Anxiety about the future
- Difficulty making decisions
- Changes in appetite or sleep habits
- Substance abuse
If you begin to notice these symptoms (or have noticed them over the past several months), then you may wonder about the next steps. How can you help your loved one and express the concern that you’re feeling?
2. Avoid confrontation
You may be feeling a mix of concern, frustration, or confusion. And especially if your child isn’t talking to you, then you have no idea what’s going through their head either. This combination of emotions often prompts people to lead with something like, “So, how’s the job/apartment search going?” or “What’s your plan for your life? You don’t seem to be making any progress, but you sure watch a lot of TV.” Inevitably, this doesn’t help the conversation progress very far. It just puts everyone on the defensive.
Try using a supportive approach where you express how you’re feeling. “I’m worried about you because you don’t seem like yourself lately. What’s been on your mind?” Remember, while you’re not asking about a job or apartment, you’ll likely get to the root of the issue much faster, and you’ll be able to offer them the assistance they need to get to those end goals.
3. Listen intently
Regardless of how the conversation goes, the best thing you can do as a supportive person in their life is listen. Hear where they are, refrain from overly positive statements that may minimize their experiences, and remind them that they don’t have to go through this alone. If it seems appropriate, suggest that they speak to a counselor. A counselor is often a great resource because they’re an external party who can offer nonjudgmental support. They’re not a parent, family member, or close friend who may be difficult to talk things through with.
4. Be sure to follow-up
Within a few weeks of that initial conversation, make sure you follow up with your quarterlifer. This is a step that many people miss because they’re afraid of seeming pushy, but it’s critical because it allows you to keep communication open. You can ask something general, like “I wanted to follow up with you from our chat a couple of weeks ago and see how you’re feeling. I just want you to know I’m here for you if you want to talk.” This gives them the opportunity to open up more or communicate anything that may have been forgotten. It also reassures them that they don’t need to struggle alone.
The steps in this blog may seem simple in theory, but it can be hard to watch someone you love struggle. Have more questions about navigating this stage of life? Don’t hesitate to reach out to the Quarterlife Center for more information.