Can We Guess Your Generation Based on Your Life Skills?

By: Emily Maggrett
Estimated Completion Time
8 min
Can We Guess Your Generation Based on Your Life Skills?
Image: Kristina Lindberg/Digital Vision/Getty Images

About This Quiz

Each era requires different life skills. For instance, if you were a child during the Great Depression, you learned how to grow your own food, preserve your own vegetables and do your own home repairs. On the other hand, if you were a child during the '80s, it was more important that you learn how to type, multi-task and stick to a complicated schedule. 

In this quiz, we're going to ask you about your adeptness at various tasks, such as talking on the phone, uninstalling apps and sewing on buttons. If you answer honestly, we wager that we'll be able to pinpoint the exact generation you come from. That's because, as they came of age, baby boomers, the Silent Generation, millennials and Gen Xers all had to develop quite divergent skill sets. Whether you call it "adulting" or "just plain common sense," these are the abilities that make you feel like a grown-up! As you answer these questions, don't be ashamed of what you don't know. The truth is, this is an opportunity; the generations have a lot to teach one another. A gap in your knowledge can be a wonderful excuse to call a much older or much younger relative and ask for their help. It might just draw you closer together!

So, tell us the truth: do you know how to sew?
Of course, I do.
I can sew on buttons.
Nope!
I can do simple sewing, such as hemming or making single-panel curtains.

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When a colleague asks you to fax over some paperwork, can you do it without asking the IT manager for help?
No. I don't understand why you wouldn't just mail the papers over.
Yes. I know how to fax and love the weird sounds the machine makes.
Yes. Although nowadays, I don't know why you wouldn't email a scanned PDF instead.
No! What is "fax" even short for?

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Have you ever canned vegetables?
My mother taught me how to can fruit and vegetables. We used to can produce from our garden every summer.
I did it a couple of times as a kid.
I read a "Real Simple" article about canning vegetables and pinned it. Does that count?
I've never canned vegetables. It seems like a waste of time.

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Can you uninstall annoying apps on your phone without any help?
I'd like to think so, but ... no.
Yes, but it usually takes me a few tries.
Of course!
What's "app" short for? Apple?

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Is your handwriting amazing or abysmal?
It's clear and readable, if not very elegant.
Meh. If doctors don't have to have legible handwriting, neither do I.
It's pretty darn good; I get a lot of practice through bullet-journaling.
It's beautiful. I was taught the Palmer Method of penmanship.

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Are you secretly scared of talking on the phone?
I'm fine on the phone, although I prefer face-to-face interactions.
I'm great on the phone!
I hate talking on the phone; I would rather text or use Slack.
I can use the phone if I have to, but my preferred mode of communication is email.

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Can you Snapchat with ease?
No, the interface is too confusing.
Yes, it's how I communicate with my kids.
Yes, it's how I communicate with a lot of my friends.
I don't know what Snapchat is and I don't want to know.

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When it comes to baking, do you have the finesse of a young Martha Stewart or are you more likely to mix up a cake fail?
Most of my cakes are cake fails.
I know how to bake, but pastries aren't good for my waistline so I don't do it often.
I'm a total Martha; I can bake six different types of cake from memory!
Do people still bake?

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Have you ever used a pager?
Uh, I think so. Why would I need a pager?
Yes, I had one in the '90s.
What's a pager?
No, seriously, what's a pager?

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Like Ron Swanson, are you an expert at polishing wood furniture?
I learned how to do that when I was 5. It's essential to preserve​ the wood.
No. Who has time for that crap?
Now that I'm buying more mid-century modern pieces, I'm picking up that skill.
It was one of my chores as a teen, but I haven't done it since.

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In a pinch, can you do basic video-editing?
No, but for some reason my kids can. Where did they learn it?
Define "basic".
Sure!
No, why would I need to know how to do that?

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Do you have fond memories of cleaning your Snoop Dogg and Weezer CDs to keep them from skipping?
No. I've always gotten my music from the radio.
Nope. All my music is on vinyl.
Yes! I also had one of those ugly CD towers.
I remember doing that once or twice as a kid.

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Can you drive a stick shift?
All adults know how to drive stick.
Of course. All the best cars require it.
Yes, but not very well.
Um, no. I'm sorry!

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This Thanksgiving, if someone asks you to carve the turkey, will you know what to do?
Yes!
Yeah, but it will be messy.
I don't know how to carve a turkey!
Let me Google it.

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Are you good at ironing?
I know how to iron everything.
No. I spray my wrinkly clothes with water and let them hang in the bathroom while I shower.
No. If something is wrinkly, I just wash and dry it all over again.
I can iron a dress shirt.

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Can you comfortably give a presentation or does public speaking make your palms sweat?
I can present if I have to, but it's not my favorite thing to do.
I can handle public speaking. I mean, it's an essential business skill.
I would rather walk five miles uphill in the snow than give a presentation.
I love giving presentations; they're your chance to really impress the client!

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Is filing your taxes a terrifying ordeal or a pleasant responsibility for you?
Taxes are annoying so I usually hire someone else to help me.
It's my annual nightmare but I try to stay on top of them.
I hate filing my taxes and usually have to request an extension.
I actually enjoy filing my taxes because I'm so good at writing things off.

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Have you ever made your own soap or candles?
Sure. Back in the day, it was cheaper to do it that way.
My grandmother tried to teach me how to do this, but I was afraid of getting lye burns.
No. Good god, that sounds time-consuming.
Yes. I was really into DIY culture a few years ago.

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When meeting new people, do you feel anxious or relaxed?
I'm comfortable meeting new people. After all, my parents taught me how to make a good impression.
I feel at ease. We're all just people, aren't we?
I don't really like meeting new people but I try to be polite. Sometimes people surprise you by actually being interesting.
Just thinking about meeting new people is giving me a panic attack.

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Are you at risk of a blowing out a tire on the freeway or do you know how to check your tire pressure?
Yes, I check it once a month.
Yes, it's an essential safety measure.
Yeah, I think so? Doesn't the car tell you?
No. Is that important?

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Can you set good boundaries between work time and leisure time or are you always on the clock?
I'm done working when the job is done.
I'm done working when I'm tired.
I'm done working when the clock strikes 5.
I'm always working a little bit (checking my Slack and email, responding to texts, working on my resume ... )

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When camping with friends, are you able to start a fire?
No. Not without lighter fluid.
Yes. I've built many fires.
Kind of. It involves kindling, right? You put the kindling under the logs?
Naturally. Doesn't everybody?

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If you had to, could you navigate your way through a new city using only a paper map?
No way. Paper maps are really confusing.
I could make a stab at it, but honestly, I prefer Google Maps.
Yes. I grew up without GPS and still keep paper maps in my car.
I love a good atlas. I don't know how to use Google Maps.

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Do you plan your meals ahead of time, or do you improvise dinner every night?
I plan my family's meals for the week before I go grocery-shopping. It saves me a lot of money.
In home economics, I learned how to meal plan​ for a family of six, a family of four or a single person.
I'm not a great meal-planner, but I try to have staples on hand (pasta, canned tomatoes) so that I can throw together dinner without much trouble.
I get most of my meals from restaurants or food trucks but keep cereal and rice in the cupboard.

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Are you good at composing photos?
I'm not a professional photographer, but I know the basic principles of composition.
I am not, but I love taking pictures of my friends and family.
I'm OK at it, but I don't like documenting my life.
What does "composing" a photo mean?

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If you go out to dinner with friends, can you calculate your share of the tip without a calculator?
Yes. How hard is it to calculate ten percent?
I'd take ten percent of the bill, double it so that we're tipping 20% and then divide that number by the number of people present.
Yes. All you have to do is figure out 15 percent of the cost of your meal and then divide that number by the number of diners.
No. I can use my phone to do it, though.

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Can you read sheet music?
Uh, kind of
Yes, I grew up reading sheet music in my hymnal.
No.
Not unless I studied an instrument

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When your Christmas lights break, do you throw them away or do you know how to repair them?
You replace any broken bulbs and if that doesn't work, replace the fuse, right?
They're fixable if the problem is a broken bulb. If it's something more serious, you have to toss them.
Nope!
Yes, that's easy.

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Have you ever diagrammed a sentence?
Yes, I learned that in school.
Sure. It was one of those weird things that older English teachers made you do.
What the heck are you talking about?
I've heard of this, but have never done it.

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If you're hungry but don't want to cook anything too elaborate, do you know how to make an omelet​?
Yes. It's a wonderful quick dinner, especially if you're eating alone.
Yes. They're good with lots of cheese.
Um, no. I can make scrambled eggs, though.
I don't know how to cook!

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