7 Reasons Why People In Their 20s Are So 'Miserable' These Days

The twenties are a hard decade for everyone.

sad young person sitting on bed in hoodie fizkes / Shutterstock

Your twenties are believed to be a time of fun and living it up. However, for many, that isn’t true these days.

As the younger years become more and more depressing, people are wondering what has gone so wrong to make them that way. One woman asked that exact question on Reddit.

“We’re told that our twenties are supposed to be fun, but a lot of people in their 20s are really, really unhappy,” she said. “I don’t know if this has always been the case or if it’s something with this current generation.”


Many people were happy (or, perhaps, unhappy) to respond.

7 Reasons Why People In Their 20s Are So Miserable These DaysPhoto: patrickheagney / Canva Pro

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Here are some of the reasons people in their twenties are ‘miserable’:

1. A collective mental health crisis

One Reddit user brought up the world’s current mental health crisis as a reason for being unhappy in your twenties. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, “Mental health challenges are the leading cause of disability and poor life outcomes in young people.”


Younger and younger people are being affected by the growing mental health crisis in the world. If someone is feeling depressed or anxious, it’s no wonder that they would feel miserable and like there’s no hope for them.

The mental health crisis is affecting every aspect of young people’s lives and is making it incredibly difficult for them to experience the joys of youth.



2. Rising cost of living

As one Redditor said, “Being alive is expensive.” Although inflation and the job market show signs of improvement, these things are hardly being felt by those who need financial relief the most. Often, the burden of economic hardship falls on young people because they have just graduated from college and entered the workforce.


These young people have very little savings to fall back on and are dealing with rising prices across industries. Basic necessities like rent and food are almost impossible to cover, even with a good salary. People are struggling. As TikToker and realtor Freddie Smith pointed out, hardly anyone can afford a house these days.



3. The after-effects of the pandemic

The impacts of the recent global COVID pandemic are still being felt. While the world is no longer in lockdown, that doesn’t change the fact that, as one person said, “we’ve had a couple of our ‘prime years’ wasted by COVID.”

The COVID pandemic occurred when many were preparing to graduate from high school or college and start their lives. As a result, people missed out on normal events like commencements, homecomings, and weddings. 


All of this caused a further hit to mental health. An already struggling population suddenly found themselves drowning. 



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4. Comparison culture on social media

One thing younger generations have access to now that older generations did not have at the same age is social media. 


While all ages have access to social media now, its use is undoubtedly most prevalent among young people. A Pew Research Center poll found that an overwhelming majority of social media users are aged 18 to 29. 

Social media opens up a confidence void that is easily filled by comparison. As you can see what’s happening to other people every hour of the day, you can compare your own life to it and conclude that you can’t possibly be as happy.



5. Conflicts around the world

One person on Reddit mentioned that “there is constant news about wars.” Another chimed in and said, “It’s unbearable how terrible people are to each other.”


It seems like the world has erupted in wars. Multiple countries are at odds with each other, and there’s constant chatter about how this could affect other neutral nations. But the conflict isn’t just between countries. Oftentimes, it is between individuals. 

As the world has become more divisive and views have become more polarized, people have become meaner. "The Elev8 Podcast" pointed out that humans are perhaps the only species that will act this way towards each other for no reason.



6. The loss of friendships and trying to create new social circles

Part of growing up is growing out of old friendships. People rarely remain friends with their closest pals from high school. In your twenties, as you adjust to new life changes, this becomes even more prevalent.


“Many people had to move for jobs, so your social circle disappeared, and you had to make a new one,” someone on Reddit said. “It’s incredibly stressful and always was.”

Motivational speaker and author Mel Robbins argued that "every single adult right now is having a friendship crisis." Friendships are infinitely harder for adults to cultivate than they are for children.



7. Knowing the future looks bleak

Part of feeling miserable in your twenties is knowing that there’s not much to look forward to. Your feelings of hopelessness seem unlikely to change.


The economy doesn’t look like it will get much better for you, and your mental health won’t improve overnight. There are so many unknowns. 

It's easy to fall into the fear that because things look bad now, they will always look bad. And, in their twenties, many people do.



Although it’s normal to feel ‘miserable’ in your twenties, it’s also not the only feeling you experience.

The decade of your twenties can feel impossible at times. It may feel like the whole world is working against you, but that’s not true.


There are still so many beautiful, incredible things to experience in your twenties and beyond that will make you grateful for the gift of life.

You just have to go out and find them.

If you or someone you know is in emotional distress, reach out 24/7 to the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by dialing or texting 988 or using chat services at 988lifeline.org to connect to a trained crisis counselor.

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Mary-Faith Martinez is a writer for YourTango who covers entertainment, news and human interest topics.