“Back in my day, we had to actually call each other on the phone if we wanted to talk!”
“Back in my day, we used to write each other letters on paper!”
Listen beautiful relax classics on our Youtube channel.
“Back in my day, we used to meet each other in person, not on this gosh darn internet!”
If you’ve ever heard someone lamenting the way technology has changed society (perhaps you’ve even said these things yourself), know that you’re not alone. Reddit users have recently been sharing the things they stand by doing the old-fashioned way, regardless of technology, and they’ve raised some excellent points.
Down below, you’ll find a list of things proving that newer might not always mean better, as well as an interview we were lucky enough to receive from William A., the man who sparked this conversation in the first place. To celebrate all of the things that are best done the old-school way, be sure to upvote the responses you agree with, and feel free to share anything else you like doing the old-fashioned way in the comments section. Then if you’re interested in checking out another Bored Panda article highlighting what else was better in the past, look no further than right here.
Read. Love to have a book where I can turn the pages.
Image credits: Jonsmile
Nothing beats fresh, home-baked bread, and AI will never be able to create masterpieces that true artists can. As grateful as I am that cell phones exist, I have to admit there are certain things I prefer doing the old-fashioned way as well. For example, I love my simple, old school watch. It does have a digital screen, but all it tells me is the date and time. No frills, no internet access, no tracking my steps, and no charging required. I already feel too plugged into the world with my phone on hand at all times. The last thing I need is notifications on my watch as well.
I also find that I prefer listening to music through classic old earbuds with a cord on them. I never need to remember to charge bluetooth earbuds, I don’t have to worry about one falling out while I’m on the bus or rushing down the street, and they are so much more affordable when they occasionally need replaced. These are just my personal preferences, but I am definitely of the opinion that there’s no need to fix what isn’t broken. And if a newer way of doing something does not enhance your experience or costs you an arm and a leg, there is no need to transition to that method.
Physical menus at restaurants. I’m with the boomers on this one
Image credits: cptfuzzybeard95
I don’t need alexa to turn on s**t for me and i don’t need to clap lights on
I can walk allllll the way over to the switch
Image credits: cray63527
To gain more insight on this topic, we reached out to William A., the man who posed the initial question on Reddit in the first place. When it comes to what inspired him to start this conversation, William told Bored Panda, “I cannot stand taking notes for work meetings or brainstorming while typing. It’s not that I’m against typing or a computer–I have a medium blog after all. It’s just that for spur of the moment, or any writing that needs thought, I prefer a notebook.”
“I realized that when I was at the grocery store, and I seemed to be the only one with a paper list,” William shared. “And while I’m not young, young, I’m not that old.” He noted that he’s only 40, an “upper millennial”. “Also I don’t ‘get’ TikTok, which is scary as someone with a professional background in social media,” William added. To be fair, TikTok is hard to get. I’m Gen Z, and I don’t even fully understand that app…
Physical board games/card games. Most of the app versions of the games I like aren’t that great. Plus, it’s more fun to play with someone.
Image credits: Junkolm
Physical buttons for climate controls in a car. I refuse to buy a car that only uses a touch screen for everything. Much safer to not have to fiddle with a touch screen while driving.
Image credits: Ghertomp
Listen beautiful relax classics on our Youtube channel.
I honestly prefer buying things completely instead of paying a monthly fee.
Image credits: Pixel_Human
But it turns out that William does prefer to do most things the modern way. “Memory retention is better with writing notes I find, and it seems to bring inspiration,” he told Bored Panda. “I like the tactile feedback of writing too. The reason I latch onto this as one of the old fashioned things I do, is because I’m all the way in on tech on other things.”
“For example, I’m all about ebooks. I’m all about reading comics on a tablet. I’m all about Uber and ridesharing,” William explained. “I’m all about texting–I try to avoid phone conversations, and if I’m on one for more than 10 minutes I start to get uncomfortable. I’m even okay with digital/mobile menus at restaurants that many complain about! I use apps/Google calendar for reminders, etc. It’s just the note taking, brainstorming/goal planning and grocery lists that I like on paper.”
Make notes on paper. I will typically use index cards because they are not as easy to “fly away” or get crumpled or lost. But hey…. that’s just me!
Image credits: NoBSforGma
Buy music. Unfortunately buying cds just isn’t as easy as it used to be. But I prefer physical media, and just convert it to digital. I hate streaming music. I don’t trust the stuff I love to always be available. I like having ownership of what I listen to
Image credits: jbnagis
I print photos and keep them in photo albums. I like to keep the special moments of life as a book and go through it page by page.
Image credits: SuvenPan
We were also curious what William’s reactions were to the responses on his Reddit post. He noted that not very many resonated with him, as he is typically pro-tech, but he did find some of the replies interesting. “Someone mentioned buying things instead of a monthly fee which I found interesting,” William shared. “It’s a philosophical question–if you are experiencing something and it’s good, or something is adding value to your life, does it matter if you own it, if the enjoyment or utility is the same anyway?”
“Someone else said given a choice between phone and laptop, they’d use the laptop for everything,” he added. “I’m 40, and it’s frightening how quickly computers/PCs have been superseded by phones. It’s like you sound or look ancient if you are using a desktop computer or laptop now.”
Wear an analog watch. It’s so easy just to glance at your wrist instead of fiddling around with your phone to get the time.
Image credits: biggirliespants
I don’t know why but I just hate those automated self-checkouts.
Image credits: Fire2xdxd
I still use an old school calendar. I like looking at the entire month and being able to just “write” and not have to keyboard from my ipad or iphone. We do use the google calendar for family stuff so we are all on the same page for activities, work, babysitting etc. Each has its purpose
Image credits: CrossroadsTarot
One response that actually did resonate with William is the love for driving manual cars. “Manual cars are a joy to drive, and GenZers and younger millennials have no idea what they’re missing,” he told Bored Panda. “But that’s if one actually enjoys driving and doesn’t look at it as a chore to get from point A to point B. I learned as a teen on manual. I’m car-less now, have been for 5 years, but last car I had was a VW2014 CC-R Line, and it was one of the only consumer cars available as manual at the time, outside of the sports enthusiast cars.”
Drawing. I never really got the hang of digital art. It’s much easier and more satisfying for me to have all of the tactile input from my work. Also, I sew, and along the same lines I prefer to hand-draft patterns.
Image credits: WitheredFlowers
I feel online dating robs us of the best things of meeting new people, the thrill you get when you catch someone eyeing you a couple of times and the excitement of approaching, the fun of rejection, because it can be funny to be rejected, and the hotness of seducing each other escalating towards pleasure and the joy of meeting someone you can build a future with
None of that can be provided by dating apps, it’s like cheap porn, you see an image that shakes your loins and swipe.
Image credits: NosoyPuli
Cooking using firewoods. It gives more aromatic flavor to your food
Image credits: IshigamiiiIchigo4u
“Some of the ones that did NOT resonate with me at all are the huge number of responses that preferred physical books, though that’s a common answer,” William shared. “I don’t want to pile up books in my home, or have to carry a book around. An ebook is weight-less! Or paying with cash–why? Money to lose, money to have to put in your pocket, something extra to think about.”
Given the choice between phone and laptop, I’ll use the laptop for everything.
Image credits: W-S_Wannabe
I try to raise, grow, hunt, and forage as much as my own food as possible. It’s expensive and time consuming but the result for my mental health is priceless. I know my scale isn’t possible for everyone but i highly recommend atleast growing something from seed to plate, the sence of pride and accomplishment you’ll feel is hard to describe.
Image credits: ElJamoNator
Physical buttons on most things.
I understand how touch screens and trackpads are more flexible, but I really enjoy the tactile sensation, the certainty that you definitely pressed the right button.
The extra sensation that allows you to more precisely press buttons, and the ability to press buttons with things besides your bare finger, like a gloved finger or your knuckle because you’re holding something, and probably a few other things I can’t think of right now.
Image credits: Quazimojojojo
“I actually have not tried to do more things the old-fashioned way,” William shared. “I’m all in on the principle of minimalism and decluttering, both physical and mental. I don’t like having ‘stuff’–especially unnecessary stuff–to have to see or think about. I’m so strict about this that even my color palette in my office is all neutrals plus one color. My clothes are all neutral, with some purple–but other than that, all neutral. I like to automate about 85% of everything I do or think about, and then be very deliberate and/or guilt-free and unapologetic about that 15%.”
Crafty stuff in general, but in particular, sewing. Hand sewing is peaceful, quiet, portable, and just overall more satisfying. Plus I get better bragging rights on the finished product.
Image credits: carinavet
Not sure if this counts, but I grind my coffee by hand and use a simple brewing method (either chemex or french press) to make it.
I think having full control over the process leads to better tasting coffee than I get with any automatic machine. Also, having a ritual that I do every morning and takes a little elbow grease helps kickstart my day.
Image credits: NebXan
shopping in person. I usually read reviews of an item online and buy it in person. The problem is, here in Canada you can’t find anything decent in person anymore, everything but the most basic stuff is only online
“Life changes so much, and I have a high tolerance for uncertainty and change,” William told Bored Panda. “Yet I like to keep an anchor to being old-fashioned. Another version of this is how in every area in the local DC area that I’ve lived in, I try to keep a connection. I kept my dentist in the area where I grew up, I have a barber in a different neighborhood that I lived in. I keep those links, but then I change everything else.”
“I see the principle of being all in with technology to simplify our lives as being along the lines of how Obama famously limits his daily decisions because his daily cognitive budget is limited. We can all suffer from decision fatigue having to think of all these little things. Being all in on tech can help remove many many other smaller decisions,” William noted. “But then, that wistful, romantic, sentimental part of me will hang on to just that one old-fashioned thing. Hello shopping list, and note taking with good old pen and paper. You cannot call me a robot now,” he added with a smile.
There’s something satisfying and nostalgic about seeing the physical photos. I have my favorites displayed in frames, so I can see them every day. Makes me happy.
Image credits: Gbrown546
Cooking. I prefer to make meals from scratch. Not all of these pre made powders and dressings.
I tried to improve it with a class a couple of years back, and I had to answer it in a word file, using some addon to make the formulas.
It takes forever. On paper it’s just scribble scribble, calculator, answer.
Image credits: Sirupswaffel
How are you feeling about technology now? Is this list inspiring you to start trying more things the old-fashioned way, or has it reminded you how happy you are that technology and innovations exist to make your life simpler? There is nothing wrong with adapting to changing times, but if the newest way of doing something just does not suit you, feel free to fall back on your old-school ways. Keep upvoting the responses that resonate with you or that raised points you had not previously considered, and feel free to share your own thoughts in the comments. Then if you want to check out another Bored Panda article highlighting what might have been even better in the past, look no further than right here.
Wired headphones. I don’t have to charge them and I can use them during flights.
Still listen to radio in the car. No podcasts, playlists, etc.
I have a decent commute in a heavily populated area so I listen for the local traffic report every fifteen minutes, and their general talk radio in between.
Chop veggies and fruit, even though I’m slow and it hurts to stand. I just like to Guage the size of the chunks, and the homey feel of chopping. Plus electric choppers can mush things up, and then you have way more to clean than a knife and cutting board.
Making bread for similar reasons, but especially for the feel of it.
Image credits: MrsMurphysChowder
Crank style pencil sharpener over the battery/electric ones
Image credits: johnnycocheroo
Buy physical games. I don’t mind digital copies but there’s something very satisfying about putting their box/cart on my gaming shelf to admire it. I also love to go digging for rare games at fleamarkets
Image credits: MrsWhiterock
Pay with cash when I have some on hand. Using cash when I can helps prevent me from impulse buying.
Tap water is still pretty great; just keep some in the fridge and it’s all you need. F**k your bottled water.
Writing letters. And I still love the feeling of reading a physical book, although I do also use audiobooks/psfs/ect now too.
But the smell of an old book and the crinkly pages and when it’s a well loved story? Asdfdaa
Image credits: LittleBrattyLeeLee
Talk. The moment I’m with anyone I put my phone away and simply enjoy our experience. Seems like people just can’t go without looking at their phone every 30 f*****g seconds.
I know automatics have taken over and stickshift is going the way of the dodo, but I’ll always prefer a stick any day of the week.
If you know when to shift and what gears you can cruise in for each road condition, you’ll always get better mileage than an auto.
That’s why I can get up to 34mpg in my brother’s challenger.
Also, a clutch swap is cheaper and easier than a full auto rebuild.
Sure manual trans failures do happen, but it’s far less common than automatic failures.
Despite spammers trying to ruin it, I still prefer email for communicating. It’s universal, doesn’t lock you into a particular platform, you control the history, and it’s 100% on your own terms.
It bothers me how many people are using social media _instead_ of email for all of the above reasons and because it harshly excludes those who prefer not to use that particular platform.
Hand write letters. It tells somebody you care, because you took the time out of your busy day.
Going out to eat without our phones. Leave them in the car or in a purse or something. There’s very little reason to have a phone attached to you at all times. Put down the phone and pick up a conversation.
painting. nothing gives control like the good old brush wetting on glazed paper.
Weirdly enough doing dishes by hand instead of a dishwasher.
If all my dishes are clean and i make a meal for myself it’s like 4 dishes, they clean up super easy while stuff is cooking.
Meeting people and having all of the fun activities outside of the Internet.
Pop corn. I still make it in a pot on the stove. And it’s 100% better that way.
I also prefer knots and rope to compression straps when lashing things.
Write and read with tangible paper.
Writing a loved one a handheld letter means so much more than a quick text or a print of something.
I considered early on in my relationship that me and my boyfriend don’t even know each other’s writing styles, so I’ve made it a goal to always write him something special for an event or just because.
I also prefer reading personal books by physically turning the page.
Image credits: notwideshut
Making rice in a standard pot instead of a rice cooker.
Idk if anyone’s tested it but to me the rice is fluffier and less dry in the pot.
Image credits: famechangedme
i prefer watching movies at cinemas rather than watching them on my laptop
Camp. A tent and a fire is so much more peaceful to me than having most of life’s conveniences in your trailer
Read books. I have read a few on a mobile device, but I prefer physical books.
I still like to get CDs so I have physical media so some service can’t just revoke it.
Write my assignments in a planner than on a computer or phone.
I prefer paper maps to GPS. There’s nothing like folding a map correctly when you’re done with it. Plus while I know paper maps can quickly become out of date, they still are mostly accurate and I can see the entire picture, unlike with GPS
I like washing my car by hand. I really try to avoid going to an automatic car wash (except in the winter to get rid of the road grime/salt)
writing in journals ! It feels so relieving for me
way better than typing in notes app or smth
Shaving with a straight razor, soap and a brush. Smoother shave, the disposable/replaceable heads don’t last long and are a waste of money. I just buy new soap discs evert few months and a new brush once a year.
Balancing a checkbook.
Image credits: mrsK35
I don’t like technology for (male) sexual pleasure, because I don’t want it to diminish the pleasure when I’m with my wife.
Image credits: FixConnect3651
Hand-pumped organs are sometimes preferable to organ blowers that get turned on with the push of a button at the console.
The “unsteady” wind of hand-pumped organs lends a subtly different sound and quality to the musical speech of the pipes.