It's inoffensive and a mental time-bomb for those who understand it …

“No, Sarah, you can’t have it your way,” the banker says to an apprehensive young couple as they scan over small print of a finance contract. “You’re not special little snowflakes, sign the goddamn page.”

This, of course, is a fictional interpretation of something that could happen, given the realm of possibilities and the overall lack of tact left in the world. In this scenario, the banker — a presumably older gentleman fed up with the current climate of ‘me’-centric behaviors and entitlement generations — calmly, but with an average tone of sternness, informs the indecisive pair they can’t have it the way they want. That they’re not unique and deserving of special treatment. He applies the insult in the most apt way possible.

In 1996, novelist Chuck Palahniuk wrote of a character named Tyler Durden, who invites a group of bored middle-aged men to beat the crap out of one another for entertainment. Before enacting what would be a secret society of violence, he explains to his newly formed Fight Club that neither are special, they’re not a “beautiful and unique snowflake” — a phrase that would later spark a necessary comeback some 2 decades later.

“You're the same decaying organic matter as everything else,” Durden continues. “We're all part of the same compost heap. We're all singing, all dancing crap of the world.”

It’s one of the most fitting, self-reflective insults that have come out of the Internet era. Foremost, it’s inoffensive. There’s no reference to antiquated slurs that sought only to dehumanize entire races, no harsh four-letter word unbefitting of a synagogue, and the phrase avoids entirely the singling out of one’s disabilities or shortcomings. 

Calling someone a “special little snowflake” is pointing to what the rest of the world sees that the insulted does not: That they’re fucking selfish.

Two snowflakes, much like humans, are never exactly alike. It isn’t possible. Even if two snowflakes, — in the history of all frozen water falling from the sky — have ever taken on exact reproductions of one another, they would still be technically different. Different time, different place, different water. No two will ever be alike. It isn’t, in theory, really all that likely.

Which is a definition people growing up in privileged generations often twist to benefit their own experiences. “I’m unique, I need special attention, I deserve things.” It’s tunnel vision on steroids with a complete lack of self-awareness. The main problem with it is that all people, by definition, are unique. Everyone is distinct from everyone else. The irony in the behavior is the very factor they try to exploit is what makes all humans normal. Boring, in fact. Deserving of the same exact treatment as the next person. And the next. And the next. A blizzard, it’s falling.

Situations where you'll need this particular phrase are going to happen soon; you’re going to be in a situation you feel like you can’t control, with people unwilling to grasp reality. They’ll be asking for more than what they’re really worth, for specialized treatment and modifications to the standards. They’ll be fluttering around their sky completely oblivious to the others around them. You too will encounter special little snowflakes.

Your job is to make them aware. Call it like it is. Break a smile and ask them if they “know what a special little snowflake” they are.

Then walk away. Sarah, bless her heart, won't even understand what it means anyways. It's her world, we just live in it.