Is it really ok for someone to compliment you about your age?

Receiving a compliment from a friend or a stranger is usually a wonderful thing; a little spark in the day

Receiving a compliment from a friend or a stranger is usually a wonderful thing; a little spark in the day that can boost your confidence and put a smile on your face. As we get older though, there are some who say a few of these compliments tend to have an asterisk attached to them…

‘You look good for your age’

Some people say being told “you look good for your age” is a kind of backhand compliment that suggests it’s surprising you managed to look so presentable given your old age! Looking good at any age has less to do with how old you and more to do with how you present yourself. In fact, many older people find they feel more comfortable with how the look the older they get – wrinkles and all!

You’ve still got it’

Someone reacting in surprise when you solve a simple problem – “wow, you’ve still got it!” – can be insulting to those who wonder why on earth they shouldn’t still have “it”. There are plenty of seniors out there who are just as sharp, witty and alert as they were in their younger years and say they don’t appreciate the assumption they should be anything less, thank you very much!

‘Hello, young lady’

This is one that seems to annoy a lot of seniors… Have you ever been in a restaurant and had the waiter greet you with a friendly, “what can I get for you today, young lady”? It seems many people find this phrase patronising to say the least. They say calling seniors ‘young’ as a compliment suggests there is something good about being young and something bad about being old. Seniors don’t need to be called young to feel good about themselves – in fact they’ve probably got a lot more confidence than many young people out there.

‘You don’t look 65 years old’

Most people wouldn’t think twice about saying this to someone, but many seniors find it irksome, arguing there is no logic to it at all. How can someone be 65 years old, but not look 65 years old? What exactly is a 65-year-old supposed to look like? They say people should get used to the fact that seniors come in all shapes and sizes and there is no ‘right’ way to look.

Have you ever had someone say one of these ‘compliments’ to you? Is there something particular you don’t like people saying to you?