6 Seemingly Harmless Phrases That Are Actually Ageist

Ageism creeps up more often than you think.

Ask any older person what the worst part of aging is. No, it's probably not a slower metabolism. One of the worst parts of aging is actually having to deal with incorrect stereotypes about older people. 

Stereotypes aren't just annoying for older people, they can actual have tangible effects. Studies have shown that seniors' perceptions of aging (often as imposed by society) can have an impact on their physical fitness and even their memory. 

Aging isn't a walk in the park. But it also isn't as bad as some young people make it out to be. We asked our Facebook fans about the common phrases that are actually offensive to them. 

Here are some seemingly harmless phrases that are totally ageist and need to stop. 

1. "You don't look (your age)!"

Well, I am. What did you expect a 50/60/70-year-old to look like? A crypt-keeper? We know the intention behind the comment is harmless, but it's actually not a compliment. It's just reinforcing the belief that old is automatically unattractive/decrepit/not sexy. Let's just stick to, "You look good!"

2. "50 is the new 20!"


Another attempt at a compliment ... gone horribly wrong. Think about what you're saying, people. Is it not fashionable enough to be over 50? 

As we've said before, many post 50s have no desire to be 20 again. Post 50s no longer have to worry about things like fitting in, being saddled with college debt or struggling in a budding career. We'll take our decades proudly, thanks. 

3. "Nobody says that anymore..."

Whether it's in the workplace or at home, this one really stings. No one wants to feel they're as outdated as an old office printer. 

4. "You stayed awake until midnight? Good for you!"


OK ... just because a person isn't pulling all-nighters anymore doesn't mean they can't stay up late or have a good time. Seriously. 

5. "Wow! You still do that?"

It's OK to use this if you're saying it in an impressed tone ... you know, like when you find out someone still handwrites thank-you notes (imagine that?!) or welcomes a new neighbor with some baked goods, or any other polite thing that people just don't seem to do any longer. 

It's definitely not OK if you're using it in a context to make a person feel outdated, out-of-touch or technologically-challenged. 

6. "Slow down, grandpa!"


This one just needs to go. It doesn't matter if you're directing it at an older person or sarcastically at a younger person. It's just belittling, pure and simple. 

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