“For Your Age”
by Tracy E. Hill, Ph.D.
Just a muse this morning while I drink my morning coffee. Yesterday I brought my mom to her new doctor’s appointment. New because she got it in her head that her last PCP was “terrible. She did nothing at all. I’ll never go back.” But her last PCP was fabulous. Mom just gets something stuck in her head and then it perseverates for months to come. Anyway, it seems that regardless of where I take my mom people say the same thing, “oh, she looks good for her age.” Well, she looks good for any age and most likely she looks better than most younger than her, too.
I’ve had people say this to me as well. They ask me how old I am and when I tell them, they’ll retort “you look great for your age.” Actually, I look better than most twenty year olds so do they think this is a compliment? It’s quite annoying.
Or perhaps this is simply a passive aggressive or back handed compliment? Although I tend to doubt that. I believe people have simply lost the art to be nice. I had a twenty-five year old in my office the other day for therapy. He was telling me about going out to a bar in Washington, D.C. with a bunch of friends and meeting new people. He explained that when one of the girls would leave to use the restroom the other girls would talk “shit about her.” He was saddened to realize that his guy friends most likely did the same to him when he got up to use the restroom. This young man said to me, “haven’t we gotten to the place where people are nicer, kinder to each other?”
Has this young man been hiding under a rock for the past decade?
On this foggy Friday I ask all of you to be genuinely kind with one another. To give a compliment earnestly and wholeheartedly without quantifying it. Let your mom or friend know they simply look beautiful, awesome, or great. It goes a long way and you’ll feel better afterwards, too.