Author Topic: Why is it rude to ask about age?  (Read 2606 times)

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TurtleDove

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Re: Why is it rude to ask about age?
« Reply #15 on: April 08, 2014, 10:42:15 AM »
Full disclosure, I used to not mind the question, but as I am 28 and will celebrate my 10th wedding anniversary next week and have had negative reactions from various people when they find out I married young it has developed into a sore spot over the years. There are a couple other "young marrieds" I met through a mom's group last year and it's been a tremendous relief.

That is horrid, especially when many marriages don't make it to five years let alone ten, regardless of age when first married.  And when so many people in their 30-40s are negatively judged for not having married at all.  Don't let the "haters" affect your happiness. 

alkira6

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Re: Why is it rude to ask about age?
« Reply #16 on: April 08, 2014, 10:45:42 AM »
I put it in that category of "things that are no one's business but somehow they think it is".   Unless relevant to what is currently being discussed, you (general) are being nosey.  I put this in the same category as:

-Why don't you have kids/children?
-What made you marry a white man?
-How much money do you make?

Please keep in mind that these are questions from people I barely know, have just been introduced to.  When an actual friendship develops or I feel comfortable offering this information, you will find out as an outgrowth.

TurtleDove

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Re: Why is it rude to ask about age?
« Reply #17 on: April 08, 2014, 10:52:05 AM »
I put it in that category of "things that are no one's business but somehow they think it is".   Unless relevant to what is currently being discussed, you (general) are being nosey.  I put this in the same category as:

-Why don't you have kids/children?
-What made you marry a white man?
-How much money do you make?

Please keep in mind that these are questions from people I barely know, have just been introduced to.  When an actual friendship develops or I feel comfortable offering this information, you will find out as an outgrowth.

Hmmm, I agree that the questions you list are generally rude, but my reasoning is because the answers are not really "facts."  Age is just a number, in my opinion - a fact of life (literally - hah!).  But I suppose if a person is sensitive about age (or anything, really) it could seem intrusive to be asked about it. 

Now that I think about this, I think we all bring our own personal histories into each interaction and things that are normal conversation to one person may be painful or irritating to another person. So, for example, if someone has met me and knows I have an older sister they may casually ask, "So any other sisters and brothers?"  That is a normal thing to ask, and is a "fact," but is/can be painful/awkward for me because one of my sisters is dead, so how much of the story do I reveal, etc.  I can see it being awkward for certain blended families also. 

But for me, age is just a number.

Luci

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Re: Why is it rude to ask about age?
« Reply #18 on: April 08, 2014, 11:04:21 AM »
The only time I wouldn't really disclose my age was when the gradeschool students asked me. Then it was only because I didn't want to teach them it was OK since it IS considered a rude question. Even then, I would say something like, "Older than your mom and younger than your grandma," and never remind them it was rude even though I never understood why. We have to teach our kids to get along in the world.

I can usually get a really good hook on the age someone is by their mentioning where they were when Kennedy was assassinated or on 9-11-01, or when they graduated from high school. I've never been very aware of pop culture so that doesn't help. It usually comes out eventually if we are around someone for a while, but it doesn't really matter.

Full disclosure, I used to not mind the question, but as I am 28 and will celebrate my 10th wedding anniversary next week and have had negative reactions from various people when they find out I married young it has developed into a sore spot over the years. There are a couple other "young marrieds" I met through a mom's group last year and it's been a tremendous relief.

That is horrid, especially when many marriages don't make it to five years let alone ten, regardless of age when first married.  And when so many people in their 30-40s are negatively judged for not having married at all.  Don't let the "haters" affect your happiness. 

Jones, we were married at 21 and 22 - I still had a year of school. In the 60s, it was pretty common to be planning a wedding and taking finals at the same time. Of about 10 couples that married around the time we did, one divorced after their children were raised and one wife recently died. The rest of us are still together and seem happy - taking trips and working around the house together, and steadfastly sitting beside the spouse in times of illness.


newbiePA

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Re: Why is it rude to ask about age?
« Reply #19 on: April 08, 2014, 11:08:33 AM »
I guess I feel like it's a personal question and I don't see why anyone should need to know my age. I am an adult, and that's enough.

This.  I often get asked how old I am by patients.  I work hard to create a professional demeanor, especially because I am a short, young-looking female.  Discussing age will only undermine my credibility in the eyes of someone who cares, if that makes sense.
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peaches

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Re: Why is it rude to ask about age?
« Reply #20 on: April 08, 2014, 11:23:16 AM »
I think it's too personal of a question.

And it's irrelevant. Why would you want or need to know someone's age, in a social situation? I can't think of a good reason.


alkira6

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Re: Why is it rude to ask about age?
« Reply #21 on: April 08, 2014, 11:48:51 AM »

But for me, age is just a number.

I think that age is just a number too, so why it it important. Again, I think that context has a whole lot to do with it.  The way some people have asked has made me clam up. Others, not so much, as it was an organic outgrowth from the conversation.

I guess it's not so much as the question, but the circumstances in which it is asked.

TurtleDove

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Re: Why is it rude to ask about age?
« Reply #22 on: April 08, 2014, 11:57:49 AM »

But for me, age is just a number.

I think that age is just a number too, so why it it important. Again, I think that context has a whole lot to do with it.  The way some people have asked has made me clam up. Others, not so much, as it was an organic outgrowth from the conversation.

I guess it's not so much as the question, but the circumstances in which it is asked.

That makes sense. 

demarco

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Re: Why is it rude to ask about age?
« Reply #23 on: April 08, 2014, 12:25:36 PM »


But for me, age is just a number.

Weight is just a number, too,  but I doubt any of us on Ehell would ask someone how much he or she weighed unless we had a genuine need to know e.g. at the doctor's office or enforcing a weight limit for a pony ride. Numbers can be sensitive things.

I think asking about age is rude because it is personal and usually irrelevant. I'm rarely asked my age and, unless the question is based on a legitimate need to know, I respond with, "why do you ask?"  I never ask anyone their age. It's a hot button with a lot of people so why risk offending them?

Venus193

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Re: Why is it rude to ask about age?
« Reply #24 on: April 08, 2014, 12:27:34 PM »
I think it was originally considered rude because of assumptions made about people of certain ages, especially women.  Today, because of workplace ageism it's still rude (and illegal).

The only people who have any right to ask this question are medical and legal professionals.  Anyone else who asks me this question gets the Raised Eyebrow or the Well-bred Sneer.

JenJay

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Re: Why is it rude to ask about age?
« Reply #25 on: April 08, 2014, 12:33:02 PM »
It doesn't bother me at all. When I turned 30 everybody asked "How does it feel to be 30?!" I'm expecting another round of that later this year when I turn 40. I plan to use the same answer "Considering the alternative, it feels great! I hope to be much older than this someday!!"

TurtleDove

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Re: Why is it rude to ask about age?
« Reply #26 on: April 08, 2014, 12:39:06 PM »


But for me, age is just a number.

Weight is just a number, too,  but I doubt any of us on Ehell would ask someone how much he or she weighed unless we had a genuine need to know e.g. at the doctor's office or enforcing a weight limit for a pony ride. Numbers can be sensitive things.

I think asking about age is rude because it is personal and usually irrelevant. I'm rarely asked my age and, unless the question is based on a legitimate need to know, I respond with, "why do you ask?"  I never ask anyone their age. It's a hot button with a lot of people so why risk offending them?

I agree weight is just a number, and I would only care what that number is for myself or anyone else as it relates to competitive power lifting. :-) But my point in the post you quoted from is that context matters, as your comments alluded to as well.

I personally don't ask questions about age or weight or salary, but I am also not offended if someone asks me because to me they aren't exactly "personal" and certainly not negatives. If someone wants to judge me I think it says more about them than it does about me anyway!

Bottom line, though, I agree it is best to not comment on topics that could cause people stress if there is no reason for it.

SamiHami

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Re: Why is it rude to ask about age?
« Reply #27 on: April 08, 2014, 12:41:26 PM »
It is rude because it is personal information. As is salary, or how much you paid for your house. If someone chooses to offer up that info it's fine, but if you are asking for idle curiosity, it is just none of your business. (you's general, of course!)

I'm in the I don't care camp, (I'll be 50 this year), but I would feel put off if someone starting asking my age for no apparent reason.

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veronaz

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Re: Why is it rude to ask about age?
« Reply #28 on: April 08, 2014, 01:12:04 PM »
It is rude because it is personal information. As is salary, or how much you paid for your house. If someone chooses to offer up that info it's fine, but if you are asking for idle curiosity, it is just none of your business. (you's general, of course!)

I'm in the I don't care camp, (I'll be 50 this year), but I would feel put off if someone starting asking my age for no apparent reason.

I agree. 

(btw, it's easy to find out how much someone paid for their house.  Go to the county auditor/property website, type in address and/or last name.  In addition to sale price, information about square footage, number of rooms, date house was built, etc. is available.)

Tea Drinker

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Re: Why is it rude to ask about age?
« Reply #29 on: April 08, 2014, 02:07:36 PM »
It's intrusive from a stranger or near-stranger; we're not at the point of getting to know each other and figure out whether we have things in common and might become friends.

I will cheerfully tell people how old I am--but that's as much because I think a woman shouldn't be judged based on her age and appearance, as that I believe I won't be. And it's illegal to ask "how old are you?" in a job interview, but once you're hired, at least in the U.S., the company knows that. Your manager might or might not, but HR does: when I was laid off a couple of years ago, I was given a list of employee titles (not names), ages, and whether the person had been part of that layoff, in case I wanted to argue that I had been the victim of age discrimination (in other words, so they could convince me not to waste my and their time and money with a lawyer on that).

There's all sorts of information that I may volunteer, but that is rude for someone to ask, or rude to ask a mere acquaintance. Sometimes it just feels personal, and sometimes it's things that people may judge you for. (There are, unfortunately, a huge number of things that people will be judged for that they probably shouldn't be, including some health issues as well as age and appearance.)
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