Author Topic: Why is it rude to ask about age?  (Read 2095 times)

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shhh its me

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Re: Why is it rude to ask about age?
« Reply #30 on: April 08, 2014, 02:12:18 PM »
  Why do you want to know? ....

I think any question you can't explain why you want to know is rude.  Almost any question can be appropriate in some contexts. 

TurtleDove

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Re: Why is it rude to ask about age?
« Reply #31 on: April 08, 2014, 02:14:14 PM »
  Why do you want to know? ....

I think any question you can't explain why you want to know is rude.  Almost any question can be appropriate in some contexts.

I agree with this. 

TootsNYC

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Re: Why is it rude to ask about age?
« Reply #32 on: April 08, 2014, 02:15:59 PM »
...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).


I found such a list in the photocopier at the last place I was laid off from.

Bijou

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Re: Why is it rude to ask about age?
« Reply #33 on: April 08, 2014, 03:15:35 PM »
I don't care who knows my age.  It is a question I would not ask another person, though, knowing it can be sensitive for pother people and is none of my beeswax anyway.
I've never knitted anything I could recognize when it was finished.  Actually, I've never finished anything, much to my family's relief.

wolfie

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Re: Why is it rude to ask about age?
« Reply #34 on: April 08, 2014, 04:17:47 PM »
. And it's illegal to ask "how old are you?" in a job interview,

It's not illegal to ask, it's illegal to use that information when making the hiring decision, and once you ask it becomes a lot harder to prove you didn't use it. So most companies don't ask it.

Coley

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Re: Why is it rude to ask about age?
« Reply #35 on: April 08, 2014, 04:59:02 PM »
To me, the question is "What difference does it make?" Why is it important to know my age? If the asker believes s/he has a need to know my age, then I want to know what the need is. It's personal information, and I don't have to share it unless there's a good reason.

Now, I'm actually fairly open about my age and will volunteer the information in certain contexts. I am often assumed to be younger than I am. Last week, in a meeting with a superior, I was informed that because I am a millenial, my communication style may not mesh with that of someone from a previous generation. In fact, I am not a millenial. I am on the early side of Gen X. I will be 47 in a few months. I informed my superior of this fact. She said she'd made the assumption that I am a millenial solely based on my appearance -- I am a young-looking 46. She had to apologize for assuming I am younger than I am. The revelation about my actual age changed a portion of our discussion.

DH is celebrating a milestone birthday today. He is 60. DH is sensitive about his chronological age and the idea that he might be "getting old." For him, chronological age factors heavily into defining "old." He isn't one to volunteer his age. For me, chronological age is just a number. It doesn't define me.

TurtleDove

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Re: Why is it rude to ask about age?
« Reply #36 on: April 08, 2014, 10:15:11 PM »
I agree, Coley - chronological age has little bearing on whether I might find someone to be "old." And actually, the number on the scale has little bearing on whether I might believe myself or anyone else to be "overweight." Come to think of it, actual money salary has little to do with whether I think a person has a good job! At any rate, for some people these are sticking points so I don't ask about any of them.....but personally, to me, they are all just numbers without any real "meaning."

Allyson

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Re: Why is it rude to ask about age?
« Reply #37 on: April 08, 2014, 10:17:09 PM »
I am curious if most people know the exact ages of their friends? I realized that I think I do know most of them, of people I've known for a few years..there are some where I'm not exactly sure. I have definitely been asked how old I am--like many here, I look younger than I am and I turned 30 this year, many people are surprised and/or disbelieving..I had to take my ID out to prove it to a friend once! (I hate saying that as it sounds like a cliche humblebrag...)

I don't really mind saying my age, though it could be odd to be asked in some circumstances. With a closer friend, it wouldn't bother me at all, and I'm pretty sure that's a question that asked in my circle at about the same intimacy level as 'how did you meet your SO'.  It doesn't usually come up cold, but more in talking about various subjects, though.

One thing I don't entirely agree with is the "it's rude because why do they need to know", well, we ask things all the time of people that we don't strictly 'need' to know..it's just conversation and information. That's not to say there aren't personal questions, and I can see how age would be one (though it's not for me.) I just don't really understand the "they don't need that information" reason for it being rude.

greencat

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Re: Why is it rude to ask about age?
« Reply #38 on: April 08, 2014, 10:32:53 PM »
The only social situation where I do find it important and appropriate for both parties to ask "how old are you?" is when evaluating a potential romantic partner, or when you need to make sure a person you don't know well can legally participate in whatever activities you might enjoy.

dawnfire

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Re: Why is it rude to ask about age?
« Reply #39 on: April 09, 2014, 02:09:01 AM »
I don't care if people know my age and am happy to give it (40 this year but I look younger. most people are surprised to find i have an 18 year old son). I reality I've only been asked twice in the last 5 years.

catwhiskers

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Re: Why is it rude to ask about age?
« Reply #40 on: April 09, 2014, 02:51:18 AM »
I never used to mind being asked my age and always responded truthfully when asked. Then I met my future mother-in-law. When we talked she was very obviously fishing for my age, and I eventally smiled at her and told her what it was since she clearly wanted to know. She later told my OH that I am "too old and set in my ways for him" (and that was just for starters  ::)).

I am only six years older and we are both in our thirties (I don't want to state exactly just in case someone I know sees this). We don't consider that a big age gap, and ours are the only opinions that matter. I have to admit, I don't think I'll ever just give out my age without wondering why someone wants to know in future. If I'd kept my mouth shut, she'd likely have assumed we were about the same age.

Coley

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Re: Why is it rude to ask about age?
« Reply #41 on: April 09, 2014, 08:15:50 AM »
I am curious if most people know the exact ages of their friends? I realized that I think I do know most of them, of people I've known for a few years..there are some where I'm not exactly sure. I have definitely been asked how old I am--like many here, I look younger than I am and I turned 30 this year, many people are surprised and/or disbelieving..I had to take my ID out to prove it to a friend once! (I hate saying that as it sounds like a cliche humblebrag...)

I don't really mind saying my age, though it could be odd to be asked in some circumstances. With a closer friend, it wouldn't bother me at all, and I'm pretty sure that's a question that asked in my circle at about the same intimacy level as 'how did you meet your SO'.  It doesn't usually come up cold, but more in talking about various subjects, though.

One thing I don't entirely agree with is the "it's rude because why do they need to know", well, we ask things all the time of people that we don't strictly 'need' to know..it's just conversation and information. That's not to say there aren't personal questions, and I can see how age would be one (though it's not for me.) I just don't really understand the "they don't need that information" reason for it being rude.

I know the exact ages of friends with whom I attended high school and college. I don't know the exact ages of friends I met in adulthood. I know that my good friend Julie's DH is 41 because we attended his 40th birthday party last year. I think Julie is 37 or 38, but I don't know for certain. Age isn't something we typically discuss because it isn't central to our friendship. She may have mentioned her age before, but it's not information that is necessary for me to retain.

My age came up recently when I introduced the topic. Julie had a theme party recently that involved a mock high school reunion. The year of the mock reunion happened to be the same year I graduated from high school. It was a funny coincidence, so I shared the info, and we laughed about it.

I have quite a few friends who are much older than I am. I wouldn't think to ask their ages. I can estimate their ages based on what I know about them, but it really doesn't matter. We are friends because we have things in common and enjoy each others' company. Indirect discussion of age may come up conversationally when we talk about life issues, but I don't need to know their exact ages in order to understand their perspectives.

Psychopoesie

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Re: Why is it rude to ask about age?
« Reply #42 on: April 09, 2014, 09:00:55 AM »
I feel uncomfortable when someone asks me my age, even though it's information I do volunteer, when it seems relevant to conversation. I don't ask other people their age either. It's a personal (and sometimes sensitive subject).

It's because the information often seems to be used by the asker in a judgy sort of way IME  - I become too young, too old, in their eyes rather than the "me" they were getting to know 5 seconds before.

It sort of puzzles me why some people see this information as so important. As you get to know people better and become friends, you usually know eventually (at milestone birthdays if nothing else) or get a rough idea from conversation - cultural references to tv/film or other events experienced.




Venus193

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Re: Why is it rude to ask about age?
« Reply #43 on: April 09, 2014, 09:09:07 AM »
You never know sometimes.

I was at a concert a couple of months ago with a meetup group and a woman sitting near me asked about the average age of the membership.  I don't know because it's a large group and we usually only get about 25 people per event, but the ones I've seen ranged from 20s to 70.  I told her that and estimated that we had a lot of people in their 40s and 50s, based on the profile photos I've seen.  She then said "People in their 50s are too young for me."

I have a 95-year-old aunt who is still active in her church.  When her contemporaries began dying out she starting cultivating younger friends.  It's the only way to not be alone.

ladyknight1

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Re: Why is it rude to ask about age?
« Reply #44 on: April 09, 2014, 09:21:36 AM »
I am 45. I am very open about my age, proud of what I have accomplished thus far and where I am in the world.

DH is younger and frequently reminds me.  ???  :P