How respectful of older strangers making unsolicited comments should we be?

Okay, I suppose the term older person is only relevant because we’re supposed to be more respectful of them. But anyway, I don’t always button up my coat when I’m in a hurry–that’s neither here nor there except that the other day an old person basically told me to button it up or I’d get sick and I kind of politely tried to tell her it didn’t really have anything to do with it and she was all, “No, I’ve been around the block, etc.” I dunno, I didn’t really feel I could come out and say, “Mind your business, old biddy,” but I sort of wanted to.

What do you guys think?

I generally go with an abstracted yet somehow polite mumble and get the hell out of the area!

In this case - “thanks - have a good day” and zoom.

My generation grew up being told that we’d catch cold if we didn’t button our coats, wear our mittens, galoshes, hats, etc. My husband still believes that if he has a cold, it’s because the thermostat is set at 68. You’ll never convince people otherwise, so give up on that before you hurt yourself. :slight_smile:

You should be just as respectful as you’d be with a younger person, no more, no less. I’m an old biddy myself, and I don’t want to be treated differently because of it. It’d just encourage me.

Think, “Mind your own business, old biddy/coot.”

Mumble something polite and noncommittal, or smile slightly, and go about your business.

Decide whether you think being an old busybody will be fun enough for you to try it when you get to be that age.

Look kid, when I tell you out of the blue to get a job and haircut I expect you to stand up straight, say “yes, sir” and get a damn job and a haircut!!

Nod your head, break eye contact and walk faster - just like you would with panhandlers.

I like, “No thanks!” and a smile. It’s not obviously rude, because you smiled and said thanks, but also indicates your utter lack of interest in doing what they say.

I tend to give the oldtimers more slack. Especially something like this when they’re just trying to be nice and pass along to a young whippersnapper some “life experience” lesson.

“OK, thanks!” is usually my reply, then I carry on my merry way.

I don’t see why having lasted a long time is supposed to grant you extra respect but then, my mother claims I’ve always had “a problem with authority,” plus my grandparents are in their nineties and not deserving of a lot of respect.

If it’s someone I don’t really know nor have an interest in getting to know, I think “mind your effin’ business” and “u-hu.”

If it’s someone I’ve just met but who I know I won’t be able to avoid, I think “mind your effin’ business” and explain why I’m fine doing it as I am.

If it’s someone who should know better, I ask “and that’s your business why?”

I have to admit, I usually give old people a pass if they seem to be acting (however obnoxiously) out of concern. I even give the dirty old leches a pass, most of the time. I’ve noticed people I love doing this sort of thing, talking to strangers a lot, as they’ve aged. And these are people who were raised to be polite and reserved. Some of it has to do with the onset of dementia, but some of it is just this hunger I sense in them to connect with people, however briefly. I especially notice it in the widowed women.

I know being old doesn’t make you magic or good or anything, and there are plenty of elderly assholes and neo-Nazis (and some original Nazis!), so maybe I’m just looking out for my future self.

I just smile and make some non-committal reply. In Korea, talking back to an elder causes a lot more trouble than it’s worth.

I think we should strike a deal with them–they mind their own damn business, and we’ll stay off their lawn.

Right. Saying “Thank you for your concern” is quite polite and an acknowledgment of their comment, but without actually agreeing or committing to changing your habits.

How about saying “Okay!” cheerfully, then walking the hell on?

There was a time that older people would say things to younger people and they’d listen. You could admonish a youngster acting up in the store, or tell them to mind their language. Personally I think it’s too bad that we’ve lost this trait. For every nutty senior citizen asking you to sit on his lap, there are twenty willing to tell a young tearaway to get his/her hands out of the cookie jar at the supermarket, or support a frustrated mom by contributing a glare.

Personally I think people who have been on this planet can probably teach those of us a thing or two about life. Sometimes they’re full of it, and in those cases I say be nice and go about your day. I don’t understand some people’s need to settle the score with everyone you encounter. Same goes for little kids. I generally give them a mulligan as well (unless they’re being rude, and in that case you’re helping them out by correcting them).

You have a mind for politics and I would vote for you.

Just like our deal with the pigeons! (They keep out of our way when we’re driving and we look the other way on the statue thing.)

I’ll invariably smile and say “Thanks!” If I agree with their advice, I’ll comply. If I disagree, I just keep walkin’.

My mom has become more and more shameless/assertive in giving advice to strangers. Years ago, she suggested to another couple, sitting right in front of her at a pro football game, that they wash the grapes they’d brought before eating them. When they seemed disinclined to take her advice, she added (falsely), “You know, I used to be a cropduster, and you wouldn’t believe some of the chemicals we’d spray on grapes!”

To this day, we refer to her in family conversations as “the retired cropduster.”

I generally just take such comments to mean that the person doesn’t know that such statements are not commonly made anymore. Why should I be rude to them, no matter what their age?

Well, to my mother in law I used to say, “You know, in America they have gone to the germ theory of medicine”. To her friends I generally say “Oh, you’re right, I should. Thanks!”. To strangers who are easily avoided I stick with something like “Oh, look at that” and go somewhere else.

I have grown used to the local belief that having no hat/scarf or having coat unbuttoned or having a window open will all lead to a horrible and lingering death. I chalk it up to generations of living in this converted swamp, keep the good intentions, and ignore the advice.

Why isn’t this the answer everyone is giving? Why be nasty to people?