DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have a friend in my circle who is about three years my senior. We are both in our 60s, in great health, in long-term marriages and of the same socioeconomic status.
Nearly every time we get together, she takes the opportunity to comment on how "young" I am. For example, we'll be talking about an old TV show or song, and she'll comment, "But you wouldn't know anything about that." Or on my birthday, I'll hear, "You're just a baby."
While I try hard to take these comments as compliments, they aren't delivered that way, and they feel dismissive. Otherwise, I really enjoy spending time with her. To this point I've only casually replied that we're really not that far apart in age, but nothing has ever stopped the comments.
Am I just being too sensitive? I'm struggling to figure out how to approach her with this.
GENTLE READER: It is surely one of the silliest prejudices in modern society that growing older is considered so unfortunate a condition that it is supposed to be a compliment to pretend that it did not happen.
This notion is so commonplace that one such comment could be ignored, but Miss Manners understands that the repetition is annoying. As you are close enough friends to meet often, it might be worth saying, "You seem to think I'm embarrassed about my age or that I'm pretending to be younger."