Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Old and crabby

Here's an odd thing. People are meant to get ruder and grumpier as they age (men especially). They're meant to stomp about, casually insulting shop assistants and shunning friendly greetings. But that's not me at all. If anything I think the older I get the more polite I get.

While the media and the internet are awash with bad-tempered oldies pouring abuse on all and sundry, I just look on with dismay, wondering why they have to be so nasty. What happened to turn them so sour and bitter?

Personally I become more and more convinced that abuse and insults achieve nothing and simply alienate the person being abused. It merely creates bad feeling and makes life more difficult. If it's a question of "getting something off their chest", why can't they just rant and rave in the privacy of their own home rather than taking it out on someone else?

I find politeness often brings results where rudeness doesn't. People treated with respect are more likely to respond positively. Also, I believe in the old principle "do as you would be done by". I don't like other people being churlish and snappy to me, so why should I be churlish and snappy to them?

There's something dignified and decorous about being polite, while constant grumpiness seems only selfish and insensitive. It's also depressing, which is why I give the wilfully grumpy a wide berth.

The grumps have all sorts of excuses for their behaviour. They're just reacting to the awfulness of life. They're fed up with declining standards. They're depressed because of their health problems. Well, we're all fed up with one thing or another, but we don't all think that entitles us to have a go at someone.

So if you're looking for a crabby old codger - you won't find one here.


  1. Grumpy old people is a stereotype, and a lot of older people are happy and kind. Here's an example of a younger fellow doing a class act. I can't imagine him being rude when he gets older unless his brain and personality changes.

  2. Jean: Two aborigines treating two racists to a pot of tea. Nice one! I hope it resulted in a change of attitude.

  3. am I grumpy? naaaaawww
    am I more assertive.....yessssssssssssssssss
    many people get the two mixed up

  4. As so often, and we have covered this ground before, I don't recognize the world you live in.

    If anything I'd say people MELLOW with age. Obviously there will be the odd one out who is so disappointed with life they may turn "grumpy" (not even quite sure what that means); but they also tend to withdraw from society rather than mix.

    Come to think of it, as much as I took to British comedy when I first arrived here, Victor Meldrow's charms totally escaped me.


  5. I agree there are a great many rude oldies, and there's no excuse for behaving that way to others in general.
    On the other hand, there are plenty of rude people in every age group from primary school kids onwards, so perhaps this behaviour is more about moral standards of individuals than anything age-related.
    People definitely change as they age - our experiences shape us through the years and those changes can be positive as well as negative.
    Over the past twenty or so years I have become distinctly more laid-back and much more aware of how my actions and attitude affects my interactions with others.
    My 81 year-old father, however, has become so much like Victor Meldrew it's scary.

  6. John: Yes, they do get mixed up. I can be very assertive if necessary, but grumpy I'm not. Well, only very occasionally when life is especially fraught!

    Ursula: It's more the world we all live in, and it's not my imaginary world, it exists. As Dave says, there are a great many rude oldies. Yes, a lot of people mellow with age, but unfortunately a lot of people do the opposite.

  7. Dave: I agree there are rude people in every age group, but I don't think the young are as systematically rude as some oldies. We certainly change as we age. I should hope so too as otherwise we'd all be quaint historical relics!

    There are plenty of Victor Meldrew types around. Mind you, my father was always a grumpy sod from his thirties onwards till he died at 70. He never even reached old age!

  8. In my experience, people seldom change. The grumpy senior was likely a grumpy middle ager and a grumpy teen.

  9. Bijoux: You could be right. Of course when we see grumpy oldies letting rip, usually we know nothing about them and whether they were much the same when they were younger. I tend to assume it's a recent development, but maybe not.

  10. May be we should first consider how older people are treated in our society ? Very often not in a good way.Who still stands up today to offer his place in the subway or bus ? And I really avoids to make a judgment as long as I do not know why older people sometimes have rude manners.I am very young but can be very nasty, especially when people behave in a stupid way.
    Mia More

  11. Mia: Indeed, older people are often treated very badly, as if they don't deserve the same respect as younger people - or healthier people. That might very well make them grumpy. And yes, maybe we shouldn't criticise them too much when we usually know nothing about them and there may be a good reason for their rudeness.

    "I avoid making a judgment...." (Are you okay with me correcting your English or would you rather I didn't?)

    1. Thanks it's ok in correctIng my English. I like to learn.

  12. I think I tend to agree with what bijioux says.
    people seem to just get 'more so' whatever they are as they age I think.
    unless perhaps they're in constant pain. as a lot of old people are.
    perhaps that makes them grumpy!
    also... some people think just living to a certain age allows them to be able to say whatever they darn well please... whether it hurts others or not. as if they've EARNED the right to be grumpy! that is just weird.
    why should age give one carte blanche?

  13. Tammy: I think you're right that many people's personality traits become more pronounced as they age. Also that constant pain can make people grumpy. And yes, some people think age entitles them to say exactly what they like.

    I have another theory. I think most people when they're young have private complaints and grouses, but often they put on a happy face to please their employers or their families or whoever. Once they're older and retired and have less contact with their families, they feel free to voice all those suppressed complaints.

  14. Some people may grow defensive as they age as they try to understand an ever changing world and this defensiveness may translate into grumpiness. I suppose it's about a person's attitude to accepting change. Blah, blah, blah....

  15. Scarlet: Another interesting theory! I could get very grumpy about all the tedious security measures I have to go through at airports nowadays. Oh, for the days you could just walk onto a plane, no questions asked!

  16. Nor here, and I am much older than you!

  17. Ramana: I'm very glad to hear it!

  18. They say you become more of what you were so yea, probably the grumps among us just get worse. I do think improved assertiveness is part of it and just not caring what people think as much as one used to.
    I generally think that good manners and a bit of empathy are likely to get better results than bad temper but if my manners and niceness dont get a result I am much faster to move on than I once was

  19. Old people, before the technological era, used to be respected; they were head of big families, story tellers, advicers, encyclopedias, the wisdom, our history...now they're (we) considered a burden. So the grumpiness may be a defence. Everyone, no matter the age, like to receive a smile, a kind word and sometimes a big hug; the elderly need this even more.
    Greetings Maria x

  20. Kylie: I'm not sure improved assertiveness is part of it. We oldies were taught as kids to be deferential and that's a habit that's hard to get rid of. I think it's more likely, as Mia says, that grumpiness among oldies is the result of being treated badly by the young.

    Maria: That's very similar to what Mia is saying. You're right, when I was growing up oldies were respected far more. Now they're often seen as nuisances who've got nothing more to offer and are just taking up resources.

  21. Not in my world. Though I have to admit I adopt The Cranky Crone personality to amuse others. My alter ego. Kvetching all the time.

    I think we get more extreme in our persality quirks as we age.n nobody develops nastiness overnight. You gotta work hard at it.

  22. www: I think it's true our personality quirks get more pronounced as we age. And those people with mean streaks to begin with can become utterly intolerable!

  23. "The grumps have all sorts of excuses for their behaviour." Maybe I am grumpy sometimes, but I don't have an excuse; I have a reason. It's called "the present generation of ignorant, selfish young people".

  24. Keith: That's a bit sweeping. Some young people fit that description but many others don't. And I've met plenty of ignorant, selfish oldies.

  25. I am lucky to live in Hawaii, where the influence of Asian culture means we elders are treated with understanding and respect.

  26. Hattie: That's good to know. A society a little more civilised than the rapidly deteriorating UK.