Women of a certain age complain loudly about feeling invisible. They report being ignored in shops and restaurants, eyes glancing past them as though they weren’t even there. Many women are reluctant to stop colouring their hair because they think this will make the problem worse. In the society we live in, older people in general, and older women in particular, feel as if they are no longer worthy of a stranger’s attention.
While I don’t doubt that this phenomenon occurs, I do have a remedy for it. Here are my eight ways to combat feeling invisible.
1. Make the First Move
If a waiter or shop assistant doesn’t approach you, then take it upon yourself to approach them. Don’t be all petulant and offended because you feel insulted, but greet the person with a smile, warmth and genuine interest.
Good afternoon. It’s a glorious day isn’t it? I can see you’re quite busy today, but when you get a chance, could you see if you’ve got these shoes in a smaller size?
2. Offer Genuine Compliments
Wow — that dress you’re wearing is gorgeous — that blue makes your eyes look amazing. Where did you buy it?
3. Practice Active Listening
While the waiter or shop assistant responds to your question, pay attention to what they are saying. Maintain eye contact, nod your head and continue to smile.
4. Wear Something That Makes You Stand Out
I love wearing crazy patterned tights with funky boots. You might enjoy statement earrings, hats, or beautiful scarves. Perhaps you could try over-sized sunglasses or a brightly coloured handbag. Find your signature look that is different to everyone else and wear it boldly when you go out.
Wash your hair. Clean your fingernails. Smell good.
5. Make a Positive Impression on Everyone You Meet
Set an intention that you will leave a lasting impression on all the people you come in contact with. Whether it’s the girl in the fruit shop, the postman or the bus-driver, interact with them in such a positive way that they will remember you and talk about you when they get home at night. Be a shining bright light in their otherwise grey day.
6. Practice Gratitude
Be specific and personal when you say thank you.
Thank you so much for finding us a table near the window — the view is gorgeous. It can’t be easy trying to seat everyone when the restaurant is so busy. You’re doing a great job.
7. Flirt a Little
Even if you believe the lie that you’re too old to be sexy, a small amount of flirting is a lot of fun. Flirting starts with open body language — imagine a pool of light shining out from the centre of your chest, stand or sit with loose relaxed hips, and don’t cross your arms.
Take a moment to really see the beauty in the person you’re speaking to, and your eyes will sparkle. Speak in a vocal register a little lower than you normally use.
8. Don’t Take it Personally
If all your efforts fail, and the person you’re trying to engage with is still giving you the cold shoulder, don’t take it personally. It has nothing to do with you.
Maybe that morning they found out their partner was sick, or their child kept them up all night, or maybe they’re just having a shit day. Imagine if that person was your sister or your son, how would you treat them?
I repeat, it’s not about you. Just let it go.
If you incorporate these eight techniques into your day, I guarantee you will never feel invisible again.
Do you have any other suggestions to combat feeling invisible?
Have any of these strategies worked for you?
This post is part of the April A to Z Challenge.