I is for Invisible • 8 simple ways to fight back

Feeling invisible? 8 simple ways to fight back by Katie Paul

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.

i-is-for-invisible T

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


About KatieP

Embracing my midlife sexy while exploring modern love & relationships • Devoted to all things beautiful • Master of Arts in creative writing & non-fiction writing

64 thoughts on “I is for Invisible • 8 simple ways to fight back

  1. I honestly don’t think I have ever felt invisible. But I do think the younger people look upon older people as not being very smart, interesting, cool, or whatever! I just had a talk today with my 15 year old granddaughter. We were talking about my best friend (who will be turning 51 next month) getting a new tattoo. My granddaughter said…’isn’t she a little old for tattoos.’ Really! Since when is 50 old?? I loved your suggestions for not being invisible. I’ll follow them all..except for wearing something that makes me stand out. That is just not me!! I am so enjoying you A to Z challenge

    Smidgen Snippets & Bits

    1. Oh, go on. I think you should try at least a pair of big sunglasses one day, just for a laugh 😀

      Do you have a twitter account? I want to share your posts but I can’t find you on Twitter to credit you as the author …

    1. I’m pretty much a wallflower too, so the best part is you make it all about the other person and it takes the heat off yourself. Thanks for stopping by x

  2. I’m enjoying being the quiet one in the corner for a change, not having to worry about how I look so much. The overlooked, the observer and I’m relishing it.
    Great post, reminding us of simple gestures which used to come more naturally and that we might now be taking less notice of.

    1. There’s nothing wrong with going ‘undercover’ once in a while either. There are benefits to slipping by unnoticed. Thanks for your comment, Lynne.

  3. Thanks Katie, great post. As you say, don’t take being ignored personally. It happens, but it’s a 2 way street. Be yourself and engage with the others. Smile, look them in the eye, compliment them, be assertive ..

  4. Hey Katie….that’s an intelligent list of tips to get noticed…I rate gratitude as the best habbit though….passing it to my mom now…

  5. The best thing anyone can ever wear is a big smile. I love the image of the light shining from the heart. You certainly find the most interesting things to write about. I say thank you a lot, but I’ll practice being more specific in my gratitude.

  6. As a 75 year young woman, I have never felt invisible. Sure young people might not interact with me, but I choose, if important to not be invisible. I am outgoing and self- confident about how I create and live my life, so this is not an issue, I love the tips you list as they will work in any given social situation.

  7. You go girl! Hi five! # 8 I definitely need to work on – I’m old enough and wise enough to know better but there must be a gene in me that’s labelled “take it personal.” Lots to work on!

  8. Thoroughly enjoyed your post! I’m not sure I feel invisible, so much as not having the “youthful” beauty, which I was too shy to actually utilize back then. For me being “smart” always trumped being beautiful. I write about this topic a lot myself, as society still idolizes youth and it is up to us women to take back the power and to engage with others from a place of inner confidence, shining out. Beauty from the inside-out is what I have been referring to it as. Actively listening to the other, and showing a genuine interest in them, is so key to all interactions and relationships, at any age. Once we do this and connect eye to eye and heart to heart, age really doesn’t matter—at all!

    1. “Connecting eye to eye and heart to heart” is such a wonderful expression. I’m totally with you all the way — claiming my power as a confident and open hearted woman.

  9. GREAT post! I love your list. All fantastic recommendations. Sometimes just being nice makes you stand out… Nice comes naturally to some, to others it has to be practiced. Either way, being nice is more often remembered long after the interaction than anything else. Glad I found your blog. I’ll definitely be back!
    Michele at Angels Bark

    1. Thank you Michele. The word ‘nice’ sometimes gets a bad rap, but it’s what it all boils down to in the end. Do unto others and all that …

  10. Active Listening, for sure has helped me. I have a tendency to want to talk. I have to stop myself, cue in to body language, and then respond. Plus, not being afraid to start a conversation. I’m a natural at the flirting things, that can be good and bad! Great post!

  11. I think a lot of times as women, we take things personally when really the sales person or waiter are just busy. As a former waiter and bartender, I can tell you that the people who were the most polite got the best service from me,no matter what their age or look or anything was. I love your approach to this, but more than that, I love your interesting leggings and boots. And flirting always works. *winks*

  12. thank you! 🙂 I mean, I do love #4 🙂 and I’m sick of people telling me what I should or shouldn’t wear, because it is or isn’t “appropriate” 🙂

    1. Thank you Drusilla for such a kind thought. I’m not sure we’d be right for each other because of our completely opposite positions on feminism. But perhaps I’m wrong and it is possible to find middle ground…
      Thank you for stopping by.

      1. You might be right. Then again, read my J is for Justice post tomorrow and you’ll know what I was trying to tell my roommate.

  13. This is fantastic advice. Conference/Expo season is fast approaching to me and it’s so easy to fee invisible in the crowds.

    1. Oh yes, one on one interactions aren’t nearly as scary as a room full of strangers. I went to a conference once and was completely traumatized. Good luck ♥

  14. I am 59 and have increasingly become invisible. I must admit I let most of it happen because I love being single and have no desire to attract another mistake. Sometimes I enjoy being part of the wall because people forget I am there and I see their real selves. BUT sometimes it does annoy me. Your advice is quite helpful. I know I need to spruce myself up more often. I too like to wear fun tights. I have plaid ones I love. Nice writing!

  15. Some excellent tips here. I think #8 is the hardest thing to do and will have to think about #4 – scarves and a new haircut might be the answer 🙂 Loved this post.

  16. I’ve even felt this way at times and I am not sure I consider myself yet of a ‘certain age’. 🙂 Your tips are spot on, Maybe I will flirt a little. Okay, that is outside of my norm, but showing a little gratitude, sprucing up my dress a little just may change how often I get noticed at times.

  17. What a great list! To add to number six: don’t be a complainer. Bitch when necessary but I can’t stand people who whine about every little thing. I agree that a sense of gratitude helps. (“I love technology” v “When I was young kids weren’t on computers…” )

  18. That slide to the edges of the stage is difficult to handle. I agree, we have to stand up, speak out, engage. And I love your idea of colorful tights and boots. We need to show off a bit!

  19. Hi Katie

    I have never felt invisible. Sometimes young people might not interact with me, but I choose, if important to not be invisible. I love the tips you list as they will work in any given social situation.It helps many introverts to open up in public.

    I totally agree don’t take too personal and add a little laughter along the way.

    Thanks for the article

    Stella Chiu

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