40 Things Only Older People Say

"Back in my day..."

40 Things Only Older People Say

How does one actually define an “older” person these days? Is it when he or she reaches 50? Or is it 60? Or maybe it’s measured by something else entirely… After all, these days “old” is definitely more of a state of mind—or perhaps a feeling—than it is purely a number.

Whatever the case, we’d strongly posit that the truest definition of “old” is anyone who regularly uses these words and phrases we’ve compiled here. Trust us: you’ll never find a more wonderfully old-fashioned and lovably outdated collection of sayings, statements, and questions that will practically scream: “I’m an older person!”

So read on (and please know that all of the silly punchlines here come from a very good, warmhearted place). And if you’d like to learn how to speak millennial, we’ve got your back! Just check out the 40 Things Only Millennials Say. 

old man young girl things old people say

“Back in my day…”

Incoming: A long story of hardship and perseverance that we’d all be so lucky to hear. Oh, and while we’re looking backward, here are the 23 Old-Fashioned Etiquette Rules That Still Apply.

answering machine

“I left a message on your answering machine.”

Sure, it may be “voicemail” today, but you’ve got to give credit where credit is due: answering machines made for way better plot devices in horror films. And speaking of answering machines: they’re definitely one of 50 Things You No Longer See in Offices. 

vhs player

“I taped the game last night.”

Today, we DVR things. Yesterday we Tivo’d. A long, long, long time ago we taped.

old man listening to music, things old people say

“When did this song become ‘classic’ rock!?”

It’s been a long time since that Rush album came out, I’m afraid.

telecopier machine, things old people say

“What’s your fax number?”

I know what you’re going to say next: “They’re useless until you absolutely need one.” Which is definitely true! But it doesn’t make you any younger, friend.

maps, things old people say

“I printed the directions from Mapquest.”

Unfortunately, these printed directions cannot “recalculate your route.”

man sleeping couch

“I took a nap on the davenport.”

There’s nothing wrong with an occasional nap, but calling your couch a “davenport?” Sorry, but a total #oldpersonmove.

man on bench, things old people say

“You go ahead, I’m just going to sit for a minute.”

We hate to say it, but when the bench looks more enticing than the walk, it could be a sign of advanced age. And for some great health advice, here are 40 Ways to Stay Sharp After 40.

bank deposit things old people say

“I need to swing by the bank and make a deposit.”

But kudos to those friendly few who prefer to chat with a teller over using an ATM and direct deposit.

life reminders, home ownership

“Can I borrow your calculator?”

Rare exception: if you’re a high-schooler taking calculus.

teens words and phrases phat

“Kids today.”

If you follow this phrase with something derogatory, you’ll be a walking stereotype! Oh, and speaking of those crazy kids: Here are 25 Things That Were Considered Scandalous 100 Years Ago But Are Totally Normal Now. 

old people selfie, things old people say

“I found some great photos for Throwback Thursday on Facebook!”

Throwback Thursdays began with widespread appeal. But more recently the average age of the people still using this hashtag with enthusiasm is increasingly getting up there.

tool time, denim, things old people say

“The 90s were only ten years ago!”

Sorry, it’s been almost two decades.

hail a cab, things old people say

“I’ll call a cab.”

It’s an Uber or Lyft world, my friend.

“I’m just going to rest my eyes for a minute.”

Also: If you’re having trouble with sleeping, here are 11 Doctor-Approved Secrets for Falling Asleep Faster—Tonight. 

weird laws

“I saw this great segment on 60 Minutes.”

Yes, 60 Minutes is the new Matlock.

newspaper delivery

“I know the newspaper delivery kid on a first name basis.”

It’s a good bet even little Steve owns a tablet.

get more sleep, look younger 50

“I slept like a baby last night.”

There’s just something about this phrase that strikes us as lovably old-fashioned. Perhaps it was Bob Dole’s use of it after losing the 1996 presidential race. (Either way, we just dated ourselves considerably with that reference.)

Coins for exact change.

“Hold on, I think I have exact change.”

We dare you to find us a Millennial who carries pennies.

Man working at his computer

“The machine.”

When referring to a computer.

Printer for emails.

“Can you print out this email?”

A classic baby boomer move.

rotary phone

“I’ll call the operator and get her number.”

Otherwise known as the analog Siri.

bulky computer monitor

“I’m just going to stick with Windows 98. It works fine enough.”

It’s time for an upgrade, friend.

CD case, obsolete

“I’ll make you a mixtape.”

For the record: we think this is a way better and more personal gesture than simply sending a Spotify playlist over email. That said, it still screams “older person.”

swearing on tv things old people say

“I remember when there wasn’t so much swearing on TV.”

“Ah, the Brady Bunch. Now that was good TV!”

work from home, things old people say

“Work hard and you’ll get to the corner office!”

If only corner offices were still in abundance.

old man taking selfie, things old people say

“I just don’t get selfies.”

We hear you. But perhaps the “pasta selfie” will change your mind.

freezer, things old people say

“We have some leftovers in the ice box.”

Of course, “iceboxes” started to fall out of fashion in the 1930s. But it’s a delightful, throw-back affectation.

tap water faucet, things old people say

“Why would I pay for water when I can get it for free out of the faucet?”

Said no young person ever.

older man smiling, things old people say

“I’m hip, right?”

If you have to ask…

How to write a check with a fountain pen up close; over 40, things old people say

“Can I pay for this by check?”

Thanks to phones, even debit cards are becoming dated. So checks are officially two generations ago.

mature man, things old people say

“Thanks for asking.”

Specifically when a bartender, waitress, or liquor store employee requests your ID before selling you alcohol. Gratefulness for being carded is not an emotion experienced by young people.

listening to music, things old people say

“It sounds like a lot of noise to me.”

When referring to, say, Daft Punk.

surprised woman, things old people say

“We sure are in a pickle.”

Unless, of course, you’re playing baseball.

ball in backyard

“Off my lawn before I hit you with this rake!”

You’ve officially become the cranky neighbor in the Dennis the Menace.

boarding passes, things old people say

“I almost forgot to print my boarding pass!”

Another thing made obsolete thanks to the smartphone.

online shopping, things old people say

“I never use a credit card on the Internet.”

But honestly, no one would blame you for this. Chalk one up to the older folks!

Doctor, scandalous

“Time to schedule my annual colonoscopy.”

It’s a sign you’re aging, for sure.

early bird special, buffet, things old people say

“Let’s hit the early-bird special”

It’s not so much the whole buffet thing. It’s the fact that you’re probably eating dinner while so many people are at work.

hard candy, things old people say

“I have some hard candy in my pocket.”

If you’ve grown to enjoy the taste of caramel candies combined with pocket lint, I’m afraid it’s official: You are no longer young.

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