16 Unique Struggles of 20-Somethings Who Look Younger Than They Are

When you’re, say, 50, being told you look young for your age is a compliment. At least that’s what I remind myself to help me get through the awkward stage of being 24 and mistaken for 20, 18, and once even 15. One day I’ll be thankful for my youthful look. But for now, I and my fellow younger-looking 20-somethings find ourselves in these predicaments on a regular basis.

1. Coworkers trying to teach you things you already know because they assume you’re at one of your first jobs

2. People directing their questions to your older-looking coworkers during meetings

3. Getting messages like this on online dating sites

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4. Being hit on by people who look like children to you

5. Being overlooked by love interests your own age

6. Feeling suspicious of people your age who want to date you because it seems like they’re trying to rob the cradle

7. Servers asking if you need a kids’ menu

8. Movie ticket salespeople asking to see your student ID because they assume you’re buying a student ticket

9. Bartenders carding you while handing your younger friend a cocktail without second thoughts

10. People asking what school you go to or what you study whenever you do anything remotely collegiate, like sit at a cafe with your laptop or merely exist near a college campus

11. Airport security guards asking if you’re flying alone

12. Hearing “when I was your age” from people who currently are your age

13. Nurses being unable to locate your records because they were looking in pediatrics

14. Going to great lengths to cultivate an authoritative presence to compensate for your appearance during interviews and public speeches

15. Looking like you’re playing dress-up when you wear business casual

16. Feeling self-conscious to be seen in public with your parents because they’ll subtract even more years from your perceived age

Suzannah Weiss is a writer whose work has also been published in The Washington Post, Salon, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Marie Claire, Seventeen, Paper Magazine, Yahoo, and more. She holds degrees in Gender & Sexuality Studies, Modern Culture & Media, and Cognitive Neuroscience, which she uses mainly to over-analyze trashy television and argue over semantics. She never outgrew 90s rock music and hopes she never will. You can follow her on Twitter at @suzannahweiss.

Keep up with Suzannah on clippings.me

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