Are You Sure It’s A Compliment?
Every so often, we say something to someone meant as a compliment. Sometimes, we get a positive response, and maybe even a compliment directed at us in return. However, there are times when people have gotten quite offended at these seemingly harmless statements.
MAYBE IT’S NOT A COMPLIMENT
Just because you intended it as one, doesn’t always make it so. Sometimes, the problem lies in the additional remarks attached to a compliment (I like to call them additives). These additives often that a person would be receiving this compliment if they weren’t or were some other way.
SOME COMMONLY MISCONSTRUED COMPLIMENTS
- You’re not fat, you’re beautiful!
Seems harmless enough, right? What you’re actually saying is that you cannot be both beautiful and fat. And yes, a lot of women love to be told they are beautiful and that they are not fat. But, you also indicating that being fat is undesirable. You are unknowingly giving the impression that there is a limit to what you consider ‘beautiful’, and that once that border is crossed that person will no longer be beautiful in your eyes.
- You’re different from other [insert group here].
You’re not really acknowledging how brilliant or amazing or whatever this person is. You are simply saying you have a bigoted opinion about a certain group of people and this one person is an exception to your bigotry. You have formulated a much generalized opinion, and you are shocked that this person doesn’t fall into your premade mould.
- It’s So Brave of You to Wear That!
This is actually humiliating – even when you say “I wish I could be as bold as you”. Thus statement actually implies the receiver of the compliment should have something to be ashamed of. Seeing as you are stating it requires a certain of courage to wear something you believe is inappropriate for her.
- You’ve lost weight!
Imagine if the person you said this to wasn’t actively trying to lose weight. You’ve unwittingly made this person self-conscious about her appearance. This person might start spend the rest of the day obsessing about what they looked like before and what they look like now.
- You look so great today!
I know a lot of people don’t get why people take offense to this statement. Of course, you don’t mean the person doesn’t look great every other day, but she’s still going to think it. And, if you’re being honest with yourself, you’ll find that you actually don’t find this person to look this good every day – which is why you subs=consciously add ‘today’.
In the future, keep your compliments simple. You may feel that your compliment needs to be grand and slightly exaggerated for it to be truly appreciated, but no. “You’re so beautiful” will definitely be a lot more appreciated than “You look so beautiful today”.
DID YOU KNOW? A negative comment said to sound like a compliment is called ‘negging’