Can you recall a time that somebody gave you a so-called compliment, but it seemed like a little bit of a dig on you, too? It’s not your imagination. Backhanded compliments are a lot more common than you might think and sometimes it’s those closest too us that accidentally hurt us most. Some people were taught long ago that if they don’t have anything nice to say, to just keep it to themselves. Well, people don’t like keeping opinions to themselves, so people have found a new way to spin that. It’s now more a game of, if you don’t have anything nice to say, then you can still say it as long as you disguise it as a compliment. In today’s bullying lifestyles, it might not surprise anybody that a decent majority of these backhanded compliments can come from our personal relationships. In some cases, it can be a friend or significant other just joking with you, but even our loved ones will poke fun at us while they mean to compliment us. Here are a few things you should think twice before saying to your significant other or loved ones.
The unwanted looks compliments
Have you ever had somebody give you a compliment about your looks that just doesn’t seem too complimentary?
“You would be so cute if you lost a little bit of weight.”
Really, well, I was going for cute as I am now, but now that you mention it, I will just have to lose some weight real quick to see if I can pull cute off.
“You aren’t half bad looking.”
So, what you really saying is I’m nothing to look at, but if you squint and I am standing in the right kind of lighting, then I might be acceptable to the human eye.
“You’re such a beautiful person on the inside.”
I love this one because so many people try to cheer their friends up with this little gem of a compliment. Why can’t I just be beautiful? Do you ever try to cheer up a good-looking friend by saying you are so beautiful on the outside? I have a feeling the word outside, is usually not said out loud in that bit of comforting.
“You look great for your age.”
I’m going to be honest, I’m guilty of this one quite often. What does this really say, though? It could very easily come as a stab at a person’s age. You know you might be old, but I’ve seen uglier at your age. Or does it say, you aren’t exactly great to look at, but for being an ancient relic you held up okay?
Other unwanted compliments.
“You’re smarter than you look.”
How exactly does dumb look? Could this just mean that I looked like the dumbest person alive and I exceeded expectations because I’m actually smarter than a handful of the dumbest people on Earth?
“You’re not at all what I expected.”
No matter which way this phrase is used, it is bad. Either you expected better, or you expected me to be junk and realized that when polished off, I could really be a hidden treasure. Why is it you didn’t think a could be treasure to begin with?
“You are very good at that for a female.”
I think all of us males are guilty of this one. Some more than others, but we are quick to point out that you can be good at something we believe to be more male-orientated things, but only as far as female standards go. You might be great at basketball, and be able to beat a ton of other females at it, but you would get crushed by even the average male baller. We don’t feel like we are going to crash, burn and die just because you are behind the wheel, but we would still feel safer if we had a 14-year-old boy driving us around. I admit you did a great job of rebuilding that engine for the Camero, but I’m the man; therefore I will change the starter. By the way, where is the starter again? These things might not be what men are trying to say when they let the words tumble out of their mouths, but in the end, they mean the same thing.
I’m not saying teasing isn’t helpful in caring relationships, but I think being able to make fun of each other and oneself makes for a less stressful lifestyle. However, I think it would be a good thing to sometimes sit back and realize what we say to others and how it can affect them. A lot of times we do mean to pay somebody a compliment, but don’t even notice that we accidentally smacked them up side the head instead. Then again, some people are just looking for opportunities to give somebody a barb disguised as a backhanded compliment and wondering if they were even smart enough to figure it out.