Compliments are great. They can make you feel good even if you know you are receiving false flattery. They can make you feel good as long as they are worded properly. The ones that are not worded so well do not feel so good. Have you ever been told, “Hey you look great in horizontal stripes, I could never get away with that!” Sounds good at first but then you get a funny feeling, Hmm, what did they really mean by that?
Or, how about when you tell someone your age, and they offer enthusiastically, “Wow, you don’t look that old.” I heard that more than once as a “non-traditional student” when I went back to school. It really put things in perspective on days when I was feeling kinda hip.
One of my all time favorites is, “Hey, have you lost weight?” Well, how fat did you think I was?
I mean really, is that supposed to make me feel good, that I am not as fat as I used to be? The best part of it is that I have heard that many times when I had not actually lost any weight. I guess they just remembered me as being fatter.
Even the ones, you know love you the most, can manage to mangle a compliment. I remember, many years ago, I was stretching on my living room floor and said something, I do not remember what, about being flexible. I do however remember what my (now ex) husband’s reply was, “Yes, fat people are usually flexible.” Ouch! And, that was not even one of my fat phases!
Years later, during what I thought was, yet another “not fat phase” I was at my second job as a bartender when I overheard a man behind me, within obvious hearing distance, say, “Boy, she’s graceful for a big girl.” What?! Gee buddy, thanks a lot.
Yes, I have received many, somewhat suspect compliments. I suppose I have also given my share without realizing it. I once saw my aunt at Christmas in a red velvet jumper. I said to her, “I know you are going to make a great mom when you have that baby.” When she glared at me, I realized that, uh, she actually had already had the baby, oops. Left-handed compliments, we all get them and probably accidently give them. I guess that is when it is good to have a sense of humor, at least when looking back.