TO: Men all over the planet
RE: Compliments! Yikes!
DATE: April 4, 2012
It should be quite obvious, shouldn’t it, boys? A compliment is just that — a compliment. Neat and obvious. Like a pretty little present in a nice little box tied up with a pretty pink bow. It makes you smile. It gives you those fluttering butterflies in your stomach. It let’s you know that someone thinks you’re cool enough for a glowing — and equally cool — compliment. We all love compliments. They boost our ego. They make us feel like, yes, we’re doing something right in this world.
And yet..sometimes even the best of the best compliments can enter that murky, uncharted, confusing territory. Sometimes, instead of walking away smiling and feeling like you’re on cloud nine, you walk away thinking, “Wait, what was that? Was that a compliment?” I know, I know, boys. I’m sure you don’t mean to serve these compliments on a cutting-edged plate, but sometimes, they’re just all too bittersweet. On the outside, it’s sweet. But on the inside, once you peel away that sweet, delicious layer? You’re left with a bitter after taste that you just can’t seem to shake. Take these examples, for instance…
You’re my best friend
This is fine if that’s all you want to be — best friends. But hearing those words when being best friends is the decidedly last thing you want to be can cut like a knife.
You remind me so much of my sister/mother
Remember how I was only a few credits shy of a psychology minor in college? Well, that background comes in handy for this back-handed compliment. Freud would have a field day with this one. Sure, maybe you love us like you do your mother or sister, but that leaves me, well, a bit creeped out.
I know it’s not just you, boys. Women are guilty of this too. Maybe we’re just not aware of what comes out of our mouth and how it’s being received. In our minds, it could sound perfectly nice and logical, but the second it leaves our lips, it gets twisted and tangled before falling on the ears of its receiver.
So, what about when it’s not so clear? What happens when the metaphorical compliment line has become so blurred that it’s almost rendered invisible? What happens when a compliment just doesn’t come off as sincere as the person intended it to be? Can you ever take an awkward situation like that and make it not-so-awkward? xoxo
[Photos via Le Love]