Ever give a compliment and feel like it sort of fell flat and you’re not sure why? Well maybe because your compliment isn’t really a compliment at all. At least, not the way you intended it to be.
I remember reading once upon a time that in some cultures complimenting someone’s possessions is insulting. So saying something like, “I love your shoes!” is not ok in these cultures and can come across as envious.
Because you aren’t complimenting the person. Why should a person thank you for complimenting their shoes? The shoes should say thank you. Even saying something like “You look so pretty in those shoes!” is not right because it implies that out of the shoes? Not so pretty.
Ever since I read it, actually, I think about it every time I hear a compliment. I found it to make a lot of sense to me and I found that a lot of people don’t compliment you personally, they compliment your possessions. So every time I give a compliment, I try and remember to make it personal.
Instead of, “That dress is so pretty” I say “That dress looks so pretty on you” because it implies the dress is mundane without you, not the other way around. If you really want to compliment a particular item, you’re really complimenting the person’s taste so do so. Instead of “I love your shoes” I say “I love your taste in shoes.” See the difference?
Want to know the one that drives me crazy?
“You look so pretty today!”
Aw gee thanks, and yesterday I looked like a monster? And tomorrow I’ll probably be just a walking disappointment? Shucks, you shouldn’t have.
What about you? Do you ever pick up on the nuances of compliments or are you sort of immune to the details? Any other random thing that’s supposed to be positive but just ends up rubbing you the wrong way instead?