( noun | com·pli·ment | \ˈkäm-plə-mənt\ ): an expression of esteem, respect, affection, or admiration ~ Merriam-Webster
When we compliment others, we think we just made their day. However, in the words of Douglas Admas,
"Words used carelessly, as if they did not matter in any serious way, often [allow] other well-guarded truths to seep through."
Basically, you may have meant one thing, but the insecurities of the person you're talking to may have them interpreting it as something entirely different. Let's take a look at five ways we could ruin someone's day.
1. "You look _______ today!"
It's nice of you to say that they look nice, pretty or handsome. Saying that they look nice, pretty or handsome TODAY is a completely different matter. What about yesterday, the day before yesterday or last week? In order to avoid triggering your friends, try leaving out "today".
2. "You look better with _______ ."
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This one goes hand in hand with the preceding complinsult. Handing out advice along with your compliment is risky. It almost always ends up being taken the wrong way. It's not only insulting your friend in the current situation, but also making them insecure about wearing anything other than what you said they look "better" in.
3. "Did you lose weight?"
That's harsh, man. What are you trying to insinuate? Okay, this could possibly make the recipient of your complinsult puff up like a peacock about trimming off a few pounds, even though they didn't mention anything about losing weight. But after a few seconds of preening, they start to think, " Does that mean I was fat before today? " And here we have a whole new set of insecurities you've triggered. Way to go. If they do talk about an exercise regime they've started, then you can probably say, "OMG, I noticed that you looked healthier when I saw you!" or something along those lines... Plus, it'll keep them motivated about their exercising.
4. "You clean up nicely!"
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"Thanks, I used a different brand of detergent." Were they a hot mess before? This is like the first two complinsults' cousin or half-brother or something. Just straight out say they look nice, pretty or handsome! Is that such a hard thing to do?
5. "Your pictures don't do you justice."
Not everyone is photogenic like you, Barney. Sure, your friend might feel better about their image in real life, but how will they feel about their virtual image? " Let's take a selfie! Wait, take another one. Barney told me I look bad in pictures... " You just created a burden for everyone who wants to take pictures with this person. Also, this complinsult is kind of creepy, like, how many pictures of this person have you seen? Just throw this one away while making a cringy face, pretty please.
I hope you learned your lesson...
One word, two words or a whole sentence can make a heck of a difference. Think carefully about what you say to others because even though it sounds nice in your head, it could completely crush the other person.