There is truly an art to the backhanded compliment. It does well to remember that while some are mean-spirited, others might come from a place of ignorance. Sooo... it might not be the best response to insult the person right back (just in case they know what you're doing and might have a bone to pick).

But for those of you who are evil, you're in luck. There are plenty of backhanded compliments to celebrate (and steal) thanks to Redditor TheLoreWriter, who asked the online community,

"What are some sentences that sound like compliments at first, but turn out to be insults once you think it over?"

"A friend of mine..."

"A friend of mine used to say 'You are a pauper amongst princes' with such confidence it would often not compute with the person he just said it to."


"I always thought..."

"Person A: "See you later."

Person B: "Not if I see you first!"

I always thought this meant that Person B would be the first to say hello when they next meet. It took a long time for me to realise that it actually meant that Person B would see Person A first, then attempt to avoid them."


"I was at a buddy's place..."

"I was at a buddy's place one day when this guy named Kevin (not my friend, but a friend of my friend) was giving me grief about the fact that I was in my 40s (Kevin was in his 20s). Kept calling me old, making fun of me for being old, etc.

Eventually, I said, "Getting old does suck, but with any luck it won't happen to you."

Kevin replied, "Damn right it won't".

I waited to see if the burn would filter through, but it didn't. About a minute later, Kevin's friend Dave suddenly looks at Kevin and breaks up laughing, much to Kevin's expressed confusion.

"That dude just burned you bad man, and you didn't even get it! Hell, you actually agreed!"

Kevin denied the burn, which Dave had to explain to him. "He means if you don't get old, you'll die, so he's saying hopefully you'll die!"

Kevin finally got it. He did not take the burn with good humour."


Kevin sounds like he couldn't hit water if he fell out of a boat. How's that for an insult?

"Someone's come out..."

""Wow you're really talkative today!"

"Someone's come out of their shell, haven't they?"


"I once heard of..."

"I once heard of somebody checking a job seeker and called the former employer. Former employer said, "You'd be lucky to get him to work for you."


Ouch. That really says everything without saying much at all, doesn't it?

"When I was a bridesmaid..."

"When I was a bridesmaid in my friend's wedding; the dress she picked was unflattering on me. The entire night everyone kept telling me what a beautiful color that was on me."


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"Southern slang..."

"Southern slang: Calling someone "Honey" or saying "bless your heart" is calling them slow and or special. This is obviously taboo.

Saying "Yes" to when someone asks you if you mind doing something. You are not saying you will do it, you are saying that it bothers you to do it."


The first time I was in the South and I heard someone say "Bless your heart" in public, I screeched. (Internally, but still.) It was hilarious.

"There's always s

""You're so quiet but brilliant!!" was the latest remark on how I don't always speak in meetings yet am great at my job.

There's always some variation of "you're so quiet but.." as if being quiet is a bad thing."


The world is made for extroverts it seems––and perhaps they might want to keep their back-handed compliments in check.

"Don't know if it qualifies..."

"Don't know if it qualifies as an insult, but my ex told me I came to his attention as soon as we met first as a very beautiful woman, and in the next sentence he said another woman in the group (we met in a group setting) came to his attention as well.

Quite the roller-coaster - first I was flattered, then kinda bummed/a bit jealous/insecure, then happy he was so honest about it but it still seriously took away from the compliment."


I'd say it qualifies. Bummer!

Does this have anything to do why they're an ex?

"Got this compliment..."

""You're so photogenic"

Got this compliment a lot back then in school and I was genuinely flattered until someone (who's my close friend) said in a random convo that somehow it means that you look good in pics but not in real life. Thanks, my self-esteem shattered that day."


For those of you who just realized that someone gave you a backhanded compliment... we're sorry, and ouch.

And for those of you looking to add a few to your repertoire, well... you're welcome.

Have some additions of your own? Feel free to tell us about them in the comments below!

Want to "know" more? Never miss another big, odd, funny, or heartbreaking moment again. Sign up for the Knowable newsletter here.

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