Have you ever gotten a compliment that makes you wonder if it's really complimentary?
Like, is it really an insult disguised as a compliment?
Redditor shamilat asked:
"What's a compliment and an insult at the same time?"
"Back in the 1980s, New Zealand's prime minister said that anyone who chose to emigrate from New Zealand to Australia could be proud that they were raising the average IQ of both countries." ~ RedStarRocket91
Certain Savoir Faire
“'I love how you’ll just wear anything' -John Mulany" ~ kgottshall
Age Is Just A Number
"'You're very beautiful for your age' or 'I can tell you were beautiful when you were younger'." ~ PJmichelle
Now And Then
"Wow, you smell a lot nicer than usual!" ~ Prank_Owl
"You look so much nicer now!" ~ DogBreathologist
"I had a teacher in high school tell me, in front of the class, how much better I looked since putting on a little weight."
"I had always been super skinny but had put on 20 pounds that year because my doctor was trying out depression meds on me after my dad died. F'k you, lady." ~ SkullsInSpace
"It’s a good thing you’re so pretty." ~ ZOMGBabyFoofs
"I always get 'Wow, we used to think you were a real b*tch but you're actually really nice!' from friends at some point."
"It makes me so sad that I'm a naturally shy person around a new group of people."
"It makes me so self-conscious when I meet new people because I know that line and its variants will eventually be said again." ~ Spasay
"There’s the classic, 'I don’t care what they say about you, you’re alright'.” ~ theleftbuttcheek
"'You’re alright' is bad enough, it’s like telling someone who’s doing their best that 'It could be worse' or 'It’s good enough'." ~ Ragingbull444
"I got this comment from friends a few times long before I knew the whole resting b*tch face thing was a typical introvert problem, and I didn’t know that simply being quieter than everyone else would be seen as such a negative (especially when I’m trying to talk but not wanting to interrupt and talk over everyone else)."
"Also I thought a b*tch was someone who was openly mean and rude to people so I wondered wtf did I do wrong." ~ PrismInTheDark
A For Effort
"'I can see that you're trying' (when someone showed you something they worked hard on, and it's the only positive thing you can think of to say)." ~ GingerMau
”I can see what you were going for here.” ~ tamsui_tosspot
"My auntie once said to me: 'You know, you used to be a bit funny looking as you were growing up but you have turned in to a really handsome chap'."
"I really didn't know what to make of that, if I should be happy or offended." ~ Island_Monkey86
So what's your story?
Has anyone ever given you a backhanded compliment?
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So one time a guy told me I had legs like a horse. Yup, that's how we're starting this article.
There's not really a whole lot of context here. I was dancing at a block party, a dude walked up and went:
"Daaaang, you have legs like a horse!"
That's it. He clearly meant it as a compliment but ... what? It's been like a decade and I still lay awake at night wondering about it.
So obviously when Reddit user Smalie asked:
Let's just say it hit on a topic I'm quite passionate about.
"She Didn't Actually Know What Swans Sound Like"swan GIFGiphy
"That I have a very swan-like voice. She didn't actually know what swans sound like."
"She was complimenting me on how I said 'your coffee will be ready over there' when we were both working at a coffee shop." - SmartAlec105
"HONK! Coffee's over there. HONK!" - hatelord666
"I was more thinking of their angry hissing." - cabamacadaf
"YES ME TOO. WHEN I WAS A KID THERE WERE THESE SWANS BY THE RIVER THAT PEOPLE HAD FED AND THEYD COME UP TO PEOPLE AND JUST HISS."
"To this day I still get uneasy around swans." - 123thundernugget
Fine FurnishingsNot Bad Season 6 GIF by Parks and RecreationGiphy
"My eyes were brown like a really nice table." - Editor-In-Queef
"That sounds like a compliment I've given someone before and now I feel weird. I told him his eyes weren't just brown, they're cherry. Like really nice cabinets." - showerbeerbuttchug
"I imagine this coming from Ron Swanson." - isthereanyuniquename
Bugging Youscared news anchor GIF by MashableGiphy
"A random woman outside a café beside a train station, as I get chased by a wasp:"
" 'You smell very sweet and spicy, that's why he's chasing you. It's very nice!' "
"Thank you random lady, 2 years later and I'll never forget." - martini_man_
"I was the only one getting bitten by mosquitoes at a BBQ and a random man said 'I'm not surprised. Your skin looks so soft I'd bite you.' Umm.. please don't?" - scent_of_gardenia
"Although it does sound weird I have to back up her comment. I live in Florida where we have a lot of mosquitos due to humidity, and if me and my fiancé are sitting in the same place he will get bit at least 7 times and I'll get bit 0."
"I always tell him it's because he smells very sweet and the mosquitos like it lol! I'm so attracted to his smell I can only imagine they are too." - BeeRivers
It's A Vibekermit worry GIFGiphy
" 'You remind me of Kermit the frog. Not in looks, in vibes.' "
"I mean the muppets are rad but it was said while I was handing somebody food and talking in a completely monotone voice haha" - drummerfromjetwash
"Dude Kermit is one of my heroes I would be thrilled." - dingledangle23
"Honestly not weird. That's a really nice compliment, in my opinion." - CyanCrackers
"Kermie is the everyday hero and I absolutely adore him!" - Fink665
"I wanna vibe with kermit the frog. Wanna be homies?" - dark_and_scary
That Cranium, Thocaveman smile GIF by Aardman AnimationsGiphy
"I was admiringly told by a female anthropology professor in class that I have a 'very robust cranium' like an archaic H. sapiens. Not the size of the head, but the prominence of cranial landmarks. Think caveman."
"I do have very robust and hyper-masculinized cranial landmarks. I've just never had it put to me in exactly those terms."
"I told my wife later and she was like 'omg she has the hots for you!' Lol." - PolackTony
"This made me robustly laugh out loud." - cephalopodio
"This is the most anthropological thing I have seen in weeks. Anthro nerds hit different." - salajomo
"That is hard core dirty talk from an anthropologist." - ackoo123ads
They're Realjames mcavoy kilt GIF by Saturday Night LiveGiphy
"I went to Mexico with a buddy about 10 years ago and we were drinking with a bunch of people. Well another group of people were standing near us and kept looking over and whispering to each other, staring at us until finally a few of them approached us."
"The one guy looks at me and says 'are your calves real?' I was like 'ughhhhh yeah.. they're real,' he turns to his friends and yells 'they're real!' "
"They all proceed to walk over and talk to us. A group of maybe 10 people complimented me on my calves, it was very weird."
"I play a lot of sports like football, American football, soccer, hockey, baseball, rugby, basketball etc, so that probably helps; but even as a baby I had really big calves." - CdnRageBear
She Likes Your Hairepisode 1 hair GIF by The BacheloretteGiphy
"I had a girl tell me she'd like it if I got hit by a car so that she could cradle my head and stroke my hair as I died." - wishsleepwasoptional
"People like that should come with warning signs and maybe a legal disclaimer." - Traditional-Newt4172
"That sounds less like a compliment and more like a confession." - SylvanWhisper
"Perhaps you should keep your distance from that young lady" - makeupandjustice
Those Beady Little EyesGIF by Lovecraft CountryGiphy
"An older gentleman I regularly walk by on my way to work and have never exchanged words with randomly said to me one day:"
" 'I don't know whether you want to beat me up or kill me, but you look at me with those beady little eyes and it's scary. But you are a sweetheart I love you, I do' "
"and honestly, as a petite young lady who tries to look intimidating as I walk alone, my day was made." - yellow_birdie
Welp, That Took A Turnrose GIFGiphy
"I work as a barista at Starbucks. One time this guy came in and ordered a Carmel Frappe. I asked him if that was all for him and he said"
" 'Yes, unless I can get a Trenta of you with my order.' "
"Now I'm very easily flustered so I immediately started blushing and he looked me right in my eyes and said
' "You look beautiful with a blush across your face. It looks like a rose that was flattened by a car.' "
"Now I'm no flirt master, but I don't think that's how you get a girl." - av0cad0-cat
Wat?Big Brother Reaction GIF by Big Brother After DarkGiphy
"Once heard 'You're not gorgeous, but you'd never know it to look at you.' "
"What?" - tequilamockingbird99
"Wut????" - pottymouthoftheyear
"Negging at its finest. Probably though you were super hot, so he felt he had to knock you down a few pegs." - Clionara
Y'all ... my non-robust cranium hurts now.
You never know what kind of day someone is having.
But when that person – who may have drama at home or trouble in the workplace – hears a compliment, it can be enough to turn their day around.
While many of us have undoubtedly been praised for our looks or how well we performed certain tasks, there are some unique compliments that stay with us forever.
Curious to hear from strangers on the internet, Redditor pokemonjk20 asked:
"What is your favorite compliment you ever received?"
Friends telling us we look good is always appreciated, but hearing compliments from complete strangers can be a major confidence booster.
The Elderly Man
"One time I held the door open for an old guy with an oxygen tube and tank trailing behind him with a nurse and he stopped, looked me in the eyes for a second, and said 'it's women like you who are why I fight not to be worm food'. I was really touched by the compliment and we hugged. It wasn't creepy like it might sound. The guy reminded me of Willy Nelson with long grey braids and a leather vest."
Hitting Their Stride
"As a middle aged white guy walking through Lowe's. An older black guy walked passed me and we exchanged head nods. I was suddenly hit with 'I knew you was cool just cause of the way you walk.'"
Forgivable Pickup Line
"Your a** could set sail to a thousand ships."
"It was a rather crude pickup line, but it worked on me because it is a Helen of Troy reference and I love Greek mythology."
A Sweet Encounter
"I was at a jewelry stand and someone had tapped me on the shoulder, it was an older gentleman and he said , 'I hope I'm not coming off as creepy, but you are the loveliest young lady I've seen all day.' I had smiled and told him thank you, and he simply tipped his head and walked away. To this day it still remains to be one of the best compliments I had ever received."
Teachers often make inspiring impressions on students they will remember for a lifetime.
It also means the world to our educators when they are complimented.
Now, Hear This
"You are a good teacher because you make us want to listen."
The Grateful Student
"On my last day working at the elementary school I used to work, a kid asked me to sign her yearbook. I grabbed a pen and when I got to her desk she had her yearbook open to the 'About me,' page, and told me to sign in the box that said 'My Hero.' I put every ounce of myself into that job, and I was already struggling to hold myself together that day but that's when I totally lost it."
Parents Explain Why They Regret The Name They Gave Their Child | George Takei’s Oh Myyy
"I work as a secretary in a high school. One of my students introduced me to his parents as the person who always believed in him."
Workers engaging with these particular customers wound up having memorable shifts.
"I used to bartend at an all female bartender bar. One night a group of guys sitting at the bar were discussing animals that each of us bartenders reminded them of. This was in no way derogatory. We were all having fun and all of us were into it. Anyway, so and so was the lion, so and so was the fox, etc. Then I said, 'My turn! What animal am I?' They told me I was the unicorn. All the other girls were so jealous!:
You've Got Style
"I worked at a video store - one store, not a chain - in the 1990s. I worked with a very cool dude. Very stylish and hip. I walked in one day, and he said 'Nice shirt! it suits you!'"
"It's been an easy 25 years since then, and it's still the most honest and appreciated compliment I've ever received."
"I am a call center agent, right now I have been told that I am very attentive and that my service was excellent, that my concern for the customer is noticeable."
"I am smiling."
The Good Looking Barista
"I'm a barista at Starbucks, I'm a dude too, another dude came in maybe 25-30 years old. Told me I had nice eyebrows."
"Another woman came in later that day, and apparently was flirting with me but im just as blind as the next guy at picking up signs lmfao."
When those who have low-self esteem are recognized and given appreciation simply for being who they are, it's everything.
"When my wife and I first started dating, she would always compliment me (still does), and being someone who was single most of their life, and had self esteem issues, every single one meant the world to me. She would just look at me, tell me that I had beautiful eyes, or that I pulled off the outfit I am wearing. To her it was just words, but to me it was going to work that day and not feeling like an ugly piece of sh*t. She'll never know how much she improves my mental health on a daily basis."
The Company You Keep
"im more of an introvert person and an extroverted friend once told me, 'I love your presence even though you dont say much, just having you here is fun."
"One time a girl complimented that I have really nice teeth."
"As a teenager I was really self-conscious about my crooked teeth. I was raised by my grandmother, who had a low level job in a company and made like 400 bucks a week. She also worked a weekend retail job to make ends meet. I have no clue how she managed to pay for my braces. But she somehow did (and anything else she could to make me feel like a normal kid)."
"So it was nice to receive that compliment as a boost to my self-confidence and a reminder of the sacrifices my grandmother made in raising me."
"We're German. So my friends and I played a game and one friend had to say one word that they thought of when thinking of every individual person. For me he chose 'Geborgenheit' which is a German word best described (I don't like the actual translations, the don't do it justice) as feeling 100% comfortable around someone/ in their presence. Like that feeling you have when you hug a loved person (like a grandparents' hug, you know?). The comfort and security you feel. It stuck with me because damn I want all my loved ones to feel like that around me."
It doesn't require much effort for a person to say something nice to others.
When you provide positive reinforcement on someone's self-esteem with a compliment, it can also make you feel good.
We could all use some love these days, so when you have an impulse to compliment someone, don't hold back on making that person's day that much brighter.
Teaching can be an extremely rewarding occupation. Teachers get to help students grow and develop as people, and help to shape their outlook on life.
It's also an extremely stressful profession with worries about low pay and lack of classroom funding combining with the general stresses of dealing with a classroom full of children every day can make for a frustrating work environment.
Reddit user u/ainternal_Recording asked:
I have a story for this one.
A few years ago, I took a class in design theory. It was the pet project of the head of the college, and taught the design principles behind everything from common household objects to room layouts to entire organizations. It was an absolutely brutal class, but uniquely informative.
One day, towards the end of the semester, we went over the use of humor in design. The professor spent the entire class talking about how laughter and amusement can be used to engage an audience and change how people see a situation. The whole time, he was laughing, cracking jokes (and good ones, too), and generally making sure the class had a good time.
And at the end of the lesson, he told us not to underestimate the power of laughter; after all, it was how he had gotten through the lecture that day.
His father had died a couple days prior. He broke down crying after he told us.
It's probably the most impactful lecture I've ever attended.
Grade 10 science class, we were taking turns using some kind of lung capacity measuring device. Breathe into a tube and a small plastic ball gets raised by the force of your breathing, something gets measured somehow, i can't really remember details aside from the plastic ball.
Anyway, the teacher takes his turn, apparently trying to show off with how hard he can breathe out, somehow breaks the measuring device.
The teacher goes into a rage after realizing he broke it, briefly tries to fix it, gives up, picks up a metal garbage can and throws it in anger, storms out of the room and doesn't come back for 10-15 mins at which point he returns and acts like nothing happened.
It was more bizarre and amusing than anything else.
The teacher learned that one student cheated on a history essay. After getting this kid suspended for two days (repeat offender), she discovered that almost 2/3rds of her class in that subject was cheating as well. I dont know what happened after that but she literally broke down when she found out that my class knew about it (we were in a different subject so we weren't a part of this "scandal")
The teacher was bullied and disrepected everyday. One day an idiot threw a geometry compass and it got stucked on a cork board (like when you do knive throwing) right besides her while she was writing on the board. Instant meltdown, in tears, she left the class and i never saw her again. Can't blame her, she probably thought her life was in danger at this point. Some schools/neighborhoods are very hard.
My favorite science teacher in high school was slowly being forced out by administration. One day in class she stopped teaching and sat down in front of us and told us she had just been diagnosed with MS and began sobbing. The entire class got up and gave her a long group hug. It is one of my most cherished memories from that chapter of my life.
My 8th grade Spanish teacher and the freshman baseball coach were having an affair. It eventually became public knowledge and she had several breakdowns as her divorce played out over course of my 8th grade year. I had the pleasure of joining the freshman baseball team the next year and experiencing his own share of breakdowns from his own divorce.
One time in math class the emo girl was not having it. I don't even remember how it got started but she ended up bickering with the teacher and the emo girl called the teacher "thunder t*ts".
It was at this point that the emo girl was sent to the office and the teacher had to take a seat at her desk in the back for a few minutes.
If I were that teacher I absolutely would have sent her to the office (because you kind of have to to keep control) and then I'd've sat in the back for a few minutes but mostly because that's one of the funniest things to call someone and I would have been DESPERATELY trying not to laugh in front of the group of students I was in charge of.
My math professor in college was going through a divorce and they were fighting for custody of their two younger children. You can tell he was irritated because he wore his emotions on his sleeve. One day he came into class about 5 minutes late and he was physically shaking. He was violently crying and apologize to us and said the class was cancelled. He apparently lost the custody fight with his ex wife.
Two girls were chatting during math class while one did the other's hair. My math teacher couldn't take it, got a meter stick and slammed it on the one girl's desk yelling "no hairdressing!" We were all shocked. It was odd.
Joke's on him, she became a hairdresser.
My Math teacher in 8th grade was extremely pregnant and our exchange student from Brazil called her beautiful. She broke down in tears and admitted she didn't feel very pretty.