A Back-handed compliment is one of my least favourite things that people do. Saying “You look really nice” is a great thing to say to someone. “You actually look nice today” is a huge jerk move. Don’t do that. You are just a bitter human being if you need to tear someone down and make them thank you while doing it. You are so not a decent person if you do it intentionally, and if it is accidental, please correct yourself. But please, don’t be that person. I am all about loving yourself and others. The world would be a much better place if we felt comfortable openly sharing our positive feelings.
In high school, it was very common for the “popular” students to speak in back-handed compliments. Upon noticing this trend I spoke to my friends informing them of this behaviour. Some were shocked that they participated in sly wordplay. Others were well aware of it but didn’t realize the impact that it could have. This is me asking for those too afraid to. I know it is a common phrase “think before you speak” but I don’t think individuals put much thought before what they believe is a nice thing to say.
Here are ways to compliment someone better:
Tip #1 Don’t Specifically Exclude. If you are telling someone you like their outfit, don’t say “today” it makes it seem more like you dislike their outfit every other day. That turns it into an insult.
Tip #2 Smile. If you aren’t seemingly genuine it could seem like more of a sarcastic statement than a compliment. This creates the opposite emotion you are trying to create.
Tip #3 Compliments Aren’t Currency. There is not a limited number of compliments you can give. If you like something, tell someone. And do not be shy about it. If you see a painting someone painted tell everyone you loved it, appreciation is always welcome.