Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Fine Art of Compliments

Over our several years, we’ve heard our fair share of awkward guy to girl compliments*:

“Yeah, you’ve got those child-bearing hips.”

“You’re really tall, that makes me jealous.”

“Hey girl, hey!”

With all these awkward compliments, it’s become hard for girls to distinguish sincerity from general creepiness. Due to this fact, we’ve also heard our fair share of ridiculous interpretations.

“He complimented feature X so he must not like feature Y.”

“He told me I looked pretty today, so he must really like me!”

Sometimes girls can even add a sexual interpretation that the boy never intended, or put a negative spin on neutral remarks.

After hearing some of our creepy guy stories, a male friend of ours remarked that guys are often intimidated by the way girls analyze compliments. He pointed out that what may seem creepy to a girl might by uncertainty or nervousness on the guy’s part.

We can see where the imbalance has occurred.
Girls can be very cruel to guys they don’t like, which prompts guys to be more reticent about expressing what they truly mean. And sometimes girls can just twist what guys say so that we have a good story to tell our friends.

But some guys are, in fact, creepy. And even nice guys can be unaware of the effect of an offhand remark or compliment, which prompts girls to be more guarded and suspicious of compliments in general.

Obviously not all guys have the eloquence of Mr. Darcy, and girls need to have realistic expectations for their men. Similarly, we girls say awkward things ourselves sometimes, and it’s best to be charitable and credible when interpreting the compliments we receive.

There is work to be done on both sides. Girls should, in the words of our friend, “take a step back and chill out,” while guys could often benefit from thinking twice about their intentions and wording.

Let’s give and take compliments with grace. But if he asks you to get him a matching cloak so you can make magic together*, he’s probably a creep.

*All the compliments found in this post are real-life examples from the lives of the authors and their friends.


Becca and Kelley

“Your face is good.”

1 comment:

  1. Like telling someone they are like Stalin or Bellatrix LeStrange but not come across as a compliment.