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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Bodies » How Do You Compliment Someone?

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Author Topic: How Do You Compliment Someone?
wobblyheadedjane
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With the body image and social situation threads that have been cropping up, I've been giving some thought as to how compliments are given in social groups, as well as short, little nicknames.

For example, I often end up greeting close friends of mine, as well as my partner with things like "Hey, hottie", or "What's up sexy?". It's somewhat tongue in cheek, but it makes me wonder why all the words we have like that refer only to looks. Miz Scarlet said in another thread that her self-image is so much more than just looks, as I'd imagine it is for many people- but how to we address that? Saying "Hey, smart girl!" or something sounds, well, facetious, or smart-alecky. So part one of this thread is to talk about alternatives to calling someone "hot" or "sexy", but rather "funny" or "smart" or "kind".

Part two deals with complimenting people in general. What do you comment on? A person's sense of style? Their spontanaeity? How they rock at math? What about compliments people have given you? What was your favourite?

So, let's start talking compliments!


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LilBlueSmurf
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Hmm ... I'm pretty bad at giving, or receiving compliments.

I feel really uncomfortable when someone says "Hey Hottie" or "What's up sexy?" to me. It makes me more aware that people are looking at me ... Someones noticed my body (doesn't matter that it's good) and that makes me really uncomfy.

That all said tho, i don't think i have a bad self-image, by any means. I'm pretty happy with myself, and i generally don't care what people (who aren't a very important part of my life) think. I'm a bit of a 'wallflower' ... I like to blend in, and don't want to be noticed. It's much more the fact of being noticed than what was actually said.

I'll often compliment people on something they're wearing, or how they've styled their hair or the colour of lip gloss they're wearing or something. I don't like getting compliments specifically about my body parts, so i don't comment on other people's bodies either.

(I come from a long line of women who don't take compliments too well. If you get enough of "Oh no i don't. You're nuts" in response to "You have nice hair/eyes/freckles/whatever", you stop saying it.)


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Heather
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It's so weird to me to think of only commenting on, or noticing or calling attention to appearance issues.

When I do that with others, more often than not I notice moods or health (or lack thereof) than anything else. And it is common among my circle of peeps to hear "Hey sexy!" with "Hey genius!" 'Course, greeting by name or by terms of affection ("love," "sweetheart," "sugar," etc.) is even more common.

I have this funny feeling that when most people drop compliments or greetings, they're trying to both pick up on what another person wants to hear AND say what THEY would want to hear said of themselves. Thining about the latter is likely the most helpful, since with what people want, it's all too easy to assume it IS appearance based since so much of general culture makes it seem like it must be, or that all we can really "see" of a person is what they look like, not who they are or how they're feeling.


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Milke
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quote:
'll often compliment people on something they're wearing, or how they've styled their hair or the colour of lip gloss they're wearing or something.

That's the thing, isn't it? If you're going to compliment someone's appearance, it's better to compliment something they've chosen, like their awesome hairstyle, or cool sweater, than something they were born with. Because that's complimenting someone's judgement, creativity, or skill with a crimping iron, not something someone might be self-conscious of, or might not like about themself.

------------------
Milke, with an L, Mrs BD to you, RATS, TMNTP, MF, CWCD, WAOTA

You who're so good with words
And at keeping things vague


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DarkChild717
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I tend to find that the compliments that really cheer me up is when I inspire someone. I am a large girl. The position I am in isn't usually held by larger girls. So the fact that I am inspiring others to follow in my footsteps is a real picker upper to me.

Or when my parter tells me that he loves me. A small, trivial thing, but for someone who never thought they could be in a happy relationship, it's a great one.

I tend to find that I compliment an achievement, or a part of someone they don't find desirable. They light up like christmas when they see someone has noticed and liked it.

*EDIT--wow. 600 posts. I am amazed...and only 4 years to do it! *

[This message has been edited by DarkChild717 (edited 07-25-2004).]


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Heather
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(...and it's been lovely having you here for all of them, DarkChild. )
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LilBlueSmurf
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quote:
Originally posted by Milke:
That's the thing, isn't it? If you're going to compliment someone's appearance, it's better to compliment something they've chosen, like their awesome hairstyle, or cool sweater, than something they were born with. Because that's complimenting someone's judgement, creativity, or skill with a crimping iron, not something someone might be self-conscious of, or might not like about themself.


Absolutely. You put it much better than i could


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Anita18
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I do notice that with my friends, we often compliment each other on our choices (clothing, etc) rather than body parts. We only get into body parts when a conversation veers that way, but I don't like to get into it, because I think that all body parts are beautiful.

I comment on a person's sense of style out of the blue sometimes, but other compliments will surface when a conversation brings up the certain quality that I find strong in a person.

I hatehatehatehateHATE it when people are very rude and outspoken in their so-called "compliments." "Hey sexy!" or anything of the sort doesn't cut it with me. I'm a very shy person, and I despise it when I'm put in the spotlight like that. (That's a paradox, actually, since I'll want attention sometimes, but when I get it, I literally get scared)

I like compliments that show that a person has been paying attention to what my personality actually is. For example, I was once part of a month-long study-abroad program, and one of my new friends said to me at the end of the program, "You're one of the most compassionate people I know." I really liked that because I don't think I showed any extremely compassionate behavior in the entire trip but he could see that anyway in my day-to-day routine.

And it doesn't hurt to tell me I'm attractive in a casual, nondirect way. I made an offhand comment about me looking scrubby on my way to work in the scene shop (was wearing painting clothes at the time) to a group of friends and a guy nearby said, "When do you ever look bad in anything?" (I must say I'm biased too - I know the gu's normally very shy and wouldn't say that to just anyone)


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summergoddess
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In response, i love sexy and sweet compliments. Aside from my fiance calling me Angel or sexy lady, i have family and friends who approach me with "hey, sweetie; hey hon, or hey babe". As for the guy friends that i have they just go by usually with "hey julie or hey jules". All of them said that they are loved by my smile .

There is the occasional compliment of new clothing, new hairstyle, new place, new pet. It's given equally to me, and given to people i love and like.

------------------
~Jules


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wahx
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Compliments are great

Recently I've been calling everyone "sugar sweet" kind of sweet like sugar. Hahah..or if I know they're on some type of diet I say "splenda sweet"

------------------


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GlassTears
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I usually compliment people on their good qualities and just things I like about them that maybe they don't like so much.
Most of the compliments have to do with my looks and I HATE that. I don't really take compliments well anyway.

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lotsofproblems
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yeah compliments are nice and i would rather be complimented about my personality then my body because sometimes being complimented on your body can be rude or mean in a way.
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~You*Know*Who~
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I like compliments on my personality or choices (clothing, hair ect). There is one guy who will walk up to me with the "Hey sexy" or "Hey trouble". Both of which I take as compliments coming from this paticular person. I let cerntain people say cerntain things to me. And some people I dont.

The way I take something really depends on the person who says it. Different people mean different things when they say something.


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Spooky4444
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In my group of friends, we always call each other "Hon," "Love," or "Lover" If anyone not in our group were to call us that, we would be insulted, because usually when someone that isn't in our group uses it, they do so in a demeaning way. We also call each other bizzare things like "Monkey" and "Biscuit" and aren't afraid to greet each other with swats on the rear, we're just a very touchy feely group of people.
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ahli
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Personally. I try to avoid generic, and commonly used compliments like "Hey Hottie". Although that said, I find myself calling my girlfriends "Baby" and "Sweetie" all the time, although it is likely that I say that because that is what I have been called myself :$

I think that the best way to compliment someone is find a time or an action that someone has done which you really appreciate, or admire and letting them know that in a sentence <B>or more</B>, heaven forbid.

For example, if you see somebody helping somebody else, take the time to go and let them know how sweet and generous it was of them it was to do that. That kind of compliment tends to be the most heart felt.

At least, that's my experience.


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wobblyheadedjane
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I thought I would find this topic and bump it, since it twigged in my mind yesterday. I was walking home from a workout with my partner and planning our menu for the week, and we were talking about friends who clearly do not eat at their best, and remain thin. I told him that thin does not necessarily mean healthy, and I would rather hear "Wow, you are looking strong/fit/healthy." than "Have you lost weight?"

Our friend who came back from grad school, who's a Type 1 diabetic, lost quite a bit of weight by exercising daily and eating healthy. Yes, he's quite a bit skinnnier than he used to be, but I was also struck by how healthy he looked and pleased that losing weight meant complications from diabetes would be lessened. Yet I, and most other people, greet him with "Wow, where did the rest of you go?" etc. I asked, and my friend said it didn't bother him that people were constantly commenting on his weight, because they were probably shocked but it might get old soon which I can sympathize with.

Like my previous feelings, I'm much more inclined to comment on something that someone has achieved or chosen rather than something someone is, such as telling my friend that he must have worked like a fiend to acheive his goals *and* complete grad school at the same time, and I asked him to be my gym buddy to help me stay fit as well. As I said above, I would rather someone tell me I did well in a workout, or even constructive criticism on what I could do better than to hear I lost weight.

So, when it comes to physical health (exercise, food, weight, etc.), how would you like be complimented or encouraged? How would you in turn encourage, or compliment someone?

--------------------
Unlucky at cards; lucky at love.

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Kaybie87
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Something always struck me as off when a person said to me "wow, you've lost weight!" The implication is that you were overweight before. I'm not in any way overweight and would love to hear, "Wow, you look so healthy!"

Having said that an interesting and possibily unrelated thing is that in many traditional African cultures it used to be a compliment to tell someone "You look fatter," or "You've gained weight". Being big was a marker of status. Even today people tell one another "You've gained weight" and do not expect you to get offended. I've been told that several times myself and just had to get over it. So I think it is partly our own negative associations with certain words and phrases.

--------------------
"too often, I have been the Lover
cursed to Love the F*****
and f*** the lover over " Raquel Ramirez, The women I have been

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feefiefofemme
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I've always been pretty awful about recieving compliments, because up until recently I didn't get many, at least not from my peers. I used to be very reclusive, and a lot of the people in my class didn't really talk to me. Adults would comment on my "maturity" (and they still do), but it's not the same as getting complimented by a classmate. More recently, however, I've become more comfortable with who I am as a person, and so I've become more social (though not drastically). I think, because I'm talking to, smiling at, and complimenting other people more, I recieve more compliments myself. What goes around comes around, eh?

I think I'm generally better at recieving compliments regarding my physical attributes, because I don't get embarrased by them. When I get sincere compliments on my singing voice, something I've written or drawn, or a show I've performed, I'm so incredibly flattered that I tend to blush and stammer a lot. Physical compliments flatter me too, but they don't make me glow. When I get a compliment on something I've done, it really makes my day.

In regards to giving compliments, I've always thought I'm pretty good at it. Though I don't compliment other people nearly as much as I should, when I do I put a lot of thought into it. I generally don't do a lot of little things to flatter people, but when I feel people deserve compliments I try to give meaningful ones.

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kick_artist
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My boyfriend has taken to, in the past few weeks, greeting me with a "hey, cutie." I roll my eyes at him, but he's adorable, and I kinda like it. [Smile] I do remember that the first time he called me "beautiful" I didn't know how to react... I was like, yes, but what else? I do think I'm attractive, but I value other qualities more highly.

I think we tend to comment on people's appearances because they're (a) the first thing we notice (you can observe someone's exterior in a moment, it takes a bit longer to get to know their "interior" traits) and (b) it's more casual. In casual conversation, I might tell someone I like their dress/hair/makeup/shoes/whatever (though I don't think I would actually comment on particular body parts, with the exception of a "You're so beautiful!" that I've offered to some female friends).

However, when I'm sincerely complimenting someone--less commenting on MY reaction and more on who THEY are--I rarely go for appearances. "Smart" "amazing" "brilliant" "talented" "nice" "sweet" are all adjectives that come to mind.

The best compliment I've ever received, for the record, was definitely from my best friend, who told me that being around me made her feel like she should go out and do amazing creative things. Being an inspiration to other people is probably my most treasured trait--though I don't know that it's consistent--so it was wonderful to know that I have that impact on her, and that she'd noticed!

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notsousual13
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i almost find it shallow to compliment people on things like clothes, hair, etc. if someone compliments me on something specific like that i am just more conscious of the fact that i prob look like **** every other day. it's a girl thing to compliment like that.

the thing that makes me feel really special is when a guy tells me that i'm amazing or that i make him feel happy. to me, that's the ultimate compliment. its different from just "oh, you look good." it's how you make someone feel that counts.

that is the purpose of my compliments anyway. to make someone feel appreciated.

maybe i'm ranting too much.

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Beppie
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Notsousual, we encouarge people here not to make generalisations based on gender. In my experience, some of my shallowest compliments have not been determined by gender (I once had a guy email me a number of times to tell me I was beautiful and therefore he wanted to be friends. All I could think of was what a boring friendship that would make, if all he was interested in talking about was my physical appearance). As a female, I feel a bit upset at being told that shallowness is a "girl thing."

I also don't think that compliments from males are more valuable than compliments from females. Why should a man's opinion hold more weight?

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oOo Lea oOo
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Interesting topic.

quote:
Originally posted by LilBlueSmurf:

I feel really uncomfortable when someone says "Hey Hottie" or "What's up sexy?" to me. It makes me more aware that people are looking at me ... Someones noticed my body (doesn't matter that it's good) and that makes me really uncomfy

I, too, feel a little uncomfortable when someone refers to me as "hottie" or "sexy" or anything similar. I feel like people are noticing parts of my body rather than my personality. I'd much rather be greeted by something more realistic and unique, something that makes me feel pride in being me.

I usually greet someone by "sweetie" or "hun", or in my boyfriend's case "babe".

I tell my boyfriend that he amazes me, and that he is important, and I refer to him as 'sexy' sometimes, but I wouldn't do it to any of my friends or any other person in general.

Sometimes I use 'cute' in a compliment such as saying, 'you are so cute'. I don't mean to place that on image, but actions.

I don't see a problem in calling someone "smarty" or anything like that. For one of my cousins, who is VERY interested in absolutely everything in this world, I greet her by "hey there, curious"

It means much more to the person you are complimenting to find something unique to say to them.

--------------------
And I say thank you for the scars
And the guilt and the pain
Every tear I've never cried
Has sealed your fate.
Did you take me for a fool
or were you just too blind to see
that every effort made has failed
and there is no destroying me?
Atreyu

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