To Compliment Or Not To Compliment – A List Of Compliments You Should Avoid

Compliments are really instrumental in increasing a person’s self-esteem. However, backhanded compliments are an attack or an insult to a person, and must be avoided at all costs. You may not have used a backhanded compliment with the intention of insulting the other, but to be honest, once the damage is done, no one really looks into your intentions. Here are some backhanded compliments you should avoid-


“Your hair looks amazing. Is it real?”

Never ever say this compliment to people of color. Well, you may think that there’s nothing wrong with it, but hair is a sensitive topic for them. When you use this ‘compliment’, it indirectly indicates that you don’t find their real hair beautiful, which can be insulting to the whole community. If you think that someone’s hair looks amazing, don’t go into the details. You can just say “Your hair looks amazing” or “I love your hair”.



“You have really strong features”

Well, you may not notice the insulting character of this ‘compliment’ because it’s deeply hidden. When you say that someone has strong features, you are implying that they don’t fall into the traditional standards of beauty and that they have unconventional features. You don’t really need to add the word ‘strong’ here. You can just go with “I love your eyes or nose”.



“Your skin looks so much better”

Well, yes, their skin may look a lot better after they have treated their acne or improved their diet. But, just don’t use this ‘compliment’ for it may harm their self-esteem and make them conscious of their skin. You can just say that their skin is glowing or that they have really healthy skin.



“You look exotic”

Well, you can’t really describe a person as ‘exotic’. Sure, you can describe food or animals as exotic, but why humans? You may be praising their beautiful features or skin, but well, it is straight-up insulting. Next time, just stick to “You look amazing” or “You are gorgeous”.



“You look great for your age”

You should have probably left it at “You look great”. Not all people embrace the challenges and changes of aging. Bringing in their age to compliment them doesn’t serve well to many people. Avoid this ‘conditional compliment’ altogether.



“You look great. Did you lose some weight?”

Even after losing weight, it’s hard to let go of being body-conscious. Sure, you complimented on them looking great, but you don’t need to bring their weight into it. Also, what if they didn’t lose weight? That would be awkward. Just stick to “You look fantastic. What’s up with you?”



“Real women are curvy”

Well, that’s outright body-shaming. You may compliment your curvy friends with this ‘compliment’, but what about your not-so-curvy friends? You shouldn’t really insult a body type in order to compliment another. You should just say “You look fantastic” or “Your outfit looks great on you”.



“You look great, but not really muscular”

Again, you should have stopped at “You look great”. You can’t expect everyone to be developing abs and biceps. Maybe they are trying really hard to do so, but you aren’t really appreciating their effort. You could just say “You’re looking great. What are you up to at the gym?”



“You look amazing even after having a kid”

New moms have a lot to deal with. Postpartum pain, dealing with a new baby, hormonal changes, and certainly, they shouldn’t have to deal with this insult. It may make them feel that their child has made their body fat. You should just not bring their new-born baby into it.



“You’re so brave to wear this outfit”

Well, this is an indirect ‘compliment’ on their choice of outfit. You’re telling them that you would never wear what they are wearing. You can just say “Your outfit looks amazing” or “You look gorgeous in this outfit”.



“You should smile more often”

Well, it’s like telling someone that they always look gloomy. Asking people to not be sad doesn’t really make them happier. Instead, you can offer your support and express your concern by simply asking “How are you doing?”