Have you ever run into someone you haven’t seen in ages, or met up with friends for a happy hour and been greeted with a non-compliment? You know, a comment that expresses an observation or states a fact about one’s appearance but is a few words shy of being an honest to goodness compliment. Still not clear? Here are a few examples.
“Wow . . . you cut your hair.”
“Your hair is so long.”
“You changed the color of your hair.”
“You look different.”
“I could never wear an outfit like that.”
A non-compliment is never followed up with a positive phrase. It’s abrupt, the words left to dangle in the air space, leaving the person who has received the non-compliment to wonder . . . “So, does my hair look good or awful? Am I different in a good way or a bad way? Is my outfit not suited for me either?” Even the most self assured person can be knocked a little off kilter when hit with a non-compliment. The only thing the receiver can know for sure is that they have NOT received a compliment.
I don’t want to believe that these non-complimenters are mean spirited (side note: If you know the truth to be otherwise in your experience, I don’t need to tell you these people are not your friends). When I know the person to be decent, I try to give them the benefit of the doubt. I prefer to think they were surprised by an unexpected new look and spoke before thinking, blurting out the first words that came to mind. I’m sure I’ve done it. But there is an easy fix. Collect your thoughts and add the following phrase . . .
“AND you look GREAT!”
Say it with your whole heart and smile, even if it might not be the whole truth.
I suppose while I’m on the subject I should also address the use of the harsher completely unsolicited “better when/better with” non-compliment. Here are some examples.
“I liked you better with long hair.”
“I liked you better when you had a few pounds on you.”
“I like you better without your boob job.”
“I like you better with your real lashes.”
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say if someone hasn’t asked you for your honest opinion these non-compliments should NEVER be said. It NEVER feels good to be on the receiving end of these statements, EVER.
Ladies, we are our harshest critics. We can look at ourselves in a mirror and criticize every inch of what we see. We fret over and second guess every change we make to ourselves, and we curse the changes that come as a result of health issues or aging. The very last thing we need is another critic.
So, can we stop with the non-compliments? Let’s make our interactions with one another positive, a “compliments only” zone.
I’ll start. If I haven’t told you lately . . .
YOU look fabulous!