Backhanded compliments are the worst. Unfortunately, many of us are used to giving them without even realizing we do it. It’s not kind, it makes us look petty and it’s not something we should be proud of ourselves for doing. However, backhanded compliments come in so many shapes and sizes that it’s often difficult to avoid them. Here are three common backhanded compliments that turn people off, upset those you’re talking to and make you look petty and immature.
That’s So Cute
Unless you’re talking to a three-year-old, telling someone that something they do is just so cute is the ultimate backhanded compliment. No grown man or woman wants to hear, “That’s so cute,” when they tell you they’re going back to college for a masters or that they’re going to write a book. It’s a condescending phrase that makes people feel you’re speaking down to them.
I Don’t Usually Like That, But….
But is the ultimate annoyance. When someone asks you how they look or what you think of this or that or the other and you respond with, “Well, I wouldn’t go for it, but,” or “I don’t usually like stuff like that, but,” or “I’d never be comfortable enough to do that, but,” it can come off sounding rude and very much like a backhanded compliment. Of course, it’s difficult to avoid the “But” in conversations, but if you’re careful how you word it and what tone you use, it can be all right.
You’re Not at All Like I Thought You Were
Okay, again, this one can be used in an okay manner, but only if you word it correctly and say it just right. Otherwise, it’s a problematic phrase. Many people will take this the wrong way. For example, if a gorgeous woman who is always used to being considered a dumb blonde or a moron because she’s too pretty to be smart hears you say it after she carries on a highly intelligent conversation with you, it’s not going to sound very good. Additionally, saying this to a heavily tattooed woman with multiple piercings who ends up being your son’s new pediatrician might also come off as a bit rude. It seems stereotypical, and even if you don’t intend for it to be at all, some people are so used to being stereotyped a certain way that it’s a disappointment.