Confusing compliments – Is It A Compliment Or An Insult?

Confusing compliments – Is It A Compliment Or An Insult?

A compliment is a way to show admiration or appreciation for someone’s qualities or achievements. But sometimes compliments can be misunderstood, causing misunderstandings and upset sentiments.

Today I will share some confused compliments and discuss whether they are compliments or insults. In many scenarios where I came across such compliments or gave compliments turned out to be insulting.

I agree the intentions behind those compliments were appreciation, but how will they flow to the recipient? It should get checked to avoid any misunderstandings.

1.  “You look great for your age.”

2.  “You look so much better than you used to.”

While this may seem like a compliment, it can also be hurtful. The implication here is that someone used to look bad, which no one wants to hear. You can appreciate the good and compliment the person on their appearance.

3.  “You’re so thin! Have you lost weight?”

Although it may seem to be a compliment but is it or not?   Well, this can also be misunderstood and hurtful. It means someone must have lost weight to acquire the ideal body type to look thin. While commenting, focus on someone’s general health and well-being rather than weight.

4.  “You’re good at that for someone your age.”

This compliment is puzzling since it implies that a person’s age is a limiting factor and that they are doing above average for their age group. It could be taken as ageism and is potentially offensive. Always pay attention to the person’s abilities, talents, or accomplishments.

5.  “You’re so lucky to have such a beautiful wife/husband/partner.”

This compliment is misleading since it ignores the person’s personality, character, or other qualities in favor of suggesting that they are fortunate to have a beautiful companion. The spouse may feel insulted if it indicates, that their entire value is their outward appearance. Instead, pay attention to the aspects that make the bond between the two unique and strong.

6.  “You’re so brave for wearing that.”

This kind of compliment can be perplexing because it implies that the person’s attire is unsafe or controversial. Well, it indicates that someone needs guts to wear something that many don’t view as conventionally attractive.  It can also be offensive. Instead, emphasize the positive by complimenting someone on their attire.

7.  “You’re so articulate.”

The fact that this complement implies that someone’s ability to talk well is unexpected or exceptional might make it confusing, even though it may appear like a pleasant compliment. It indicates that someone’s color, gender, or other attributes are not typically connected with being articulate. It can also be disrespectful. Analyze the content of what someone is saying and avoid commenting on how well-spoken they are.

8.  “You’re so lucky to have a job.”

This compliment is unclear since it suggests that working is a privilege rather than a basic need. People who experienced a difficult time finding employment or who have low-paying or unsatisfactory occupations may find it offensive.  You should pay attention to the person’s achievements or commitment to their work.

9.  “You look better without makeup.”

Because it implies that a person’s natural appearance is preferable to their artificial one. Such type of compliment is perplexing. Those who enjoy wearing cosmetics or who use them as a form of self-expression may find it offensive. Always, emphasize the person’s attractiveness, confidence, or uniqueness.

     10. “You’re so talented for someone who didn’t go to college.”

Those who have never been to college or couldn’t afford it may find this offensive. It suggests that success requires a formal education and that people who never went to college are intrinsically less talented. It’s preferable to only acknowledge the person’s talents without bringing up their educational background.

Confusing compliments can be hurtful and insulting, even if they are well-intentioned. It’s crucial to be careful with the words we choose when offering compliments to prevent the spread of damaging stereotypes. Focus on the positive and tell someone how wonderful they look or how much you value their qualities rather than making remarks about someone’s race, gender, age, or body shape. We can make the environment more encouraging and inclusive for everyone if we do this.

Have you ever experienced such scenarios where you received compliments that actually hurt you or vice versa?

Share your experience in the comment below.

This blog post is part of the blog challenge ‘Blogaberry Dazzle’
hosted by Cindy D’Silva and Noor Anand Chawla
in collaboration with Zariya Healings.

Images sourced from, Unplush