Saturday, April 14, 2007

Back-Handed Compliments

Or maybe what I want to talk about are back-handed insults. Or is a back-handed compliment really a back-handed insult? I'm confused.

Anyway, this morning as I was drying my hair I started to chuckle, thinking about what a woman at a conference once told me: "Your hair matches your fur collar perfectly!"

I think she meant it as a compliment, but considering that I was wearing a jacket with an orangey and obviously fake fur collar, now I'm not so sure.

How many times have you received compliments that later made you go, "hmmm"?

Years ago, back when perms were popular, I got one. I had to go to church, and even had to sing with a just-permed hairdo. One of my girlfriends, undoubtedly hoping to console me, said, "Oh, yes, I remember those days. Of course, I wouldn't go out of the house with my hair looking like that."

Another time I was talking to a girlfriend who went to a different church. I had gone to her church and spoken at their first ever Mother's Day event--an event my girlfriend had missed because she was out of town.

"Well," I said, trying to be encouraging, "I think they had 200 women show up at the Mother-Daughter tea."

"Oh," she said, rolling her eyes, "you know, those core folks will come out to hear just anybody."

What was the most perplexing compliment you've ever received?



Dana said...

Oh my gosh. That does happen.

The first thing that comes to my mind is when I was shopping with a friend one time and I'd come out in these clothes that just looked horrible on me. Okay, I had gained a few pounds - maybe even 10-15 so I was really struggling with how I looked. The friend said (trying to console me), "Aw. That's what I looked like before I lost weight." Um. She was bigger than I was at the time so I don't know what that's all about!

Another time I got my hair cut short and a friend saw me and said, "Don't worry. It'll grow back." Great, because I wasn't already feeling bad about it.

I do have one particular friend who seems to just phrase things all wrong but I can't remember anything specific right now. I'll comment again if anything comes to mind. :)

Suzanne said...

Isn't it awful that we can remember the bad things people say and not the good?

We have a lady in our church who always tries to compliment us but it just comes out wrong. My husband did a wedding last summer and she said, "I just love my pastor, look at him up there, like he has no idea what he's doing"!?!

On our wedding anniversary this year she said, "Pastor, the more we know you the more we appreciate your wife"

And the topper....a few weeks ago I was seated at a table with her and some other ladies, we were have a rip-roaring good time when she turned to me and said, "You are the exact opposite of (forper pastors wife) I think I need you in smaller doses."

Angela said...

LOL! People do say the funniest things--makes me careful about what I say!

I think the thing to do is to try to look past the words to see the person's heart--that sort of takes the teeth out of those biting comments. Then we can laugh!

And yes, Suzanne--it is definitely human nature to remember the negative and not the positive. Wonder why that is?


Dana said...

I think the negative things people say about us tend to resonate with us more. When we think about ourselves what do we usually focus on - our positive elements or all the things we don't like? For me, I tend to be hyper-critical of myself and when people say something 'bad' it's almost a confirmation of the things I focus on when I take a look at myself. Of course, maybe, I'm just neurotic.

Anonymous said...

"Oh you're so lucky to be fat - fat people are always so jolly!"

Kay Day said...

Your hair is really getting long....even though you're middle aged.

Don't think that was even supposed to be a compliment.