'tis the Bearded One

Compliments....

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One of Stacie’s threads (here) got me thinking back to some stuff I read in regards to paying women compliments and the problem of ignorantly giving a backhanded compliment. I’ve collected some of them below [and their apparent translations] and would like to hear your thoughts on them.

 

Are they victims of internet hype?

Only relevant for the overly self-conscious?

Which would you find offensive?

Any other bad compliments that you know of or have received?

Any advice on giving compliments?

 

1.      “You’re so photogenicâ€: You look better in pictures than in person.

2.      “You clean up nicelyâ€: Normally you look pretty bad.

3.      “You look so youngâ€: People/I see you as a child/not mature.

4.      “You have a great personalityâ€: What’s wrong with my body?

5.      “You’re shoes are really prettyâ€: What about the rest of my outfit?

6.      "You have such a pretty faceâ€: But I want to throw holy water on the rest of your hideous body, you disgusting beautiful-headed demon-woman.

7.      "I like how you're not obsessed with how you look." Actually it takes me hours to look like I don't give a **** about how I look, but thanks.

8.      "You look so cute with straight hairâ€:  I'm glad I have to get a $70 blowout from a severe Serbian woman who rips half my hair out to be considered attractive to you.

9.      "You look so great I didn't even recognize youâ€: As opposed to the snaggle-toothed feral child I steel myself to see when we make plans to hang.

10.  “You’re not like other girlsâ€: you’re dating a guy who thinks all girls are rubbish, even if you’re apparently the exception.

11.  “You’re so innocentâ€: you don’t have anything that qualifies as experience; I think of you as my little sister.

12.  “I like a girl with meat on her bones/You look healthy/I like your curvesâ€: You'd look better if you lost a few kilos... but you'll do.

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2 and 9 are insulting, 11 is condescending, 10 is usually rooted in sexism, and the first two "compliments" of 12 are an insult to other women with different body types.

I think that women (or anyone else) should be allowed to speak up about what "compliments" they don't like without being called oversensitive or insecure.

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You look so young isn't a compliment, but it's not necessarily an insult. I don't recommend a man saying it to a woman he likes,  however, because the implication can be that he's attracted to underage women. If that sounds like a stretch, please take it from someone who is 27 and often gets mistaken for a teenager. I would be really creeped out if a man interested in me said that as a compliment.

 

Wait until a woman is in her 40s and still looks young. Then it's a huge compliment.

 

Ditto that #10 is sexist.

 

I would also advise that in general, you shouldn't compliment the physical appearance of strangers. Friends, family, significant others, even very carefully done co-workers. If you really need to compliment a stranger, focus on something that's a choice or a reflection of personality, like "That's a great top!" or "I'm really impressed with your knowledge of music," or "You were so patient in that situation."

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2 and 9 are insulting, 11 is condescending, 10 is usually rooted in sexism, and the first two "compliments" of 12 are an insult to other women with different body types.

 

Ditto that #10 is sexist.

 

Just my humble opinion from the token male so far. But are we also going to apply the same standard if #10 was directed to a man? What I mean is that I have heard similar things things said to me throughout my life, many times from girls who are members here. I've heard "Oh you're different from all the jerks out there" or "the guys on here give me hope." Now how could a man interpret this? To him, it could imply that most guys are pigs and can't be trusted. I'm not disputing that there is some truth to these things, but this kind of talk has been so accepted in society that even many guys believe it. But in this politically correct world, one cannot make any kind of criticism towards women without being labeled as a misogynist. Women are human beings just like men and we both have our share of faults. Remember, this is NOT directed at either one of you. I'm simply expressing a general observation based on my experience in life.

 

Whether or not there is truth to the idea that most guys are pigs, can we apply the same standard and say that is sexist too? It's either we condemn that kind of sentiment for all people, male and female, or we say there are certain criticisms that are a trend to either gender that are acceptable. We cannot have it both ways.

 

I would also advise that in general, you shouldn't compliment the physical appearance of strangers. Friends, family, significant others, even very carefully done co-workers. If you really need to compliment a stranger, focus on something that's a choice or a reflection of personality, like "That's a great top!" or "I'm really impressed with your knowledge of music," or "You were so patient in that situation."

 

I agree with that. I think for many women especially, they get complimented on their looks every day to the point where they get sick of hearing it. I personally wouldn't compliment a girl's looks until I've gotten to know her to the point where I feel she would be comfortable with that.

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I'm only speaking for what I, myself, think... not what I think the general public of women think... but I think it's all in what the individual woman, herself, projects onto the statement. Which, unfortunately, also depends on her mood. Maybe this could apply to men, as well. I am not sure, as I don't really know how to 'think like a man' on some subjects. Anyway, what I mean is this. Maybe they aren't feeling particularly pretty that day, and if you use #1 they might think 'How nice' and feel better... but #2 might make them feel even worse. This thought can go for many of these examples. It really just depends on the person. We are all so different. What one might take as an insult, or read more into it, another might be grateful for the compliment and leave it at that. Then, you've got the ones who are full of sarcasm. You might say #4 and get 'Oh, great, I'm hideous.' with a snicker followed by 'Just kidding. Thank you.' Mind you the 'thanks' is only because of the hurt feeling on your face and she wants you to know she truly does appreciate it. If you catch on that she is kidding, and chuckle slightly at her, she might just run into your arms laughing... surprising you with a kiss on the cheek. However, not all women are like that. So, it's best not to generalize. I don't know if women truly are more complicated, but I think it seems that way because we are the more emotional sex. If you really want to compliment someone, get to know them. Learn what makes them tick. Learn what makes them smile, cry, laugh. Learn their facial expression (or... in the case of talking over the internet, or texting... learn what their language sounds like under different circumstances, with different topics... do they use more !!!, ..., etc.). This may sound weird, but just showing an interest, and learning about someone can be a huge compliment, in and of itself, because you are taking time out of your life for them... and time is precious. Not to mention, if you get to know them your compliments will be more personal. More affectionate. More appreciated in turn.

 

Again, just MY THOUGHTS on the subject. :) Not telling anyone how they should think.

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Just my humble opinion from the token male so far. But are we also going to apply the same standard if #10 was directed to a man? What I mean is that I have heard similar things things said to me throughout my life, many times from girls who are members here. I've heard "Oh you're different from all the jerks out there" or "the guys on here give me hope." Now how could a man interpret this? To him, it could imply that most guys are pigs and can't be trusted. I'm not disputing that there is some truth to these things, but this kind of talk has been so accepted in society that even many guys believe it. But in this politically correct world, one cannot make any kind of criticism towards women without being labeled as a misogynist. Women are human beings just like men and we both have our share of faults. Remember, this is NOT directed at either one of you. I'm simply expressing a general observation based on my experience in life.

 

Whether or not there is truth to the idea that most guys are pigs, can we apply the same standard and say that is sexist too? It's either we condemn that kind of sentiment for all people, male and female, or we say there are certain criticisms that are a trend to either gender that are acceptable. We cannot have it both ways.

 

When most guys say "You're different from all the other girls.", they usually don't mean that they've had a lot of bad experiences with rude and awful women; they mean that they think that most women are vain and petty simply on the basis of their femininity. So, basically, they're looking for a girl who is "one of the guys".

 

It's kind of like a girl saying that she can't be friends with other girls because she wants her life to be ~*drama-free*~ (even though, in my experience, guys can start so much **** over basically nothing).

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#8 is actually pretty legitimate. I've heard from many curly-haired girls who *ONLY* get complimented on their hair when they've straightened it; usually something to the effect of straight hair looking so much better on them. Some even face pressure at work to keep it straightened all the time, because curly hair is 'unprofessional.' Who constantly wants to be told that their natural hair texture is ugly and unprofessional, and they must use expensive, time-consuming, and unhealthy processes in order to 'fix' what isn't broken?

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Just my humble opinion from the token male so far. But are we also going to apply the same standard if #10 was directed to a man? What I mean is that I have heard similar things things said to me throughout my life, many times from girls who are members here. I've heard "Oh you're different from all the jerks out there" or "the guys on here give me hope." Now how could a man interpret this? To him, it could imply that most guys are pigs and can't be trusted. I'm not disputing that there is some truth to these things, but this kind of talk has been so accepted in society that even many guys believe it. But in this politically correct world, one cannot make any kind of criticism towards women without being labeled as a misogynist. Women are human beings just like men and we both have our share of faults. Remember, this is NOT directed at either one of you. I'm simply expressing a general observation based on my experience in life.

 

Whether or not there is truth to the idea that most guys are pigs, can we apply the same standard and say that is sexist too? It's either we condemn that kind of sentiment for all people, male and female, or we say there are certain criticisms that are a trend to either gender that are acceptable. We cannot have it both ways.

 

Men on this website (for anyone not paying attention, this entire website is focused on the concept of saving sex for marriage, which is a statistical anomaly worldwide) have also said that the women here are "different" and "give them hope." Statements said on this website cannot be removed from the context that a bunch of minority intentional virgins are suddenly discovering that other intentional virgins exist. When (straight) men and women say on this website that the opposite sex here are "different," the context is that the people here are WTM, which is statistically different from most of the world's population. This comment has a very specific meaning.

 

Context is everything. Like Sio said, the general application of "you're not like other girls" is to 1) buy into generalized, sexist assumptions about women and 2) reject traditionally "feminine" traits.

 

Furthermore, look at the two lines you quoted. You yourself said that women will tell you "you're different from all the jerks out there" which is NOT the opposite of "you're not like other girls." Saying that you're different from jerks is not saying that all men are jerks, but saying you're different from all other girls is saying that something is wrong with all other girls.

 

Also, when you criticize half the world's population all at once by making a broad, sexist generalization about them, you ARE being a misogynist. Vince, you're an Asian man, right? Anytime you want to make a generalization about all women, ask yourself first if you'd be okay with someone making the same generalization about all Asians. If it would be racist to say about all Asians, then it's sexist to say about all women.

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Men on this website (for anyone not paying attention, this entire website is focused on the concept of saving sex for marriage, which is a statistical anomaly worldwide) have also said that the women here are "different" and "give them hope." Statements said on this website cannot be removed from the context that a bunch of minority intentional virgins are suddenly discovering that other intentional virgins exist. When (straight) men and women say on this website that the opposite sex here are "different," the context is that the people here are WTM, which is statistically different from most of the world's population. This comment has a very specific meaning.

Context is everything. Like Sio said, the general application of "you're not like other girls" is to 1) buy into generalized, sexist assumptions about women and 2) reject traditionally "feminine" traits.

Furthermore, look at the two lines you quoted. You yourself said that women will tell you "you're different from all the jerks out there" which is NOT the opposite of "you're not like other girls." Saying that you're different from jerks is not saying that all men are jerks, but saying you're different from all other girls is saying that something is wrong with all other girls.

Also, when you criticize half the world's population all at once by making a broad, sexist generalization about them, you ARE being a misogynist. Vince, you're an Asian man, right? Anytime you want to make a generalization about all women, ask yourself first if you'd be okay with someone making the same generalization about all Asians. If it would be racist to say about all Asians, then it's sexist to say about all women.

Actually that is also my personal view on the matter. Context is everything. I just wanted to make sure we're all on the same page :)

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I agree. Context is everything. The way something is said, the recipients personality and attitude at the time, the whole setting in general. I don't think it has to be so complicated. You just have to pay attention. Like I said in the only other thing I said on here, taking the time to pay attention is a huge compliment to anyone. Simply because you are taking something that is precious (time) and using it on them. Other, more personal compliments, will come from that time.

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Oh dear God don’t let it be true! Am I some undercurrent sexist?! Before reading the above comments if someone had given me the male version of #10 I would have been downright pleased probably without thinking too much about it. This would be due to my assumption of reading in a ‘most’ that is missing in the comment – I get that ‘you’re not like all other girls/guys’ would be sexist. With a ‘most’ in there I’d lean towards asking ‘in what way?’ because if the bad part about such a comment is the commenter possibly buying into generalized sexist assumptions here we can see if it’s true or not. As mentioned WTM is a statistical anomaly and as such I’d see that as being enough for a “you’re not like most other girls†or to de-gender the comment whilst retaining its accuracy “you’re not like most other peopleâ€. If the reason was “you’re kind/thoughtful†I’d be a bit worried.

 

As for rejecting ‘traditionally feminine traits’ – I think this is a bit tricky. What do you define as traditionally feminine traits? I believe feminine-masculine has been sadly warped in today’s society towards the more superficial.

 

Could #10 be saved by rephrasing to “you’re not like most girls/guys I know�

 

 the first two "compliments" of 12 are an insult to other women with different body types.

 

Wow. Really? I get that the first could be insulting due to its crude turn of phrase. I get that weight is kind of a dating suicide topic. But it would be me expressing a largely innocent preference – would me saying “I like black hair†[to someone with black hair] be insulting to people with other coloured hair? Or saying to a guy ‘hey, nice abs’ be insulting to guys who don’t? In regard to “you look healthyâ€. Now I know that with some health issues there is near nothing you can do to improve it but generally with some motivation, self-control, and perseverance you can do a lot for your health and I’m sure you’d appreciate praise for your efforts irrespective of the health or effort of other people! No?

 

I see that it can be insulting if the girl thinks that being a healthy weight means she's overweight or not the 'popular' underweight...

 

 You might say #4 and get 'Oh, great, I'm hideous.'

Lol Sure, this was said in humour but I don't like it when girls start self-depricating especially when not done in humour. There's enough negative body image messages out there without them doing it to themselves as well. What would you recommend to a guy on how to respond to self-deprication?

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I don't know how to quote on my phone lol, but:

Complimenting somebody on their hair is not an equivalent, the statements I am talking about goes beyond preference (which is why I didn't include the 3rd one, that one is more of a preference-based compliment). The "meat on your bones" thing pretty much comes from guys who look down upon skinny women, as if they're malnourished skeletons or something. Also, how can you tell if somebody is healthy based on the way they look, unless the person is totally emaciated or morbidly obese? I know that when people say "you look healthy" based on weight, theyre trying to rebel against some standard present in the media, but ironically, they're still keeping a (different) standard intact that's almost as narrow.

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Lol Sure, this was said in humour but I don't like it when girls start self-depricating especially when not done in humour. There's enough negative body image messages out there without them doing it to themselves as well. What would you recommend to a guy on how to respond to self-deprication?

As I stated, a woman who is full of sarcasm might say something like that. It's not being seriously self-deprecating. That's why I said it's best to get to know the person and make a compliment really special to that person. I mean, if I've been seeing someone for a while and he says 'You clean up nice' with a smile on his face, and I respond with 'Oh man, I must look horrendous'... having picked up already that I speak fluent sarcasm, he'll probably respond with something like a chuckle and a playful sarcastic 'Right.' and laugh with me while I walk into his arms for a hug. Because we are happy, and there would be no reason for me to think that he thinks anything other than I'm beautiful at that moment in time. I guess it just boils down to the personality of the receiver, and the circumstances of when the compliment is stated. I mean, I don't use my sarcasm a whole lot online, because it's too hard to convey, but I do tend to use it often IRL. I am not sure I'm being clear. I hope so, because I don't know how else to say what I'm trying to say. :)

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People will interpret things as they want to interpret them. If a woman can't take a sincere compliment, that's definitely about *her* self-loathing or lack of self-care/self-love... In other words, it's about her. Don't take it personally. Just move on, and watch for the women who are Good at Receiving! :wub:

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1.      “You’re so photogenicâ€: You look better in pictures than in person.

I would take that to mean you are beautiful and you photograph well, good looking people can take awful pictures y'all.

2.      “You clean up nicelyâ€: Normally you look pretty bad.

Very true, most days I'm in scrubs and a sweatshirt with a ponytail.

3.      “You look so youngâ€: People/I see you as a child/not mature.

I think its funny when people think I'm a teenager just starting high school. It happens when I have my whitecoat and stethoscope on.

4.      “You have a great personalityâ€: What’s wrong with my body?

I'd rather have a good personality anyways, and it's nice to have some aspect of yourself appreciated.

5.      “You’re shoes are really prettyâ€: What about the rest of my outfit?

People are a bit like crows that see shiny things, when they see something they like, they see it to the exclusion of other things.

6.      "You have such a pretty faceâ€: But I want to throw holy water on the rest of your hideous body, you disgusting beautiful-headed demon-woman.

Its a bit of a strangely exact compliment, but I wouldn't go to dark thoughts on this one.

7.      "I like how you're not obsessed with how you look." Actually it takes me hours to look like I don't give a **** about how I look, but thanks.

From personal experience it is awkward when somebody is always checking themselves out in the mirror and is more in love with themself than they could ever be with somebody else.

8.      "You look so cute with straight hairâ€:  I'm glad I have to get a $70 blowout from a severe Serbian woman who rips half my hair out to be considered attractive to you.

I would assume they just pointed it out because it was new/different than normal and they wanted to make me feel secure in the change.

9.      "You look so great I didn't even recognize youâ€: As opposed to the snaggle-toothed feral child I steel myself to see when we make plans to hang.

I think this is fair, a good outfit/new haircut can really change how you see someone.

10.  “You’re not like other girlsâ€: you’re dating a guy who thinks all girls are rubbish, even if you’re apparently the exception.

I would automatically assume this had nothing to do with me and everything to do with his bad past experiences

11.  “You’re so innocentâ€: you don’t have anything that qualifies as experience; I think of you as my little sister.

I have a friend that hasn't ever had anything bad happen in her life, sometimes I'm envious of that so this would, I assume, be meant in the best possible way. My other thought if someone said this would be nobody knows the troubles I've seen.

12.  “I like a girl with meat on her bones/You look healthy/I like your curvesâ€: You'd look better if you lost a few kilos... but you'll do.

If that was said in good spirit, all I can say is that is a good thing because they are probably here to stay. lol.

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First of all, compliments are good and wonderful, and I would be thankful to receive one.  Second, I just don't like repetitive compliments on my appearance.  I am not just an object or a pretty thing.  I am a whole human being and would love to be appreciated for who I am.  If a man were to shower me with compliments that only pertained to my appearance, I would find him vain and assume he judges all women on their appearance.  Eventually (with enough superficial compliments), I would feel objectified and valued just for my appearance.  When a man does this, I also think about what kind of father he will be to a daughter.  Will he tell his daughter she is beautiful but omit to remind her of her inner worth? That she is smart and capable and a super neat individual? 

 

 

If I were to be given the following compliments, these would be my thoughts:

1.      “You’re so photogenic”: You look better in pictures than in person.

Thank you!

2.      “You clean up nicely”: Normally you look pretty bad.

Hey, thanks!

3.      “You look so young”: People/I see you as a child/not mature.

Ya, lol people tell me that all the time. I can fool a lot of people! lol I didn't like it when I was 16 but it certainly works for me now that I'm 30!

4.      “You have a great personality”: What’s wrong with my body?

THANK YOU!!

5.      “You’re shoes are really pretty”: What about the rest of my outfit?

Hey, thanks!! I love shoes.

6.      "You have such a pretty face”: But I want to throw holy water on the rest of your hideous body, you disgusting beautiful-headed demon-woman.

Wow *blushing* thanks. (one of these compliments is plenty.  many times, guys keep going with them and then you get my first paragraph written above).

7.      "I like how you're not obsessed with how you look." Actually it takes me hours to look like I don't give a **** about how I look, but thanks.

Uh.... I wonder how they came up with that conclusion. Probably just not worded right or something you should keep to yourself.

8.      "You look so cute with straight hair”:  I'm glad I have to get a $70 blowout from a severe Serbian woman who rips half my hair out to be considered attractive to you.

Thanks!  (But I would really love it if he complimented me on how my hair is naturally: messy curly, perfectly imperfect.  To be liked for exactly who I am, that is impressive.  But the compliment on straight hair is still welcomed!)

9.      "You look so great I didn't even recognize you”: As opposed to the snaggle-toothed feral child I steel myself to see when we make plans to hang.

Uh... not a very tactful compliment..  "Wow. You look different.  Different in a good way." is better. Or I've told men at my high school reunion (with a smirky smile), "Wow.  You're all grown up. ;) "

10.  “You’re not like other girls”: you’re dating a guy who thinks all girls are rubbish, even if you’re apparently the exception.

No, I'm not.  I'm one of a kind.  (I'm a jokster) I would probably ask what he meant.  And how exactly I am different. (Hopefully good ways!)  I wouldn't assume he was talking about ALL women but some women that he was thinking about in that context. 

11.  “You’re so innocent”: you don’t have anything that qualifies as experience; I think of you as my little sister.

I was told this a time or two when I was in high school.  I wasn't sure what people meant by it.  "Stay sweet!" is what they wrote in my year book.   Ya, I guess I don't like this compliment. 

12.  “I like a girl with meat on her bones/You look healthy/I like your curves”: You'd look better if you lost a few kilos... but you'll do.

I agree. I think more women should embrace their curves.  Curvalicious! ;)

 

 

 

I don't know if this is possible, but ideally, I would love it if my husband would give me a compliment on my inner value and also my outer value equally 50/50.  It is important that I know he is attracted to me.  But then I could start feeling pressure to live up to the vain compliments if that's all I hear.  To hear a compliment on what I can offer (such as "I love how we can talk about microbiology together." or "I appreciate how you live by integrity." or "You were really nice to that man when you didn't have to be." or "I like working with you on this project.  You are easy-going." or "You are a lot of fun to be around."  From a woman's perspective, compliments on looks are very common and typical.  Wow me with something deeper! 

I also compliment men for what lies beneath superficial appearances.  I think this world is in desperate need of more noble-minded individuals.  When I see someone out there making a difference, I make sure to compliment them.

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I agree with Stacie. I think a 50/50 compliment ratio would be lovely. If he can show me that he has paid attention to me speak (or typed), and he has take time to really get to know ME. Yeah, that's impressive. It's always nice when someone takes time for you, but when they do it and it's out of a genuine WANT to know who you REALLY are, way down deep? That will make me feel good, coming from the right guy it will make me feel all gooey inside. :)

 

I think, that might be the problem with MOST of those compliments. It's not that they're bad, or mean, it's just that most of them are about our looks.

 

I don't know if MOST (not all) men think we WANT to hear about our looks more than we do, or if MOST (not all) of them just don't think about it. Maybe that's one reason I like talking to guys online, and have kind of a secret hope that that's how I'll meet 'the guy'. Based on what I have seen, though maybe it's because I'm only just 'pretty' and kind of plain (and not gorgeous), there are a lot of guys who will say 'I like the way you think'. Which, is ok with me, because that's probably one of the best compliments a girl can get. It's nice to be attractive physically, but if you appreciate the INNER me...you've made an impression, and it's a good one. Because, not to sound conceited, but I do believe that I am pretty beautiful on the inside.

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most of the above comploments i wouldnt mind at all esp the shoes one can be a good conversation starter but when it comes to compliments there has to be a balance .A good pal can tell me"hey your ass looks nice in that jeans and ilaugh abt it but a stranger tells me that probably assume i didnt hear.I feel sometimes people should recognize me as an individual and not me through my physical 'assets'.I mean theres more to me than what you see.

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There's also "You look like a million dollars!"
For me, the thought process that follows usually pertains to, "Gee; all green and wrinkly? Thanks."  ;)

Generally, I know how and when to take a compliment as just that - a compliment.
I, for one, can be frank; and oftentimes manage to put my foot in the ol' proverbial, purely because I'm unaware that what I consider to be straightforward enough can be so ambiguous to others.

But, I've gotta say, sometimes a sort of stunned silence can go down particularly well. You know the one: that open-mouthed kinda silence, frequently paired with a small gasp, and followed by a sheepish smile.  ^_^
...Usually gets a blush outta me, that's for sure.  :blush:

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