If there's one tool anyone can use to brighten up someone's day, it's a compliment. Compliments evoke positive feelings and interactions, they add sparks to the conversation. Even though I'm  horridly incapable of accepting them, sometimes a few nice words, when said genuinely, can truly lift our mood.

However, as flattering as they may be, we also need to be cautious in expressing them. A compliment might be delivered with good intentions, but the "kind" string of words might also include a specific remark that doesn't carry a good message. Or other times, the compliment sounds a little too backhanded, sounding more like a pat-on-the-back insult.

1. "You're brave, for a girl."
The same problem applies if you call her "smart, for a girl", or saying she "drives good, for a girl." It's 2017; girls find jobs and speak for themselves and are not always the fearful weaklings you identify us to be. Be careful in your flattery. You may not have meant to insult anyone but congratulations, you just stereotyped the entire female population.

2. "You lost weight!"
Living in a world that worships "skinny", we tend to overlook how there are some circumstances that can make a person lose weight. Sure, they might've worked for it (in which case, do commend them for their efforts!), but what if they fell ill? What if they're under a lot of stress? What if they're stuck in a horrendous eating pattern? Does "looking amazing" seem to be on their agenda?

And call me crazy, but I still think that beauty comes in different shapes and sizes. In glorifying supermodel-type bodies and praising someone for "losing weight", we're reinforcing the "thin equals pretty" idea, which can sometimes be more harmful than it is rewarding. (I'll speak more about social perceptions of body image some other day.)

3. "You look different with makeup on!"
Did you think we bought that $30 mascara and spent 20 minutes getting ready just to look the same??

4. "How on earth are you still single?"
"You're so funny, gosh, why are you single!" "You're such a great person, I always wonder why you're still single." Ah yes, it's such a surprise in this modern era to be a fully functioning person without being in a relationship! Such magic!

We take it lightly, but is it really that hard to compliment our sense of humor without reminding us yet again that we are still single? And how are we even supposed to react to your "compliment"? "You're so funny" gee thanks "why are you single" man, I don't know???? 

Point is, if you have something nice to say, say it. But if you plan on following that statement by questioning the status of our love life, do consider stopping. :)

5. "You look better without glasses on!"
I know I took them off for this party, but unless I asked for your opinion, please don't tell me I look better without the one object in this world that I wear everyday......... 

6. "You're pretty, for an Asian."
Last but definitely not least, I cannot describe enough how cringeworthy these words actually are. Despite your "nice"ness, what are you actually saying about the entire Asian race? Or are we continuing to promote that Western beauty standards are "ideal" and just handpicking from anywhere else?

This basically applies for every sentence that goes: "You're (insert positive adjective), for a (insert specific race)." It's not a pleasant gesture. Similar to #1, your honeyed words are served with a side of prejudice. Honestly, it doesn't take that much to be a decent person; just think of compliments that don't make you sound a little racist. 


I'll end by saying that by no means am I trying to shade anyone in this writing. Do take it lightly, dear friends, and besides, let's be honest, many of us have probably said at least one of these things before.  But nevertheless, let us all try to become more considerate in the ways we communicate.

Just a short, playful reading for today, 
only to entertain you guys shortly before I leave for a trip tomorrow morning.

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See you around!