Author Topic: Paying compliments is rude?  (Read 21303 times)

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TurtleDove

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Re: Paying compliments is rude?
« Reply #105 on: May 29, 2012, 03:31:31 PM »
I still struggle to understand how a compliment on a physical attribute (like a smile, or hair, or eye color) is a bad thing, even if (especially if) intended as a way to talk to a romantic interest.  Physical attraction is a major component for many if not all people.  I don't think this means that everyone who compliments my smile, for example, thinks I will immediately play scrabble with them and I think it would be rude of me to react as though that were the case.

Tilt Fairy

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Re: Paying compliments is rude?
« Reply #106 on: May 29, 2012, 03:36:02 PM »
But then how does anyone ever end up on a date/romantic relationship? Surely one has to be complimented at some point? Otherwise we'd all be single right? At what point is it ok for a man to play a compliment?



That's a little over dramatic don't you think?  When I met my current BF I asked him out on a date after we spent the entire night talking to each other (we met at a party).  He didn't compliment me on my body until after we were initmate and after he complimented me about other things (sense of humor, cooking what have you).  That showed me although he likes my body, that's not all he's into.

I don't mean literal compliments like "your figure is so beautiful". I just think the language of love is made up of so many non-vocal non-literal compliments. They're more subtle and based on body language and interactions. I don't think a guy needs to tell a girl she is hot for her to not pick up on subtle other non-vocal or non-litreal complimentary clues to think that he feels this way. Asking a girl out on a date is a compliment in itself. I mean, just looking in the dictionary now, compliment has two meanings - the 'polite expression of praise or admiration' or 'an act or circumstance that implies praise or respect'. I think that a guy asking a girl out on a date is paying her a compliment, albeit not an express one. It is a compliment to her personality/and or looks but is not phrased in the way "you have a really nice personality" or "I think you are really beautiful". It not an alternative to a compliment as it is of course possible that someone can compliment someone without wanting to date them, but when we're talking about romantic desires... a guy saying to me "I think you're beautiful, can I take you out to dinner?" is exactly the same thing in my mind as "can I take you out to dinner?". No guy is going to pursue you romantically if they are abhorrently unattracted to or turned off by your looks.

Tilt Fairy

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Re: Paying compliments is rude?
« Reply #107 on: May 29, 2012, 04:03:14 PM »
I still struggle to understand how a compliment on a physical attribute (like a smile, or hair, or eye color) is a bad thing, even if (especially if) intended as a way to talk to a romantic interest.  Physical attraction is a major component for many if not all people.  I don't think this means that everyone who compliments my smile, for example, thinks I will immediately play scrabble with them and I think it would be rude of me to react as though that were the case.

This. Also, I really hate mentioning this on ehell because I usually get castrated, but to me, it's really nice to feel like you are attractive as a woman to a man. I like to feel this way (even though it's a rare occurrence!). Reading Reasons OP actually cheered me up and made me feel a bit reminiscent and dreamyof my single-life thats now long gone. Someone has brightened up your day and made you feel confident or more sexy whether it be that they have complimented you on your looks or personality. They have said something nice. So what if they're only interested in my body or 'getting something'?, doesn't mean I have to give it to them. I can just enjoy it as harmless one-way flirtation. Say thank you, I'm flattered, and move on with my day. The KEY is a guy to back off when he can SEE he is making a woman uncomfortable or if those romantic considerations are not reciprocated.

My point is, some people don't like to feel this way. They don't like the personal compliments for the very reason I do not mind them. Thus, this matter is a personal preference. I don't think the rude/non-rude debate ever comes into it. I don't understand how it is ever rude to compliment someones appearance. Sure that wolf whistle or wink or "nice bum" comment from the builder is immature, but people have different levels of what they don't mind or what they don't see as a big deal. Who made up the rule that its rude to compliment someones looks that you'd like to get to know better romantically? I've never heard it before. Of course all etiquette rules are developed through established societal norms instead of an explicit authoritative status but flirtation that involves compliments has never been one of these rules has it? In the same way like pleases and thank you's are polite. If it was a hard and fast rule, there wouldn't be this thread or millions of boys around the world right now telling a girl she has 'lovely eyes'. Why does the right of one girl not to feel discomfort trump the other girls right have the option to receive comfort and joy through interaction or the right of a boy to simply tell a girl he thinks she's pretty? It shouldn't. They should both be equal so shouldn't be based on a rule of any sort. People should go about their daily lives as they wish.

Something being rude and something causing you discomfort are not the same thing. It is perfectly logical for someone to feel discomfort from a perfectly polite gesture. I just don't think you can dismiss something as 'rude' because it makes you unhappy. You can call it a lot of other things, but not rude.

As I've said, one day I'll be 90 and everything will be saggy. I'll long for the days of complimentary comments then!
« Last Edit: May 29, 2012, 04:05:34 PM by Tilt Fairy »

Tilt Fairy

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Re: Paying compliments is rude?
« Reply #108 on: May 29, 2012, 04:09:41 PM »
...and on a side point WillyNilly, Dale Carnegie is a societal genius.

purplemuse

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Re: Paying compliments is rude?
« Reply #109 on: May 29, 2012, 04:16:53 PM »
Reason, that's how I use the term too.

Here's a classic Nice Guy description of it:

Love-shys are sensitive people. They can get very enamored with those they fall for, but tragically, the objects of their affection don't usually like them back. Love-shys are often treated with the phrases "oh, you're such a nice guy, but I don't see you that way," or "sorry, I have a boyfriend" or the classic "I wouldn't want to ruin our friendship." The unaware, naive guy will stay stuck to the girl as a satellite, or "friend" if you will, in the vain hope that she will change her mind. Meanwhile, the girl has several relationships with other guys, and relays her sob stories to the friendzoned guy while giving him no sex.

So, she's told him she's not interested and he doesn't quietly end the relationship or look elsewhere, but instead hangs around like a leech pretending to be just a friend. Also note the ending- like he's owed sex for being a "friend." 

http://www.love-shy.com/faq#friendzone

Have a strong stomach- the woman hate is strong with this lot.

Blech. That's exactly the type I was thinking of, too. It's incredibly frustrating and painful to want a relationship with someone who isn't interested (I know, I've been there). However, I don't think it is fair to blame someone for not wanting to be with you, let alone resenting them for it. If you're not getting what you want out of a relationship, then leave the relationship.

Agreed. To me, the whole "friend zone" thing has an inherent deceitfulness to it (I think Dark Magdelena's experience is the exception rather than the rule). The guy (or girl, but for simplicity's sake...) doesn't actually want to be friends with the girl, otherwise he'd say "we're friends" or "she's my friend" instead of "I've been friend zoned." If the guy doesn't want a non-romantic relationship with the girl, that's fine; he can walk away with no obligation to be friends with her. But I think it's really scummy to pretend to be a friend to someone.

On the flip side of that, if the guy does want to be friends, the girl shouldn't take advantage of the friendship by asking the guy to do things "above his pay grade" (an unfortunate metaphor, but there are some things you can ask an SO to do that you shouldn't ask a friend to do, IMO), but I don't know how often this actually happens, and how often it's an exaggeration made by so-called "nice guys."

Mental Magpie

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Re: Paying compliments is rude?
« Reply #110 on: May 29, 2012, 04:22:43 PM »
I still struggle to understand how a compliment on a physical attribute (like a smile, or hair, or eye color) is a bad thing, even if (especially if) intended as a way to talk to a romantic interest.  Physical attraction is a major component for many if not all people.  I don't think this means that everyone who compliments my smile, for example, thinks I will immediately play scrabble with them and I think it would be rude of me to react as though that were the case.

This. Also, I really hate mentioning this on ehell because I usually get castrated, but to me, it's really nice to feel like you are attractive as a woman to a man. I like to feel this way (even though it's a rare occurrence!). Reading Reasons OP actually cheered me up and made me feel a bit reminiscent and dreamyof my single-life thats now long gone. Someone has brightened up your day and made you feel confident or more sexy whether it be that they have complimented you on your looks or personality. They have said something nice. So what if they're only interested in my body or 'getting something'?, doesn't mean I have to give it to them. I can just enjoy it as harmless one-way flirtation. Say thank you, I'm flattered, and move on with my day. The KEY is a guy to back off when he can SEE he is making a woman uncomfortable or if those romantic considerations are not reciprocated.

My point is, some people don't like to feel this way. They don't like the personal compliments for the very reason I do not mind them. Thus, this matter is a personal preference. I don't think the rude/non-rude debate ever comes into it. I don't understand how it is ever rude to compliment someones appearance. Sure that wolf whistle or wink or "nice bum" comment from the builder is immature, but people have different levels of what they don't mind or what they don't see as a big deal. Who made up the rule that its rude to compliment someones looks that you'd like to get to know better romantically? I've never heard it before. Of course all etiquette rules are developed through established societal norms instead of an explicit authoritative status but flirtation that involves compliments has never been one of these rules has it? In the same way like pleases and thank you's are polite. If it was a hard and fast rule, there wouldn't be this thread or millions of boys around the world right now telling a girl she has 'lovely eyes'. Why does the right of one girl not to feel discomfort trump the other girls right have the option to receive comfort and joy through interaction or the right of a boy to simply tell a girl he thinks she's pretty? It shouldn't. They should both be equal so shouldn't be based on a rule of any sort. People should go about their daily lives as they wish.

Something being rude and something causing you discomfort are not the same thing. It is perfectly logical for someone to feel discomfort from a perfectly polite gesture. I just don't think you can dismiss something as 'rude' because it makes you unhappy. You can call it a lot of other things, but not rude.

As I've said, one day I'll be 90 and everything will be saggy. I'll long for the days of complimentary comments then!

I'm with you Tilt Fairy.  My self esteem in my looks is usually lacking.  You could tell me I could lose some weight, and I may believe you; you could tell me I'm not that pretty, and I may believe you; but if you told me I was stupid I would laugh in your face (all "you"s general).  My self esteem lies in my smarts, not my looks, so when someone compliments me, especially on a day when I feel great about my appearance, I am elated!  It really can make my day.  I realize that isn't the same for everyone, but like you said, just because it makes you (general) uncomfortable doesn't make it rude.
The problem with choosing the lesser of two evils is that you're still choosing evil.

Harriet

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Re: Paying compliments is rude?
« Reply #111 on: May 29, 2012, 08:10:46 PM »
The KEY is a guy to back off when he can SEE he is making a woman uncomfortable or if those romantic considerations are not reciprocated.

But how am I supposed to know what kind of guy I'm dealing with? A stranger has just made a personal remark to me and I have no context or relationship with this person to know if he's going to react "Reason"ably (as Reason described, backing off if I demonstrate that I'm uncomfortable) or NOT reasonably ("Learn to take a compliment, [b-word]," or even actual violence.) -- I've run into both kinds, unfortunately the latter much more often and sadly, much more memorably. If you are actually trying to transmit a nice feeling to me, why would you put me in that position in the first place?

Who made up the rule that its rude to compliment someones looks that you'd like to get to know better romantically? I've never heard it before.

Twik is right in that the "no personal remarks whether good OR bad" goes way back in etiquette. I'm pretty sure you can find it in Emily Post. Not that I'm advocating we revert back that far but it definitely does exist as a rule of traditional politeness. Nobody's making it up. It's even in Alice in Wonderland!:

"`Your hair wants cutting,' said the Hatter. He had been looking at Alice for some time with great curiosity, and this was his first speech.
`You should learn not to make personal remarks,' Alice said with some severity; `it's very rude.'"
http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~rgs/alice-VII.html

My guess as to the reason why is along the lines of what Venus193 said:

Because a compliment from a person who is less than a casual acquaintance presumes a relationship that does not exist.

I don't mean literal compliments like "your figure is so beautiful". I just think the language of love is made up of so many non-vocal non-literal compliments. They're more subtle and based on body language and interactions. I don't think a guy needs to tell a girl she is hot for her to not pick up on subtle other non-vocal or non-litreal complimentary clues to think that he feels this way. Asking a girl out on a date is a compliment in itself. I mean, just looking in the dictionary now, compliment has two meanings - the 'polite expression of praise or admiration' or 'an act or circumstance that implies praise or respect'. I think that a guy asking a girl out on a date is paying her a compliment, albeit not an express one. It is a compliment to her personality/and or looks but is not phrased in the way "you have a really nice personality" or "I think you are really beautiful". It not an alternative to a compliment as it is of course possible that someone can compliment someone without wanting to date them, but when we're talking about romantic desires... a guy saying to me "I think you're beautiful, can I take you out to dinner?" is exactly the same thing in my mind as "can I take you out to dinner?". No guy is going to pursue you romantically if they are abhorrently unattracted to or turned off by your looks.

I'm totally with you there. I'm talking about comments about my body or looks, e.g. my smile as in the OP. You've just described an alternative approach that sounds great to me!

TheVapors

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Re: Paying compliments is rude?
« Reply #112 on: May 30, 2012, 06:24:51 AM »
"Friend-zoned" and "Nice GuyTM" make me seething mad. So, I'm going to have to be careful with my language.

I honestly get the feeling that the above two are really full of misogyny at their very core. The whole idea that one can "get around" being in the friend zone is a real detriment to actual male-female friendships. It's sad, because it implies that any man who just wants to be a friend (truly!) is automatically trying to get in a woman's pants. AND it implies that a woman is not really worth being a true friend to, she's only there as a challenge to conquer.

Friend-zoned implies that the purpose was never to actually be a friend, but rather to be a potential suitor in the guise of a friend (wolf in sheep's clothing), and the only reason you hang around is to be the Nice GuyTM that the woman eventually turns to when she's burnt out all other angles.

A friend may have a crush on their friend. It happens. Often. However, any true friend would not let their unrequited interest stop them from just being a cool friend.

There's the difference.
Friend-zone: "I am only 'friends' with this person in the hopes that I can get with them one day. If I'm nice enough one day they will see me as their only option, and I'll get some."
Vs.
Friend-with-a-crush: "I like this person as a person. While I sometimes wish we could be more, I will stay friends with this person, because I actually like them."

"I am a Nice GuyTM, therefore it's unfathomable that any woman would not want to throw themselves at me, because I'm so nice that I practically deserve attention and affection just for being so nice!" That's not nice.

Allyson

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Re: Paying compliments is rude?
« Reply #113 on: May 30, 2012, 10:55:08 AM »
Both 'friend zone' and 'nice guy' are terms that have no *inherent* misogyny, so people can absolutely use them innocently. The problem is the connotations. It's been pretty well stated by other people here so I won't repeat it--the 'love shy' quote is a good example of what we're talking about. The view that's basically 'why would a guy be friends with a girl without wanting more?' as if women can't be awesome friends too. And, this truly odd idea that if a guy and a girl are extremely good friends and do 'friend' but not romantic activities, she is somehow using him, and he is pathetic.

But, as I've seen on this thread, there are people who can use 'friend zone' *not* in that way, so I wouldn't automatically assume that someone who used the term had that attitude. They might just have heard the term 'friend zone' and apply it to 'friend with a crush'. Because it *sounds* like that's all it is.

Lovie

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Re: Paying compliments is rude?
« Reply #114 on: May 30, 2012, 02:44:00 PM »
Since attraction is the first step towards a relationship, I'd have no problem with a potential mate complimenting my appearance. In fact, if they didn't, I would wonder if they were attracted to me at all.

Garden Goblin

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Re: Paying compliments is rude?
« Reply #115 on: May 31, 2012, 09:52:12 AM »
Since attraction is the first step towards a relationship, I'd have no problem with a potential mate complimenting my appearance. In fact, if they didn't, I would wonder if they were attracted to me at all.

Ah, but the attraction can be non-physical.  While I think my husband is the best looking man in the world, it was his big sexy brain that attracted me first.

Lovie

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Re: Paying compliments is rude?
« Reply #116 on: May 31, 2012, 10:25:04 AM »
Since attraction is the first step towards a relationship, I'd have no problem with a potential mate complimenting my appearance. In fact, if they didn't, I would wonder if they were attracted to me at all.
Ah, but the attraction can be non-physical.  While I think my husband is the best looking man in the world, it was his big sexy brain that attracted me first.

His brain is not what you are going to be making love to :-P

TurtleDove

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Re: Paying compliments is rude?
« Reply #117 on: May 31, 2012, 10:51:00 AM »
Ah, but the attraction can be non-physical. 

Sure, but physical attraction is a major component of a romantic relationship for many if not most people.  Physical attraction does not mean nothing else matters in a romantic relationship.  Sometimes I get the vibe from some comments (not this one specifically) that some posters view physical attraction as shallow somehow.  In a romantic relationship, for many people it is vital to a healthy relationship - not shallow at all.  To choose friends based on physical appearance might be shallow, but not for a romantic partner.

Garden Goblin

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Re: Paying compliments is rude?
« Reply #118 on: May 31, 2012, 02:12:32 PM »
Sometimes I get the vibe from some comments (not this one specifically) that some posters view physical attraction as shallow somehow. 

If you cannot come up with something to compliment about someone other than their looks, then yea, I feel that it is a bit shallow.  If all that attracts you is looks, then yes, I also find that to be shallow.

But I also think you are missing the point.

Physical compliments are fine, however, it is inappropriate for them the be the opening remarks.  It is better to show someone you respect them for who they are rather than just reducing them to their looks, which is what physical compliments often do (and are often intended to do by certain sections of the population).

I have actually had some relationships where I was not initially attracted to a person's physical appearance.  However, after getting to know the person, my opinion of who they were influenced my feelings about their looks and to me, at least, they became lovely.  It's worked the other way around too.  Someone I thought was initially quite physically attractive and later learned had a repulsive personality became very unattractive to me in the looks department.

Lovie

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Re: Paying compliments is rude?
« Reply #119 on: May 31, 2012, 02:24:46 PM »
I think when you are looking for a partner, attraction is important. Physical attraction, but also other things - it has to be a complete compatibility and physical compatibility is often one of the first things we establish. I don't think that saying, "Wow, you have a great smile" is any different than "Wow, you have great energy" except that it is immediately establishable. And knowing that attraction is there can definitely move things forward. When it is NOTHING but physical compliments, that's when it becomes a problem. But I don't think order is all that important.