Author Topic: Paying compliments is rude?  (Read 21649 times)

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Reason

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Paying compliments is rude?
« on: May 24, 2012, 03:56:05 PM »
It came up in another thread that it's always rude to comment on a stranger's appearance. Even when saying something nice about them. I guess I don't mind opening myself to criticism, so here is the basic dating scenario that would play out many times before I was married that is. I leave it to the experience etiquette scholars to tell me if I was rude, but I have not received any complaints..

If I notice a girl that interests me, I make eye contact. If she makes eye contact as well and seems interested in talking to me I say hello. If she says hello, back I introduce myself and make small talk. If that goes well, I would pay a compliment at this point and ask if I can call sometime to set up a date. My success rate with this approach has been quite high, in so far as actually getting a real phone number so it certainly didn't seem like I was doing anything wrong.

Is the compliment in the middle of the conversation rude? Or anything else for that matter?



SleepyKitty

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Re: Paying compliments is rude?
« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2012, 04:03:39 PM »
I think, like so many things, it depends on the context. What you're describing is not rude, and I imagine the compliment is something like: "You're very interesting/beautiful/intelligent, I'd love to take you out to dinner sometime." Which, if I were single, would probably result in a yes. :)

But compliments can be rude - for example, I did have a guy attempt to pick me up by describing how sexy he found my body within the first five minutes of approaching me. That's not only rude, it's a huge red flag, and will result in an icy request to be left alone. Or compliments given in a surprised tone: "Wow, I'm shocked a girl like you is so smart!" (actual quote) results in the same coldness.

Harriet

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Re: Paying compliments is rude?
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2012, 04:10:38 PM »
The other thread related to comments from a stranger / customer, and I'd say in that kind of interaction that comments on personal appearance are almost always uncalled for.

If you're trying to pick someone up as you describe, at least your motives are transparent when making the remark. It's *less* out of place I guess, and does have the effect of weeding out people who aren't compatible with that style of approach.

Personally, I wouldn't give you my number. It would seem like a hard sell pick up line to me. I'd be much more likely to accept an invite to an activity we both were interested in, which maybe we were just discussing during the small talk.

This also assumes one gracefully takes no for an answer. Meaning letting it drop after the first "No" and not pushing back with a "Aw, come on, give me a chance" kind of thing.

dawbs

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Re: Paying compliments is rude?
« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2012, 04:13:14 PM »
I won't say they're rude (although they can be), but I will say that in the dark ages, this approach would have made me uncomfortable and felt superficial.

 You've made small talk and are clearly asking for more, the 'let me sweeten this with a compliment' (which, by the nature of the merely-small-talk to that point would, by definition have to be superficial) would feel patronizing.

WillyNilly

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Re: Paying compliments is rude?
« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2012, 04:13:41 PM »
The whole compliments thing is not a universally agreed upon rule.  I for one don't subscribe to it.  i think a genuine compliment is always a good thing.  Of course it can't be a slimy cover-up or a snide remark hidden under the pretense of a compliment, but a genuine, no-hidden-agenda, compliment is IMO always a good thing.

And I know I'm not alone since Dale Carnegie - one of the most successful advice providers in all of American culture - advocates compliments.

rashea

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Re: Paying compliments is rude?
« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2012, 04:14:28 PM »
I don't think the first comment (or only comment) you should make about/to a person should ever concern their appearance. That's my line in the sand. If I've been chatting with someone for a while, and especially if we've been flirting, then sure. But out of the blue it's creepy.
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WillyNilly

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Re: Paying compliments is rude?
« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2012, 04:21:56 PM »
I think its curious everyone assume "compliment" means "compliment on appearance".  I never would assume that to be the case.  Sure a compliment can be about appearance, but as often as not it can be about someone being really informed/educated, or funny, or interesting, or talented, or any number of other awesome things about them.

Harriet

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Re: Paying compliments is rude?
« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2012, 04:25:08 PM »
I think its curious everyone assume "compliment" means "compliment on appearance".  I never would assume that to be the case.  Sure a compliment can be about appearance, but as often as not it can be about someone being really informed/educated, or funny, or interesting, or talented, or any number of other awesome things about them.

I was taking that from Reason's post in the other thread (he used the example of "You have a nice smile"), but he does say "appearance" in this post as well, so it seems implied:

It came up in another thread that it's always rude to comment on a stranger's appearance.

TheVapors

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Re: Paying compliments is rude?
« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2012, 04:26:00 PM »
The whole compliments thing is not a universally agreed upon rule.  I for one don't subscribe to it.  i think a genuine compliment is always a good thing.  Of course it can't be a slimy cover-up or a snide remark hidden under the pretense of a compliment, but a genuine, no-hidden-agenda, compliment is IMO always a good thing.

And I know I'm not alone since Dale Carnegie - one of the most successful advice providers in all of American culture - advocates compliments.

I fall into this camp when it comes to compliments. Genuine compliments are lovely.

I've often told someone they are wearing a pretty shirt, or that I like their jewelry.

LadyL

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Re: Paying compliments is rude?
« Reply #9 on: May 24, 2012, 04:26:41 PM »
I dress like a lunatic in a way most people find endearing (40s-50s vintage, head to toe). I get a lot of unsolicited comments, 99% of which are positive. I don't find it rude. Some people are intrusive or overbearing in their delivery but mostly I accept that dressing in an attention getting style is going to get attention (whether it's desired or not).

TurtleDove

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Re: Paying compliments is rude?
« Reply #10 on: May 24, 2012, 04:27:22 PM »
I'm with WillyNilly.  I often compliment women who are strangers on fabulous shoes, outfits, _____, and I have no motive other than it made me happy to compliment them and I hoped it made them happy to be complimented (FTR, I am a woman).  I don't generally compliment men who are strangers, but I will compliment men I know, depending on context.  I am reasonably confident that my tone and delivery make it clear I am not coming on to a colleague or church member if I say "great tie!" or "I really like the new haircut!"

I don't assume everyone who compliments me is a creep or that they want to date me - I think, again, context and delivery make all the difference.  A genuine compliment is never rude, in my opinion, even if the motive is to date the person being complimented. 

WillyNilly

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Re: Paying compliments is rude?
« Reply #11 on: May 24, 2012, 04:28:49 PM »
I think its curious everyone assume "compliment" means "compliment on appearance".  I never would assume that to be the case.  Sure a compliment can be about appearance, but as often as not it can be about someone being really informed/educated, or funny, or interesting, or talented, or any number of other awesome things about them.

I was taking that from Reason's post in the other thread (he used the example of "You have a nice smile"), but he does say "appearance" in this post as well, so it seems implied:

It came up in another thread that it's always rude to comment on a stranger's appearance.

I actually have no idea what other thread that was since while its mentioned in passing its not named or linked to...

rashea

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Re: Paying compliments is rude?
« Reply #12 on: May 24, 2012, 04:32:43 PM »
I dress like a lunatic in a way most people find endearing (40s-50s vintage, head to toe). I get a lot of unsolicited comments, 99% of which are positive. I don't find it rude. Some people are intrusive or overbearing in their delivery but mostly I accept that dressing in an attention getting style is going to get attention (whether it's desired or not).

In that case I would think that part of the attraction of dressing that way is the attention, and so wouldn't hesitate to comment on it.

I think its curious everyone assume "compliment" means "compliment on appearance".  I never would assume that to be the case.  Sure a compliment can be about appearance, but as often as not it can be about someone being really informed/educated, or funny, or interesting, or talented, or any number of other awesome things about them.

Good point. I think paying a compliment about appearance shouldn't be done with strangers, but other compliments are different.

I think people are/were focusing on compliments about appearance because of the other thread and because of this line:
It came up in another thread that it's always rude to comment on a stranger's appearance. Even when saying something nice about them.
"Manners change, principles don't. It's about treating people with consideration, respect and honesty." Peter Post

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Harriet

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Re: Paying compliments is rude?
« Reply #13 on: May 24, 2012, 04:36:10 PM »

Bibliophile

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Re: Paying compliments is rude?
« Reply #14 on: May 24, 2012, 04:44:55 PM »
This is the thread:
http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=116227.0

Oh.  Big difference between harassment and compliments.  There are instances when it's ok to flirt - compliments are part of flirting, which is described in the OP.  It's certainly not ok to be flirty in business transactions - often it can come across as creepy or condescending if the man is doing the inappropriate flirting, nor should you be creepy, like the guy in the other thread.  If you get any signals that the other person is at all non-receptive then stop.

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