General Etiquette > general

s/o commenting on appearance- not taking a compliment well.

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I had a friend (Kim) that I couldn't give a compliment to who would never react well if anyone said anything nice to her.

Me: That's a great pair of shoes!
Her: They're really uncomfortable.

Me: I like that haircut you just got.
Her: It's called, 'I can't be bothered to blow dry.'

Me: Nice shirt!
Her: I feel fat in it.

It was exhausting and awkward because her sister (Jill) and I, who were also close friends, would gush at one another all the time.  We referred to our friendship as the Mutual Appreciation Society.  It would have been really strange for Jill and I to ignore the awesomeness that was Kim, but she just wouldn't take a compliment.  She was free and easy with her praise of others (and also criticism, but that's a different tale), so it really just boiled down to a self-esteem issue. 

She stopped doing it for the most part when one day I said, "I love your bag," and she responded, "It makes me feel like a hobo."  I sighed deeply and heavily and said, "The correct response is to say 'thank you.'  It makes me feel like a jerk with bad taste when you deflect me saying something nice."

I've always felt rude for correcting another adult's behaviour.  How else do can one reasonably respond when someone just won't let you compliment them?  In this case, I could have just stopped, but again it would have felt very strange to say something nice to her sister and then nothing about Kim... like it would be confirming Kim's darker thoughts about herself (nobody likes me, I'm unattractive...)  And it was one of my favourite things about hanging out with Jill was how nice, positive and affirming being around her was.

What was her response when you told her that the correct response to a compliment was Thank You?

If she keeps on deflecting compliments,  I would probably stop complimenting her.   
When you and Jill are out together by yourselves,  feel free to gush over each other's outfits all you want.
My best friend and I do the same thing!

I've known a few people like that, and I'd just respond with a noncommittal "conversation noise", such as "Huh."  And then bean dip.  Worked well for me as I didn't have to waste my time wondering about and editing what I should or shouldn't say to them.

A recent web post about women and compliments. Warning, the video is not safe for work!!!

I would probably just stop commenting.  Imagine this -- one day she mentions, "You didn't say anything about my new haircut," and what will be your response?  "You always say something negative when I complement you, so I didn't say anything, but I it's really cute."  They miss the attention when it's gone.  I'm glad you were able to point out to your friend her responses are off-putting.  Without explaining to her that she always has a negative response to any complement, I think the best course of action would be to just not complement her.  After awhile of no complements, when one day you say, "Cool handbag!", perhaps she'll be more accepting.  :) 


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