The right compliment at the right time can really make your day. Maybe you’re feeling a bit down or you think your outfit is a mess because you didn’t have enough time to get ready in the morning. The point is you’re not feeling yourself, so when someone says you look great or that they like something you’re wearing, you can’t help but feel a million times better and thank that beautiful angel for being so kind. It doesn’t matter if it’s a total stranger or someone you know: nice compliments can be a great pick-me-up.
Now, there’s a fine line between a nice compliment that will make you feel great about yourself and a creepy one that will make you want to run as far away as possible from the person who said it. You could say there’s an art to figuring out the right way and time to give a compliment. But, unfortunately for women around the world, too many straight men have not mastered this art yet. As a result, a man might compliment a woman, thinking this will improve his chances with her when, actually, his overt “niceness” is only ruining them.
The following is a short set of guidelines for men who want to actually want to get somewhere with the woman they like:
1. If you don’t know her, don’t compliment her body right off the bat.
The other day, I was buying some fruit at the market, when some guy decided to tell me he thought it was great that I ate healthy because that way I would never get fat. I didn’t want to engage him in conversation, so I just smiled and nodded. But then, he doubled down by saying: “No, really, so many women out there don’t care about getting fat, and they just eat junk all the time. You have a great body. Keep eating this food, so you don’t get fat.”
This man probably thought he’d given me a great compliment, and that I should have felt special because he thought I wasn’t like all those “other women,” but the truth is I felt observed and invaded. There’s nothing inherently wrong about complimenting a woman’s physical appearance, but there are ways to do it. If you know her, but you’re not very close, you should probably compliment her on something else about herself: her sense of humor, talents, special skills, or the work she does. If you don’t know her at all, please do everyone a favor and keep your opinions about her body to yourself. Telling her she has great legs will get you nowhere.
2. Don’t just blurt it out when she’s least expecting it.
“Mmm, you smell really good.” “You have very soft hands.” Both of these compliments can actually help you flirt with someone, but you can’t just blurt them out when she’s least expecting it. Make sure you don’t sound like a serial killer, who chooses his victims based on how good they smell or how soft their skin is, by keeping your tone and body language friendly. And also, maybe follow it up with something else that can make the compliment seem even more casual. For example: “You smell really good. What perfume do you use? I’ve been looking for one for myself for months, but I can’t make up my mind about one…”
3. “You remind me of my mom.”
In this day and age, I shouldn’t even have to bring up this one, but let’s just say it one more time for those in the back: Please, do not tell us we remind you of your mother. She’s probably a great lady, but I really don’t want to imagine you being annoyed by me (or worse, attracted to me) because my actions or my appearance reminds you of her.
4. Creepy fetishizing “compliments”
This one’s a big one, so please read this carefully. If you happen to be interested in a woman who’s from a different culture, religion, or ethnicity, please don’t give her a compliment that’s half compliment and half stereotype. In other words, none of this: “You’re so pretty for a [ethnicity] girl.” “I love [ethnicity] women because they [stereotype].” Or the worst of the worst, “I’ve always wanted to date a [ethnicity] woman.” It’s completely normal and acceptable to notice the differences between you and this person who comes from a different background, but never forget that she is a person just like you, and that she deserves better than to date someone who only wants her because she’s exotic to him. Women are not trophies. I repeat: women are not trophies.
5. Be extra careful when complimenting someone online.
It’s the twenty-first century, so chances are you haven’t actually met the woman you’re trying to take on a date because you found her on a dating app. In this case, you need to be extra careful with the words, tone, and even emojis you use when talking to her. You might have a really great compliment in mind, but you ruin it because it sounded creepy or too forward in your message. Like giving compliments, texting is an art that we all have to master in order to navigate life and relationships more easily, so don’t underestimate the value of a well thought-out message. Actually, you need to take all the previous tips we’ve discussed here into consideration, while also keeping in mind all that goes into crafting the perfect text.
Now you have no excuse to sound like a creep when complimenting someone. Read and reread this list as many times as you need.