11 Backhanded Compliments to Avoid

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Some compliments are unkind. Even with good intentions, a pat on the back might offend. Especially when the remarks are about someone else's appearance. 

Backhanded compliments—what are they?

Let's define our list before starting. Merriam-Webster defines a backhanded complement as a 

"You're gorgeous. Weight loss?

You shouldn't promote Instagram's message that losing weight is the greatest thing to do. 

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 "You look amazing for your age."

The "for your age" qualifier makes this look insincere.

"Your skin looks so much better!"

"Better" implies that "worse" existed. Sometimes honesty isn't necessary.

"You've got a great smile—use it!"

Instead of telling someone not to be sad, ask them why.

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"Real women have curves."

This statement implies that slimmer women are less womanly. No need to criticize when praising.

"You've got such an exotic look."

"Exotic" should be reserved for fish and birds, not humans. The term may be insulting when used to describe individuals.

"You have such strong features!"

Instead of employing a general descriptor—especially a negative one—compliment a remarkable trait.

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 "You look great—fit, but not too muscular."

People who don't have six-packs or bulging biceps nonetheless perform hundreds of crunches and curls daily. 

"You're so brave to wear that."

If you're complimenting a buddy, don't imply that their clothes or cosmetics is against societal standards.

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