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Is there a non-cringy way of telling someone you think they look nice on a given day?

I typically refrain from complimenting others unless I know them, or have built a relationship with them. However, there are times when I think, what is so wrong with saying to someone that you think they look nice today, or in a particular photo?

It seems like it is more socially acceptable for women to do this than men.

SteveB 7 Feb 15

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33 comments

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11

When I see something I think is great I say so. "great shirt" "That fabric is really pretty" "colors look great on you." So far it works, I do not spend time close to the person, usually just while in line at the market or some other store. I say what I say and move on, I have never noticed a problem. I might just be really dense though.

I tend to focus on the dress, shirt, color, design, etc and not the person, if they chose it you sorta sideways compliment the person. If I know some one better I might say they look nice but do not add 'today'. I think men like to hear 'Hello Handsome' from a woman friend. At least some of my guy friends do. I would not walk up to a stranger tho.

11

I don't know anyone that doesn't appreciate a nice compliment. I just wouldn't say something like, "that dress makes you look thinner", not good, LOL. Hopefully, you already know that. @Qualia example, is good.

Haha

@Steven, duhhhh! Lol

@SteveB LOL, particularly when she is NOT pregnant.

@SteveB and certainly not to a guy.

9

Just say "you look nice today". As long as you don't make a big deal out of it in front of everyone or make it sexual they shouldn't be offended. It's OK to complement people.

MsAl Level 7 Feb 16, 2018

but that begs the question about every other day. πŸ™‚

6

You look particularly radiant today would work on me. LOL
πŸ˜€

4

This is a really important question. I love to give people compliments and I do it all the time. I suppose I have an easier time since I'm a woman.

I recently started a new job and there are a bunch of weird (to me) rules. Our district manager seems obsessed with us treating every single patron the exact same way. We're not supposed to comment on what they ask for (I work at a library).

In the workplace, I make no comments about my coworkers, because I feel like it's no longer considered appropriate. I'm not sure how I feel about that. I guess I see both sides.

Wise decision.
I just had a co-worker tell me that I have a great ass.

I definitely felt odd.

@SteveB Yes. Yes, it was.

@Donotbelieve Wow! Well, that is certainly problematic. I wish people (so often men) could think just one or two steps ahead to see how that may SEEM like a compliment, but how it could also make someone feel really uncomfortable.

4

Just say what ''you'' think. Using from another's point of view is cringy.

4

"Nice" is a word I hardly use...I'd think if you sincerely told someone they looked nice you'd stand a better chance of seeming boring than creepy.

"Awesome, fantastic...lovely, beautiful"...if you know them well enough (and not just in the buybullical sense) "hot, sexy"...it's all about sincerity in my experience.

Responses will vary but delivery is the key...there are cringy ways to say "hello" if you think about it.

4

"Cringy" is not a what, generally--it's a how: words are less important than facial expression, tone, posture, gesture, etc.

Unless of course the words are "You smell different when you're sleeping" or something of that nature...

Don't sweat it. Speak from the heart, naturally, authentically, and don't over think it. Whatever feeling is behind it will come across if you don't strangle yourself. If the feeling behind it isn't creepifying, you're in the clear.

@SteveB lol

3

I'm careful about that not because of the cringe factor, but if I tell someone that she looks good today, she may infer that I am also saying that normally she doesn't.

JimG Level 8 Feb 16, 2018
3

use broad terms like great, awesome, professional.
never use beautiful, sexy, or "Hot"

@SteveB words plus delivery for example "Hot" and "Hooooot"

@evestrat I am going to have to speak with someone in H&R .....Block lol

@evestrat lol right.....SteveB and I are not offended my beautiful friend!!!

@SteveB LOL i love it !!!

@SteveB @twshield @evestrat LOL!

3

You shore look purdy

3

Oooh is this a work environment question? If it is don't listen to me haha

3

Do you also say it to guys you work with? Just curious.

@Atheistman Is that what you think? Steve is my friend. I was genuinely curious.

@SteveB I find that a bit interesting as well, and I wonder why that is? I think it may be cultural -- learned behavior. In this article the writer (a woman) states:

"Women everywhere, I urge you: Do not attempt to bond with other women via compliments on their looks. Especially not new acquaintances. And, for the sake of the order and advancement of women everywhere, especially not in business."

[wealthysinglemommy.com]

She also states that men don't do this to each other. As you've mentioned, there are exceptions. In this article it states:

"Most flirtatious compliments offered by men center around a woman's looks, says dating specialist Nick Notas. He might say how much he loves the aquamarine color of your eyes, that you have a beautiful smile or that you are very pretty. Flirtation can also come in the form of compliments about your clothing -- particularly if a man talks about how something looks good on you."

[oureverydaylife.com]

In his article "How to Compliment a Woman the Right Way", Nick Notas says: "The problem is that a ton of guys give compliments with strings attached."

I don't think that's your intent, Steve. I'm just sharing this because there does seem to be a double standard, as you pointed out. In this conversation below on Ask Men, the question is asked: "Why do men rarely, if ever, compliment each other?"

The general consensus is that men tend to focus on achievements over appearance.

[reddit.com]

I also think it depends on where (what environment) the compliment is given, and under what circumstances.

A simple compliment on appearance with no strings attached is fine, IMO, but as a woman, I'd prefer to be complimented on achievement over appearance. If I'm in a relationship or interested in someone, balance (achievement & appearance) is important.

Your thoughts?

@SteveB I have several guy friends -- platonic friendships and these friendships are close. However, with some of them, there is a bit of sexual tension, but we don't cross boundaries. There is some lighthearted flirting, and I find that to be sweet and fun. But as I mentioned, for me, there needs to be a connection -- a friendship of sorts already established.

In a business environment, if one is complimenting someone in a flirtatious way, I don't consider that professional behavior. If a guy approaches me --- someone I don't know and compliments my physical appearance. I'll be polite and say thank you, but I most likely won't encourage a conversation.

That's just my personal perspective. Everyone has their own. I appreciate your reply.

@SteveB Then I doubt you need to concern yourself regarding a non-cringy way of telling someone you think they look nice on a given day. πŸ™‚

3

That is a good question. When I am at work there are even times I think I shouldnt have said something complimentary. I limit comments to "nice color " pretty blouse or other banal comments. You might try saying" you look bovine today" and see what comes of that

LMAO! Bovine?! Ouch!

lol

@SteveB no explanation needed though it brought up some good images! I am not looking it up but I think bovine is a gender neutral term so you would politcally correct

@bingst havent seen you around in a while @bingst

2

I think it is how you say it.

If someone changes their hair, I try to mention it. Women seem paranoid about their hair. (Sorry for the generalization.)

Obviously some body parts are off limits. I think you can say nice nails, but most other things are out. Clothing compliments should be ok, as long as the compliment isn't "oooh that's a tight sweater!" Or, "I loooove that short skirt. You definitely have the legs for it!"

And don't do it daily to the same person!

OK, got it. Good luck. HR will probably not accept this note as evidence during your harassment grievance.

2

I have no pointers. I do, however, regularly give sincere compliments.
I think a little bit of kindness and positivity go a long way.

Just do it.

I'm certain some will respond awkwardly, but some will be made happier for it.

2

I like 'You scrub up well', probably explains why I'm single (well separated) lol

2

As someone with fairly low self esteem, it REALLY makes my day if someone compliments me. Regardless of if I know them or not. If it's someone you know or work with, a simple "that looks really great on you" or "you look great" is good. I was at the post office one day and a stranger told me he thought I looked really good in the dress I was wearing. I don't think I'll ever forget that! lol.

I tend to compliment people because I know it can make someone's day. Of course if I make eye contact with strangers I also smile at them. But I live in Minnesota so perhaps that wouldn't be acceptable elsewhere?

OK, I've been meaning to say, I dig those specs! Just the right amount of funky retro. Frames the sparkle in your smiling eyes very well.

@phil21 thank you! My eyes are so dry I can’t wear contacts. But thankfully I think glasses are fun.

@Marcie1974 and that’s how to compliment in non threatening way. I guess it helps that we are 1000 miles apart.

2

Simply say that. You look very nice today. I don't know anyone that would be offended by that. Don't mention weight or whether or not they look rested.

Smart

2

Just say it without being creepy. πŸ™‚ I confess: sometimes when I'm having a bad day, it lifts my spirits for a guy passing on the street or a coworker to say, "You look nice!" or "That color works for you!"

Then READ THE SIGNS. If they smile brightly and say, "Thanks!", great.

If they ignore you, barely acknowledge, don't look like they want to be bothered, GO. AWAY. πŸ™‚

2

Yes just say it

just be you

2

Depends on context. If you always get a cringe, just stop.

2

Nice outfit! (if it's new)
I like your hair (if it was changed since you last saw it)
Great shoes! Where did you get them (this only works with same sex person)?
You look great this morning.
I love that shirt color with those pants.
You're in great shape these days. Are you doing some new workout? (same gender only, to be safe)

1

Perhaps it is just me. I used to hold back and not say anything to people. I now tell people what ever I want whenever. I will explain. Two days ago I was walking into a local large store (Fred Meyer) and there were Girl Scouts there selling cookies. I asked on the way in if they were going to be there fora half-hour or so and they said they would. I found what I wanted and on the way out I stopped and talked to first the woman who was with her daughter I would think. I asked about the cookies and got the information I needed started to pick out some and for some reason I found out the woman was a nurse. Not a big deal, however I almost died last year and the doctors and especially the nurses treated me more than well. I would say that the reason the world is in such a shitty mess is because all the angels are nurses, but then That is just a comment. Anyway I bought cookies and walked out to my car. I brought back the cart to the store and put it away. Passed by the Girl Scouts again stopped and said, "Your a nurse, correct." She said "Yes." I told her about my experience and the fact that the nurses were great to me and I thanked her for being a nurse, I reached out my hand, she shook it and I said Thanks". Smiled and went on my way. I have experiences like this all the time. I once heard that it is improper to tell a woman she is pretty. This hit me as just wrong. I was going to my credit union and when there said to one of the tellers, "I have a question, you do not really know me but would you find it offensive if I were to tell you I thought you were pretty." I was talking in general and gave it no more thought that my comment would be about her. She replied that she would not and thanked me for the comment. I walked away. I am married but do not wear a wedding ring, I know I am married and I once almost tore my finger off by hooking the ring on some work. All of the instances I do not make a point of trying to make the person uneasy. I am truly complimenting them and I think they find it pleasant. There is no way I would do anything I thought was offensive to anyone who did not deserve it. I do not want to get hit and I do want people to find me a pleasant human being.

1

Dudes complimenting dudes: nice kicks. New?
You get a your hair did? Looking sharp!
Digging the shirt, dude!

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