Specifically Complemented, Genuinely Confused

Some compliments are a dime a dozen. Some really make me stop and consider, maybe even feel things. Others are just so randomly specific that my brain doesn’t know what to do with them.

What follows is a brief exploration of my experiences with all three.

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The nicest compliment I ever got was from my most serious ex, several years after our break-up. He informed me that I was the most genuine person he had ever known. That’s a pretty kick ass compliment, if I say so myself. I will take genuine from someone who knows me any day over a stranger complimenting me on something skin-level.

That genuine compliment struck deep… it’s something I strive to keep accurate, even today.

True compliments from people who really know me, now those have weight. But we all have to start somewhere when getting to know a new person, right?

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(Warning: I don’t know how to make this next sentence not sound conceited.)

I’ve gotten used to hearing that I am pretty. As I have written about ad-nauseum regarding the highs and lows of modern online dating, be it Tinder, Match, OKCupid, or getting hit on at Ikea, a good opening line is a rare butterfly. It’s reached a point when seeing the grammatically atrocious icebreaker of “U R Beautiful” initiates my upchuck reflexes. It’s superficial. It’s meaningless. It’s a cut and paste compliment based upon seeing five photos from the carefully cultivated Facebook version of my life.

So a random man who doesn’t know me telling me I’m pretty or beautiful means nothing to me. And I don’t understand why you waste your breath. It’s kinda a non-starter.

Via: bizarrocomics.com

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I’m not sure why people think telling you that you possess a visual similarity to a famous person is a meaningful compliment. (Unless it’s just supposed to be an observation only?) And I’ve gotten them across the board over the years, ranging from Gillian Anderson to Gillian Jacobs. There has even been Emily Deschanel and Elizabeth Moss call-outs. One guy at a bar once pretended to mistake me for Claire Danes. Note: I don’t look anything like Claire Danes. It was not a successful technique for him.

All these comparisons are terribly inaccurate, first of all. Second, I’m never sure what the correct response to this is. It’s like when someone tells you that you remind them of someone they know. I always feel the need to clarify their perspective and opinion of said-pseudo-doppelganger before proceeding. I would hate to look like or remind someone of a person they loathe.

But really, I don’t want to look like someone else, even if I thought it was dead-on. I want to look like me; random, obscure, unknown little ole’ me, thankyouverymuch.

Via: giphy
Via: giphy
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And last but not least, the most recent and most specific compliment I have received happened this week and was in regards to my gait. Stay with me on this one.

My co-worker is valiantly attempting to play cupid and make a connection between myself and someone in my office building. She discovered that he does know that I exist when, though a much longer story than I want to write, the following verbiage occurred:

(Her) “She’s usually walking into the office with headphones on…”

(Him) “Oh yeah! The good-walker!”

(Her) “…….”

Yep. I’m “Good-Walker-Girl” to “Attractive-Hallway-Guy”.

With some follow-up, he clarified the delineation, saying I had a very confident stride. Alright.

I’ve decided to take this as a good thing and genuine compliment, if rather specific. I have certainly never been complimented on my stride before. I’ve never been aware that my particular gait was either memorable or appealing. But I guess I’ll take it. I don’t mind looking confident, not one bit.

And it’s a heck of a lot better than “U R Beautiful.”

Via: buzzfeed.com
Via: buzzfeed.com
– – – – – – –

So, a conclusion of sorts?

If you must be complimented by a someone who doesn’t know you, and it’s bound to occur once or twice, let the compliment be specific and with a positive root. Because at least then it is a memorable compliment. And it feels genuine.

And we know how I feel about being genuine. It is my favorite compliment.

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