Quietly killing us with compliments

Kind words don’t always convey the best intentions.

Jessica Wildfire
Jul 21, 2018 · 6 min read
Photo by Aron on Unsplash

The power of compliments

America doesn’t normally allow us to decline compliments. You have no choice but to accept them, from anyone. About almost anything. Your hair. Your shoes. Your skin. Your age.

What’s wrong with “you look so young!”

The same thing applies to other remarks on superficial aspects of our identity. Some of us are no strangers to the weird age compliment. They come in different forms. Recently, a friend and colleague ran into me at a conference. He said, “You look younger every time we meet up!”

Compliments convey mindsets

We don’t give a lot of thought to the meaning behind our compliments. Think about what it really means to say someone looks “so young.” Look at how we treat young people. They have curfews. They can’t vote. Or drink. Or smoke. Or rent a car. They live in a world of restrictions.

Be mindful about your compliments

Think before you compliment. Context matters. Make sure you understand why you’re praising someone. Even the best of us still judge people based on their appearance. On top of that, we treat them according to the stereotypes that tag along.

Jessica Wildfire

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