National Compliment Day was Wednesday of this week. On the Good Morning Show, we started a conversation about how to give and receive compliments. This morning we want to continue that talk about a different kind of compliment. That is a backhanded compliment.
A backhanded compliment sounds flattering, but is really an insult. Here are a couple of examples, "Congrats on getting the new job. I guess no one else wanted it, huh?"
"Honey, you look fabulous. Muscles are so overrated, nothing to worry about."
Ouch! These types of compliments you can live without. How to handle? Depends if you’re invested in the person or relationship. So you can ignore it, thank them for the nice part of their compliment or address it. If you choose to address it, you can say, “I appreciate the nice words, but I’m a bit confused about that last part. Help me understand what you meant by that.” Sometimes people don’t realize that what they’re saying isn’t a compliment. Or, if it is intentional, you’re politely letting them know that you know what they’re doing.
On the flip side, you might give a compliment that doesn't land well. If you notice that someone's response is off or they don't respond at all, check out their body language for clues. You might say something like, "I'm getting a sense that I might not have been clear about what I said. Let me explain.."