Someone once told me that I had beautiful handwriting for a lefty. I remember being taken aback at the time, thinking that I either had nice handwriting or not. Whether I was a lefty should have nothing to do with it.

Which bring me to the issue of qualifying compliments. While we are often trying to be nice, sometimes we step in quicksand and wish we just had kept our mouth shut. Don’t stop giving compliments, just learn to give them in an appropriate manner.

Compliment with qualifier: You look great today. (Some infer that they didn’t look great yesterday or the day before that, either!)
Compliment without qualifier: You look great!

Compliment with qualifier: I like your new hair color. (Some infer that you think there was something wrong with the previous hair color.)
Compliment without qualify: Your hair really looks nice. 

Compliment with qualifier: You look great, did you lose weight? (Some would infer that you thought they were unattractively overweight.)
Compliment without qualifier: You look amazing!

Compliment with qualifier: You do a great job when you put your mind to it. (Some would infer that you think they don’t put their mind to it very often.)
Compliment without qualifier: You did a great job!

I know you are thinking that some people are very thin skinned. But when you are trying to pay someone a compliment, think a bit further about how it might be received. Keep it simple. Say what you mean (that you like the way they look) without having to add extra words to qualify why you like it. Let the compliment stand on it’s own without being watered down.

What compliments with qualifiers have you received that caused you to wonder whether it was really a compliment or not?

May you always look great!

Pat Roland, Certified Total Image Consultant