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t/j: compliments

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phmh posted 1/16/2014 19:19 PM

Started getting way too long for cmego's thread, so I thought I'd start one of its own.

On compliments, I don't expect one on the first date (though most guys do, and I always make sure to give one,) but part of the reason I broke things off with the last guy is that in over 6 weeks of dating (probably 6-8 dates) he never once complimented me.

I don't need adulation -- XWH never complimented me (just the opposite, actually) -- but now that I'm healthy, I noticed that this guy didn't at all. And I took note of all of the people who did compliment me during the last few weeks of that relationship (several in front of him!) -- strangers in the street, friends, friends of friends, coworkers, people in the elevator, the grocery store clerk, etc., etc. -- and not one from the guy who wanted to "take things to the next level" (he did ask me that -- along with some strange hand motions and grunting sounds -- I may need to write a post about this guy at some point!)

I think it's entirely reasonable to notice the lack of a compliment and put a mark on the con side of your pro/con list.

nowiknow23 posted 1/16/2014 19:24 PM

(he did ask me that -- along with some strange hand motions and grunting sounds -- I may need to write a post about this guy at some point!)
Please do, phmh.

Snapdragon posted 1/16/2014 19:39 PM

I would definitely notice if someone that was trying to date me and "take it to the next level" had absolutely NO compliments! That seems really strange. It's almost like silently negging. Or he thinks that any compliment will give you a big head or something.

I compliment people all the time. Friends, strangers, etc. "Cute shoes! Nice scarf. You handled that caller perfectly. I love the graphics in your presentation. Your kids are so well behaved. etc etc etc"

My SO compliments me all the time and I really appreciate it. His compliments are high quality, too. He appreciates my character, intellect, advice, experience. He is also very sweet about my appearance and says things like, "I like that color on you".

I've heard from people in my life that they had parents that would not compliment them because they (the parents) believed it would give them a false sense of pride or make them "full of themselves". I've also heard from women friends that dated guys that used a lack of appreciation or compliments as a way to make the woman "work harder" to get them. Fucked up games!

Yes, one can be overwhelmed by false compliments as a way to ingratiate themselves or manipulate an outcome favorable to them (like getting you to have sex w/ them too soon). That is the opposite end of the spectrum. But NO compliments for ANYTHING? Next. Seriously. Next.

ETA: Have you complimented him on anything? If so, how did he respond?

[This message edited by Snapdragon at 7:41 PM, January 16th (Thursday)]

Oh the Irony posted 1/16/2014 20:53 PM

Important to me as well.

Words of affirmation is a primary love language for me. I really enjoy compliments--especially when they are unique insights.

phmh posted 1/16/2014 21:54 PM

ETA: Have you complimented him on anything? If so, how did he respond?

Like you, Snapdragon, I compliment people all of the time! Always about real things, and I'm careful to never overdo it, but I'll tell people I love their shoes, that scarf is great, I wish I could take your shirt and make it into a pillow (OK, I leave the weird compliments for my friends...)

So, I did compliment him. As far as I can recall, he'd usually respond with "thanks" or he'd tell me where he got the item I complimented. We weren't on enough dates for me to compliment him on anything deep.

The more I think about this experience, the more it makes me laugh.

My parents never complimented me on anything physical -- my mom felt that little girls were always told they were beautiful, etc., so she instead focused on our intelligence, skills, etc.

XWH never complimented me (in fact, he'd say things like, "I think you are the ugliest person I have ever seen" and when I'd call him on it, say he was joking.) He also would never compliment me on anything I achieved (he's NPD and possibly ASPD.) In fact, he'd sabotage me. For example, I'd win a medal at a race (he wouldn't) and he'd insist on leaving before the ceremony so I couldn't be recognized.

So I guess it's kind of a big thing for me.

InnerLight posted 1/16/2014 22:17 PM

Words of Affirmation are my primary love language. I also was raised by parents who didn't give compliments. I don't think they received them either when they were kids. In those days they were so worried about raising needy people with swelled heads who wouldn't survive in a harsh world. Well I am very independent and self-sufficient. Maybe that's why! My XH didn't compliment me often and never told me I looked beautiful, and I wish I could have seen it for the HUGE RED FLAG that it was. I am a very attractive looking woman. But the lack of compliments was familiar. I did date a guy for 5 years before XH who gushed compliments, and I loved it, but he was a cheater/player. So I thought XH was at least not a player.

My SO does give me compliments regularly. Usually, 'You look beautiful!' or 'You look very beautiful!' or 'I like that color on you!'. Sometimes they are a bit more sophisticated compliments that show he has really thought about me and noticed a particular attribute. I love those.

I don't think I would have a red flag come up if someone didn't compliment me on a first date, but it would be nice to hear. I make a point to compliment others, to take the time to notice something about them that's great and let them know that I see them. It feels very connecting to me. And as someone who was raised to be invisible it feels good to say them myself.

cmego posted 1/17/2014 07:45 AM

My parents never complimented me either…and I make a point to compliment my children for both their looks and their intelligence. Not over the top, not every day…and it might be, "You look so cute in the color" or "your hair is extra curly today, you look so adorable!" or, "great job on that test, you are such a little smarty!", just little things so they know it is OK to be complimented. They both just beam when I compliment them.

In dating, I guess I like it a little. Again, when deserved. I want to know the guy is attracted to me because it IS important. Ex never complimented me past the first year of marriage. I guess about the time he realized he had made a huge mistake marrying me. He honestly compliments me more now than he ever did. He was picking up the kids and said, "You look cute today!". I just replied, "Thanks."

One of the best compliments I ever received was from a guy I didn't really like. We were discussing my haircut (pixie…or really short for those menzs out there) and he said, "Most women aren't beautiful enough to have short hair. They have to hide behind their hair. It looks great on you."

Obviously I've never forgotten it.

I think by the second date a small compliment would be well founded.

My BFF told me that her husband compliments her every single day. I have no idea what that is like.

StillLivin posted 1/17/2014 10:32 AM

Thank you for this post. I am learning my way slowly to healthy. I would never have thought about lack of compliments as a red flag too.
STBXH gave me regular compliments only when dating. He became stingy with them rather rapidly. Matter of fact, he gave PA insults for the years he was in his secret A before he left for good.
One more gem of knowledge to add to the vault in case I ever change my mind about dating and relationships.

Brandon808 posted 1/17/2014 11:39 AM

My problem isn't whether you pay your date a compliment. I mean you wanted to go out for a reason, right? It's what compliment you give.

If I compliment her looks will she think I'm trying to make a move or that I'm shallow?

If I compliment her intelligence/wit will she think I don't like the way she looks?

It's enough to make you

better4me posted 1/17/2014 13:41 PM

If I compliment her looks will she think I'm trying to make a move or that I'm shallow?
I would not think either of those things. Don't overdo, but complimenting my appearance with "You've got a great smile" is a very nice thing.

If I compliment her intelligence/wit will she think I don't like the way she looks?
I would not see a compliment of either my wit or intelligence as a means of saying one didn't like my appearance, I like those kind of compliments very much too.

I had a really good first date last Friday night. I remember all of the compliments he gave me. From my being more attractive than my OLD picture, to liking the ring I was wearing, to complimenting my blouse, to commenting on my wit. In some situations that might feel like "too much", but I liked him, we were connecting and it was all very flattering. Gosh, maybe I need to t/j this topic again myself and discuss that date??

Brandon808 posted 1/17/2014 14:27 PM

@better4me
Maybe I should t/j this one. It seems some women I've known were not good at accepting compliments and when you just start seeing someone. Maybe that is a red flag? Maybe it was their way of dampening expectations? If they were very receptive of compliments maybe they thought it would have given me the impression they were interested?

InnerLight posted 1/17/2014 23:19 PM

I admit that I had to learn to accept compliments and not brush them off. Sometime in my mid twenties I understood it was ok to recieve them.

My problem isn't whether you pay your date a compliment. I mean you wanted to go out for a reason, right? It's what compliment you give.

If I compliment her looks will she think I'm trying to make a move or that I'm shallow?

If I compliment her intelligence/wit will she think I don't like the way she looks?

It's enough to make you

A kind and considerate person would accept the compliment with grace, even if it came out a little awkward. Once I learned it was OK to accept a compliment I was able to tune into the the giver of the compliment and feel the spirit of the offering even if the words were a little funny sometimes.

It never hurts to say, You look nice, or you look beautiful, or you have pretty eyes. Unless you are faking it.

Women are in general extra cautious, they have to be. But don't take that extra caution as a rejection or critisism of you right off the bat.

Enjoy giving the compliment as a gift, and it's her business to take it with grace or not.

persevere posted 1/17/2014 23:44 PM

I appreciate compliments, especially from someone I'm dating and involved with. If no compliments occurred that would be a red flag for me.

Brandon808 posted 1/17/2014 23:49 PM

Women are in general extra cautious, they have to be. But don't take that extra caution as a rejection or critisism of you right off the bat.
I very much understand caution. It's a moot point right now since I'm not even trying to date. Kind of lacking in confidence at the moment.

Amazonia posted 1/17/2014 23:49 PM

Brandon, the only time I thought a guy was shallow for complimenting my looks was the one who complimented me on having "nice tits" (yep, direct quote).

Brandon808 posted 1/18/2014 00:37 AM

@Amazonia,

the only time I thought a guy was shallow for complimenting my looks was the one who complimented me on having "nice tits" (yep, direct quote).
Uhhhhhhh...wow!
Ok, for the record I have never "complimented" like that.

Bobbi_sue posted 1/18/2014 01:14 AM

I sure can relate to this post. I was not complimented as a child. My father was verbally abusive and constantly told us all we were fat, lazy, worthless and stupid.

My mother was nice and didn't ever say that sort of thing, but she didn't compliment either. I laugh about this now but I recall once asking her if I had a "big nose." She said, "Not exceptionally!" I mean, it is not funny in a way, but yes, at this point in my life yes it is funny.

My first H never complimented me. I tried to compliment him, having read that people will return the favor based on how you treat them. It didn't work. Sometimes I even asked why he never complimented me. He said my head would get too big.

Now my current H is the opposite. I don't know how I would ever adjust to a new relationship if something should ever happen to my H because he has definitely spoiled me for compliments. Every single day, he tells me that I am gorgeous, hot, absolutley beautiful, and so on an so on. And the way he says it and looks at me, this is not something he says with a motive to get something back. He can't seem to even stop himself from his open admiration.

Once in awhile he compliments on my brains and personality too, but when it comes to looks it is very clear that my H likes the way I look and lets me know it. I'm 54 and he's 57, and we have been together 19 years btw.

But back to the childhood thing...having never gotten compliments, and also growing up with absolutely no self-esteem, when I had kids I made up my mind that I would be different. Okay, I guess I am one that went overboard, especially with my daughters. I told them all the time they were beautiful and brilliant (and this was when I was married to my XH, before I even knew it possible a man like my current H existed).

Well, one day when I was fixing my second DD's hair getting her ready for her day in first grade, my older daughter, who was six years older, heard me telling her that she was beautiful and brilliant and she told me: "Don't tell her that!" I was a little shocked but asked why. She told me that I did the same thing with her and told her that she was the "smartest and prettiest kid in her class" but don't tell anybody that! She said she believed me, but at that young age, yes she did tell people! And I guess it didn't go over so well at school.

But guess what? My daughters are still beautiful. And smart? They were both valedictorians in a class of about 200 and both accepted to Ivy League colleges and one has her Ph.D. and the other is working on hers. And these daughters were not born with silver spoons in their mouths. Their father is a truck driver and I was a SAHM most of the years they were little, not starting college myself until after all three kids were born.

So I still wonder if my compliments helped them, or made little difference at all in the outcome. Guess we all just do what we do and hope it is right!

thyme2go posted 1/18/2014 02:14 AM

On compliments, I don't expect one on the first date (though most guys do, and I always make sure to give one,)


What? Seriously? Most guys expect compliments?

Brandon808 posted 1/18/2014 02:20 AM

On compliments, I don't expect one on the first date (though most guys do, and I always make sure to give one,)
I'm supposed expect compliments? I missed that memo.

Amazonia posted 1/18/2014 05:06 AM

I don't think she meant that most guys expect compliments, I think she meant that most guys do give them.

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