AIBU to collect those back-handed compliments?

(51 Posts)
oldgrandmama Sun 06-Oct-13 11:43:36

I want to make a collection of MNetters’ back-handed compliments. I’ll start off with some I’ve received:

Cheeky painter doing my kitchen: ‘Oldgrandma, you must have been quite attractive when you were much younger …’ [Bastard! It was the ‘quite’ that got me]

Yummy mummy type friend of a friend, looking at my hair: ‘I didn’t realise you could still get perms like that – very ‘retro’.’ Oldgrandmama: ‘Er, my hair’s naturally curly.’

Seven year old grandkid: ‘We’re doing the Romans at school. I told my teacher you’d be really good to come and give a talk on what it was like to live in those times.’

Disastrous blind date with repugnant bloke – after a couple of drinks, I politely asked what time his train left. Repugnant bloke, leering: ‘Aren’t we going back to your place?’
Oldgrandmama: ‘No chance.’
Repugnant bloke: ‘I don’t mind banging old women. And anyway, at your age, how many more chances do you think you’ll get?’

PeppiNephrine Sun 06-Oct-13 11:46:08

"Isn't it wonderful that you don't feel the need to put your post on the right topic, eg chat. You're a free spirit"


RoonilWazlibWuvsHermyown Sun 06-Oct-13 11:46:27

A conversation with a friend when I curled my hair

"Oh your curls look nice."
"Is it permanent?"
"Nah just temporary."


Meow75 Sun 06-Oct-13 11:47:22

Get enough of these, you could write a book, with the chapters being different categories of contributing twerps and unthinking/innocent friends/family.

Euphemia Sun 06-Oct-13 11:49:04

At school, a very pretty girl said to me "You should wear make-up. You've got a plain kind of a face, it would really work for you." hmm

oldgrandmama Sun 06-Oct-13 11:49:45

Sorry, Peppi ... I thought topic would be OK here, along with 'racist cats' etc. [creeps away to weep and beat saggy breast]

Featherbag Sun 06-Oct-13 11:49:56

Horrible bitch at work, looking me up and down - "Feather. Have you lost weight?" Me: "yes, 3 and a half stone". Bitch: "you can tell. Your tits have vanished."

Actually gave her a round of applause for that one!

Reality Sun 06-Oct-13 11:50:04

These are all from my sister, she is EPIC at them:

I wish I could be more like you, you really don't care that your house is a mess and your kids are scruffy.

That dress is beautiful, you look amazing! Wedding dresses are always SO flattering, they make anyone look gorgeous.

I wish we had a little house like yours, ours is such hard work to keep clean. Not that you bother.

motherinferior Sun 06-Oct-13 11:52:56

I think this counts as one:

Ex's sister: "Well, A (ex's ex) was really pretty, of course, but what he really needs is someone intellectual like you who's on his level."

(I was, I should stress, considerably brighter than the bloke in question. )

motherinferior Sun 06-Oct-13 11:54:11

And there's always the classic "I'd hate to ruin our friendship with sex," line.

MisguidedAngel Sun 06-Oct-13 11:58:48

My mother was an expert at the back-handed compliment, so now they just slide off my back. She specialised in the "softening starter" e.g.

You look nice today .... I don't know why you don't take the trouble more often/what a change from all that black/so you do possess a skirt ...

Oh I like that hairdo .... I hate those scrunchy things you usually wear

Well done (on getting a degree at 35) .... of course Psychology is quite an easy subject

YouTheCat Sun 06-Oct-13 12:01:05

When I was at school 'You are looking quite pretty now you've come out of your awkward stage' - from very pretty best friend. Cow.

Floopy21 Sun 06-Oct-13 12:03:41

My mother "nice top floopy, alright it would look much better with a bra"

I was wearing a bra sad

MrsBertMacklin Sun 06-Oct-13 12:03:41

Where is there a thread about a racist cat, please? I need this in my life.

Melonbreath Sun 06-Oct-13 12:06:40

Mil whilst I had dd on my lap: oh she's smiling at me. She obviously takes after her father and will be kind.

Trills Sun 06-Oct-13 12:08:34

You're so lucky to have curly hair - you don't have to bother keeping it neat.

(I kind of agree with this)

bootsycollins Sun 06-Oct-13 12:10:36

Aaaaah you gotta laugh at these dick wads who come out with this tripe grin

Jellyboobs Sun 06-Oct-13 12:20:24

mother, on coming to see me act in a play "I think you'd make a really great director"
Mother, on coming to my university graduation "You are friends with some lovely girls, it's lucky they like you"
Oh, mother again, on meeting a very pretty, feminine girl I was in a play with "You're just totally opposite to her aren't you. "

Ex bf - "It's great going out with you, I always used to go for really pretty girls so it's nice to have someone different"

runs off to cry

bootsycollins Sun 06-Oct-13 12:26:23

When you remove the sting from the "compliment" and think yeah actually I'm not going to let that have a major impact on my life I think you can really turn it round to a positive. Being on the receiving end of this cunty behaviour certainly makes you mindfull about how words can effect others and encourages you to get your brain in gear before opening your mouth.

comingalongnicely Sun 06-Oct-13 12:28:06

Chatting & laughing with young woman on the tills in B&Q thinking "I've still got it!!" when she then says "Oh, you're just like my Dad...."

Skulked off home for a cuddle, DW still takes the mick now....

I'm not sure whether I like those shoes or whether they make you look disabled (thank you, mother).

Evil girl at disco c.1983: Nice top...I liked it last week, too.

MinnieBar Sun 06-Oct-13 12:34:59

My mum: Have you done something different with your make-up Min, you look nice today.

I did actually pull her up on that one, but I'm just soooo over-sensitive…

BlueStones Sun 06-Oct-13 12:42:32

On telling a friend that I was taking the Pill: "Really? Why do YOU need it?!" To be fair, I think this was thoughtless rather than snidey. It came from a male friend who'd previously declined my clumsy advances.

BigBrassBand Sun 06-Oct-13 12:47:42

"You're very me"


BlueStones Sun 06-Oct-13 12:47:52

Ah, just realised that previous wasn't really a backhanded compliment. Someone once described my size 16 friend as "certainly a well-rounded lady! Snigger..." I told them to fuck off, naturally.

Grennie Sun 06-Oct-13 12:53:19

"I admire you for not really caring how you look"

BookFairy Sun 06-Oct-13 13:03:31

I've been a bit sensitive about putting some weight on recently.
Me: "Mum do you like my new dress?"
Mum: "Yes, give me a twirl.... You know you have put weight on your bottom."

'Ooh, you look nice today, it makes such a DIFFERENCE when you bother about your appearance!'

'Hmmm....make up would definitely help....'

'I wish I was like you! You never have to worry about random guys slavering over you...Or random stares in the street...' (She realised she'd just basically said I wasn't attractive and apologised over and over and was absolutely mortified).

MalcolmTuckersMistress Sun 06-Oct-13 13:30:41

I remember my "best friend" at school staying for a sleepover at mine once. She was shining a torch in my face and I asked her what she was doing "trying to decide if you're pretty or not...yeah you're pretty".

She moved not long afterwards. I never missed her!

FreyaFridays Sun 06-Oct-13 13:36:52

My wonderful mother (who is genuinely lovely, just a bit daft at times), on looking at photos of teenage me:

"Thank god you blossomed when you turned 18, I thought you were going to look like your dad forever!"

Cheers, ma.

oldgrandmama Sun 06-Oct-13 13:55:33

I just remembered another real snorter: Me, at fifteen, tall, gawky, acne-ridden, in a quite famous girls' choir. We were to perform at the town's municipal theatre. Blessed and beautiful Head Girl at my school singles me out for attention (first time ever) and says: 'Oh, well done, oldgrandmama, My mother is going to the concert and I told her you're in it because you've got such a beautiful voice. I said she'd be able to recognise you, as you'd be the very spotty tall skinny one in the back row.' Bitch!

oldgrandmama Sun 06-Oct-13 14:05:08

Mrs. BertM, The 'racist cat' thread is here:

SpecialAgentCuntSnake Sun 06-Oct-13 14:06:54

'You're so lucky, your boobs won't sag at all after DTs are born because they haven't gotten any bigger!'

MaddAddam Sun 06-Oct-13 14:19:35

"I think of you as like the sensible sister in Sense and Sensibility. Not the sensitive one, the other one". hmm

GruffBillyGoat Mon 07-Oct-13 02:40:21

"You're looking pretty today (sounding surprised), are you wearing makeup?"

I wasn't.

SourSweets Mon 07-Oct-13 04:20:45

"You look great, considering you've just had a baby"


"...considering your age" (I'm 26!)

Just stop at great.

SecretWitch Mon 07-Oct-13 04:34:19

Secret's it's so difficult to believe you are 48! It is true that a bit of extra weight keeps one one from looking gaunt and drawn!

Said by my lovely Auntie...every blessed time she visits...

DaleyBump Mon 07-Oct-13 04:40:55

"Not many people can pull off a gap between their teeth but on you it's... cute!" Well I like it [gap toothed smiley]

MamaPingu Mon 07-Oct-13 05:02:02

The first time I went out for one of these things up town where everyone from college went I had people coming up to me all night saying things like "I've seen you at college I love your hair!!" (I had weird hair at the time, hence the approaches)

One girl in the toilets said "I love your hair and the way you dress. Because you're not skinny are you? But it's nice to see someone bigger pulling it off"


I'm only a 12 sad
I'm kind of a big 12 though cause I'm short, I think an 8 would suit my frame confused

MamaPingu Mon 07-Oct-13 05:04:02

I should add she did genuinely mean it, she was some sort of secret fan of me shock that night was a shock really, as I hadn't realised so many people had noticed me around! That in itself should be a big compliment they bothered to say such nice things!!

Mimishimi Mon 07-Oct-13 07:55:01

My grandfather is the master of them and the sad thing is I believe he thinks he is genuinely complimenting me sad

You look nice today Mimi. Did you brush your hair?

First thing on meeting him last week in front of my aunty who was over from the other side of the country. "You look well! You've lost weight!!" Um, thanks Pa?

Told a neighbour laughingly in front of me but as though I wasn't there "well yes, Mimi used to be very good looking when she was younger". Neighbour, equally thoughtful, replied "well she has a pretty face".

NynaevesSister Mon 07-Oct-13 08:07:34

At school, I was 14. Friend, who was lovely and meant really well, told me "you know I don't care what everyone else says I think you are much prettier than your sister".

So so many levels ...

JessicaLundge Mon 07-Oct-13 08:22:11

Paul Calf : " what your daughter lacks in looks, she makes up for in stamina."

monkeymamma Mon 07-Oct-13 08:35:18

Arf arf. My ex boss once confided that he'd almost decided not to employ one of my colleagues (recruited around the same time as me) because she was 'too attractive' and he couldn't trust our (apparently lothario) male colleague around her. The same male colleague he'd sat me next to. obviously he had no such concerns about me! Actually I'm not sure which of the three if us this comment was more offensive towards really! He was a nice man though and in his defence drink had been taken when he said it. But I've imagined myself to look like Peggy from mad men ever since

freddiefrog Mon 07-Oct-13 09:08:31

"I like your hair...of course I'd much rather spend time with my kids than worry about stuff like that"

From another mum at a PTA meeting

motherinferior Mon 07-Oct-13 09:36:32

Actually my mother's frequent "have you lost weight" is in this group too. No, mother, I have not lost weight. I just don't look like the vast blimp you clearly think I am.

LaBelleMadamePingouinSansMerci Mon 07-Oct-13 09:40:23

Very pretty girl at school: You know, I'm quite envious of the way you look.
Me: Really?!
Pretty Girl: Yeah, if any guy ever likes you, you'll know it must be because of your personality.
Me: hmm

welshnat Mon 07-Oct-13 10:02:09

At Sunday Lunch with family yesterday 3 separate people did the

"Oh you look really nice today!!"

With raised eyebrows and complete shock. By the 3rd remark I did actually say

"What compared to the pile of shit I usually look like?!"

Tailtwister Mon 07-Oct-13 10:10:38

DS1 yesterday morning when I was in the bath.

"Mummy, your breasts look like chickens and you nipples look like the beaks".

There goes my body confidence!

MsVestibule Mon 07-Oct-13 10:18:30

Dad, a few days after my wedding:
"You looked very nice on your wedding day...your sister is a very good make up artist, isn't she?"


"Oh, have you lost some weight?" "Yes, I have Dad" "Thought so; you were getting quite a tummy, weren't you?"

And not a backhanded compliment, just a ridiculous thing to say to a pregnant woman. At 17 weeks, I was barely showing. He thought it would be funny to say "You're still so small - I hope the poor little thing isn't dead!" shock shock shock

SueDoku Mon 07-Oct-13 21:55:37

Went to show my MIL the outfit that I had bought for DS's wedding; she was very ill (she died the following week) but left our family a wonderful saying by looking at me and exclaiming, 'Oh, it's lovely, it's just like you - big and bold!' smile
That was 12 years ago and the DC still say the same thing whenever I show them a new outfit ---- swines..!!

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