Oh, we guys.
At some point in our lives, we become dimly aware that girls like compliments, so we try to give them. We then watch them fall completely flat.
The compliments, not the girls.
The girls are still standing, usually either glaring at us or attempting to proceed as though nothing embarrassing (to us guys) just happened.
We boys do tend to miss a key component or two of what girls like about compliments – when they do – which are:
1) They have to care what we think in the first place.
2) The words themselves need to have some grounding in reality, preferably one that’s not creepy.
The video below shows something like the reaction we dream about getting…
Both of the components above, that the girl has to care what the guy thinks, and that words should have some grounding in non-creepy reality are important. It was the first one of these that threw me for years. I would haplessly issue my random non-creepy compliments to girls I was attracted to, who would dismiss them contemptuously.
can be will be are just fricking ruthless to guys they aren’t attracted to.
However, the more common issue for women (at least these days, and particularly online) is the second one. Compliments are issued that have no grounding in reality, or come across as hopelessly creepy.
If condition 1 above is met to a strong enough degree, and the woman is really, really attracted to the guy, then item 2 can be thrown out the window. I’ve known women to swoon over outrageously fatuous compliments from guys they like, to the degree that everyone else within a city block is reaching for a vomit bag.
I had a bereaved friend who was having an affair with a married friend of her late fiancee.
[[Hey – I don’t judge.]]
She believed every ridiculous thing this man would say to her: about how she was the first person he could really talk to; about how she understood him like his wife never had; about how the stars shone brighter for him just knowing she was out there.
[[Okay, wait – I *do* judge crap like that. That was all bullshit.]]
His compliments seemed wonderful to her, until she realized he was lying through his partials and no intention of leaving his wife.
Men see women engage in this kind of insane behavior and figure there’s nothing to lose in randomly giving compliments, even tasteless ones, because if the woman likes you enough (and Lord knows why they would, but they sometimes do) anything you say is just fine.
Which is insane, of course. (I may just start putting “WIIOC” instead of “Which is insane, of course” to save time.)
Recently, I’ve seen the list below show up numerous places:
Truthfully, I didn’t find this list to be all that inspiring, so I came up with my own:
I don’t know that my list is all that great, but these were all things my wife recalls me saying to her when we were dating, and they are all still true. She is a great and loyal friend to her friends; she can find humor in situations that others would despair at; she has survived much; sees the world in a unique way; has more ideas than Edison; and has a laugh that kind of sets my heart to glowing.
And yet, had my wife not been attracted to me, these would have just sounded annoying, I’m sure.
Many married men have had this experience:
Wife: I got the nicest compliment today. The checkout girl at the grocery store said she really liked my hair. It made my whole day.
Husband: But I told you I liked it yesterday!
Wife: Yeah, well.
This would be what I call the “Existential Nihilism” part of a relationship, where all comments the man make are deemed meaningless.
In general, people never know how other people will take compliments. We’ve all had them swatted away like flies; we have had people take offense to them when none was intended; and we’ve had people touched by them far beyond our relatively slight intentions. There is just no telling.
Like a helium balloon, once you let go of a compliment, it’s liable to go anywhere.