Social Question

fordest's avatar

Have you ever met somebody who was just way too complimentary?

Asked by fordest (194points) December 23rd, 2011

Fluther, for example, says so many nice things things. They have even said I am their favorite. But I find that hard to believe and I am beginning to think they say that to everybody. I think when somebody compliments somebody else too often it kinda loses some of its power. Where is the line between being nice and flattery

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29 Answers

elbanditoroso's avatar

What a wonderful question! I sure wish I had thought to ask that! You’re so smart to have come up with this query.

Yes, it happens, and yes, too much of it seems insincere. But on the other hand, it’s better than the alternative, which is silence or being ignored.

sakura's avatar

I always try to say something nice, as mum always reminds me if you can’t say anything don’t say anything at all!!

linguaphile's avatar

The question’s good—there are a lot of things that can come from asking this question.

The details, different. @fordest, the compliments under your Fluther name change every time you refresh the page—they’re part of the site and yes, everyone gets them. I love them—they’re cute and funny, and help define Fluther as the place it is.

Yes, I know people who are too complimentary, but I might be one of them. I love to recognize good in others and tell them and I am completely sincere when I give compliments— it might annoy some people, but that’s just part of who I am.

“Too complimentary” to me would be someone who frequently gave compliments they don’t really mean, just to pretend to be nice. I believe most people can see through those types of compliments and it becomes annoying.

Welcome to Fluther-

MilkyWay's avatar

I have met people like that in real life, an I do find it a bit patronising and a tad bit annoying. But on Fluther, I haven’t experienced this. People who do compliment me really mean it I think.

whitenoise's avatar

I have some friends around that are too attentive. they never forget birthdays, never forget to ask about that recent test/promotion/vacation… etc. They always have gifts for the children. Etceteras.

They are very sincere. Still… they make me feel very uncomfortable, given the contrast they provide to my own many flaws.

gailcalled's avatar

MIlo here: Fluther is observant and fair; today for example, they tell me that I look good (which I do) but that my desk is a mess (which it is.)

wundayatta's avatar

I think there are at least a couple of schools of thought about compliments. The school we see displayed at fluther is about keeping things positive and happy any light. They do not see it necessary for compliments to be sincere. Rather, it’s a kind of ethos—or a form of weather. We want the atmosphere to be complimentary and have people feel good, if they can.

The other school of thought (for purposes of this question), is that compliments are for feedback. Specifically, accurate feedback. Compliments help us understand who we are and how we are valued. This school of thought requires very accurate compliments. No exaggeration. No compliments just to make people feel good. These compliments must be completely sincere or there will be trouble.

For most of my life, I have been a person who needed the second school of compliment. I had no idea of my own value to others, and so this was the only feedback I ever got. If it was inaccurate, I was royally screwed. And of course, I was royally screwed once I realized that most people do the first kind of compliment. They want people to feel good. They don’t want to hurt their feelings. The don’t tell the truth.

For me, this was disastrous. There was no way I could ever believe anything nice anyone said about me because I couldn’t tell which school of complimenting they came from. The default seems to be the feel good school. Which meant that there was no truth to anything good anyone said about me, which meant I was worthless, which meant I might as well kill myself. I thought pretty long and hard about that.

What saved me was having a few women give me compliments in a way that made me believe they really were telling the truth. Based on those compliments, I came to believe I actually did have something going for me. I believed that when they said they liked my advice or whatever, they really, really meant it. I started to believe that maybe I wasn’t just a canker sore on the lip of humanity.

After a few years of consistent, believable positive feedback, are started to understand the other kind of compliment and I lost my anger at it. I don’t see it as lying any more. I understand the feeling behind it and I think it’s a reasonable motive.

I wish it were easier to tell the difference between the two. I’m sure there have been many times when I have discounted compliments thinking they were the first kind. l could have used the boost that comes from a sincerely meant compliment.

The thing is, if you feel good about yourself, you don’t need type b compliments. You already know it. So handing out or receiving type a compliments is fine. But if you don’t feel good, then no amount of type a compliments can help, and worse, they obscure the type b compliments that actually could make a difference. Life’s a bitch! What can I say?

erichw1504's avatar

Um, Fluther literally just told me I’m it’s favorite. We can’t both be it’s favorite. Wanna fight about it?

gailcalled's avatar


Wrong. You are its favorite. Fluther is infallible (like the Pope) and knows that it’s means it is.

john65pennington's avatar

I use to work a part-time job at a huge department store. I had a police partner that worked in uniform and I worked in plain clothes. We watched for shoplifting not only from the customers, but also with the employees. All the employees knew I worked in plain clothes and were always complimenting me on my wearing apparrel of the day. Most were just being cordial, but one or two always went overboard. It appeared they were trying to befriend me for criminal objectives.

One woman, in particular, could not compliment me enough. Was she just trying to “hit” on me? I didn’t think so, since we were both married.

One night at closing, the manager called for a surprise pocketbook check of all employees. My partner and I did the searching at the employee exit of the store. This one female emplyee. described above, noticed the pocketbook check and turned around and headed for the ladies restroom. I instructed another female employee to follow her and I followed both. The female employee was caught trying to flush two pair of bluejeans down the toilet. She was arrested.

I have found that if some people try to befriend you “too much”, as described in your question, that they are either guilty of some suspicious act in the past or one in the future.

Good question.

Merry Christmas everyone! jp

MilkyWay's avatar

Merry Christmas John :)

gailcalled's avatar

@erichw1504: Belated apologies. That was not in the Christmas spirit.I am doomed to continue to campaign for the error-free its vs. it’s. It’s my fate, apparently.

erichw1504's avatar

No, but you have nice hair.

comity's avatar

I have always surrounded myself with positive people who look for the silver lining and I myself believe in accentuating the positive. If one can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all was the old adage. Its not that I won’t stand up for something important. I have fought for my children and others to have it better in the schools and in our community, but on a personal level I can always find the silver lining in a person. I’d rather compliment, then criticize and I do it sincerely . Sometimes ones self image has been hampered by other’s criticisms, so much so, that they can’t take compliments because they don’t believe in themselves. I found that to be the case when I was younger and it took me awhile to accept a compliment graciously.

john65pennington's avatar

Comfy, you sound like my kind of person. jp

digitalimpression's avatar

I’ve always preferred brutal honesty over sycophants.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

If I’ve ever felt that way it was because I felt the person paying the compliments was insincere. Aside from that, I’m a person who loves paying genuine compliments to my friends or people I’m impressed with or admire for whatever reason. You only live once and if it’s something nice, speak up.

Anyone who doesn’t like my compliments, I’m not worried about them- they’ve never told me off.

comity's avatar

@digitalimpression I’d be brutally honest and look for the good! If there’s nothing good to compliment, I’d stay away from that kind of person. Sycophants? Don’t know anyone like that.

Male's avatar

I’ve never met anyone like that, but I can imagine that the compliments would lose value very quickly. It goes hand-in-hand with the “want what you can’t have” sort of thing.

woodcutter's avatar

It has only happened when the complimenter was expecting something from me.

gailcalled's avatar

Milo here; I get compliments all the time, but, of course, I deserve them. How can anyone run out of nice things to say about my Serene Magnificence?

DaphneT's avatar

I love hearing that I “have that certain je ne sais quoi.” I have a cousin who gushes compliments. At her age, that’s overdoing it. Gushing at 60 is completely inappropriate. Fluther could be 100 and it could still spew compliments at me, so long as it doesn’t gush!

Bellatrix's avatar

I give compliments occasionally. Say for instance a colleague arrives in a new dress or with a new hair style, I will say “your hair looks lovely”, “or that dress/colour really suits you”. I don’t say it if it isn’t true but if it is, why not tell people? It is funny how often people seem stunned that someone would compliment them. Which I think is a bit sad. Nobody wants insincere compliments but an occasional, sincerely meant compliment is a nice thing.

Fluther is telling me it was lonely without me. I think it is telling fibs. I have hardly been away for long.

blueberry_kid's avatar

On my father’s side of the family, there is a very sweet lady who was a family friend for a long time. Well, I literally hadn’t seen her since I was 5.

So, I go to visit my great-grandmother for a while, and there I see her. I say hi and we talk for a while, but she just will not stopcalling me gorgeous and pretty. The first couple times I thought it was very sweet, but it was almost every 5 minutes “Oh, you are just the cutest thing!” “Oh, I love your hair!” “Oh, you’re just gorgeous!” “Oh, you are just amazing. Isn’t she cute?!” “Boys must be all over you!”

I thought that wa reall nice of her, but come on now. Yes, you’ve said I’m pretty and I appricate it because I don’t hear it quite often, but 57 time i one conversation? Thanks but no thanks. She had to be about 35? 40? She was nuts.

Berserker's avatar

People in my life don’t compliment me, and if they do, it’s because they think I’m about to kill them. Which I usually am.

I suppose overdoing it might make it loose its luster, and make one wonder just why, exactly, they keep saying it. Maybe they want something, or are looking for something back. Perhaps they were raised that way. I denno. I just murder people, no matter what they say.

Actually, that little joke just means I can’t really know because I mostly ignore the good and the bad that is told to me, unless they’re someone I care about, or someone I call a friend. In that case, I’m the one who over compliments, but that’s because I always get afraid that they won’t believe me, or think I’m just being nice. So I try to nail it in their heads with random things I mean. I lose friends this way. XD

comity's avatar

Another thing! Who ever devised, developed, created Fluther was positive and brilliant. You get points for everything you do. Encouragement to keep going. It’s a successful entity because of its positivity and style. Love it!

fordest's avatar

@Symbeline I’m guessing you are losing friends by nailing them in the head… yes…

wundayatta's avatar

Learning to accept compliments gracefully is quite the skill, too. It is really, really hard for people who have such low opinions of themselves that they think anyone who compliments them must be buttering them up for some nefarious reason. They can’t imagine anyone would actually compliment them for anything real.

I’ve been through a few years of that recently. I hated compliments because of this conundrum they put me in. Why would a person lie to me? Why bother to compliment me when they didn’t mean it? It never crossed my mind that it was possible they could mean it.

Since @Symbeline has just recently sent me one of her official “death threats,” I am free to compliment her. By way of saying good bye, I just wanted you all to know that I think @Symbeline has one of the best senses of humor I’ve ever come across. She’s almost as weird as I am, I think. Which is a good thing, as far as I’m concerned. Show great taste.

Anyway, I’ve signed my own death warrant now. I’m going to go sit in a beautiful place and await the zombies. Good night.

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