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How do you respond to backhanded compliments?

You know, the insult wrapped in a compliment. i.e. You're pretty, for a black girl. Or you have a nice face, if only you were thinner. (Both of those comments were spoken to me at least once.) It happens to all of us. So what's your reaction? Most of the time I shake it off really fast. If it was intentional, they are childish, so it's not worth tripping over it. But if it was an accident, well we are all human, let it go. IMO. I just got mildly insulted about 45 seconds ago via text. No biggie. I just rolled my eyes and dropped. I smiled, and it hit me...this would be an interesting discussion.

Answer Question

Asked by Anonymous at 5:51 PM on Jun. 14, 2010 in Just for Fun

Answers (11)
  • I usally wont say anything much out loud but I think about it a lot. It hurts.

    Answer by Anonymous at 5:53 PM on Jun. 14, 2010

  • laughingI grew up with hearing them so I just laugh


    Answer by admckenzie at 5:58 PM on Jun. 14, 2010

  • Aw, I always say something. I heard, "You're smart, for a blond" or "You're smart, for a white chick" a lot in HS. I'd always have to say, "Really? I'm pretty smart in general, regardless, don't you think?" Maybe the right words is smartASS, but I said it anyway. Make the other person uncomfortable, I say. Maybe they'll think before speaking next time.

    Answer by Pnukey at 6:01 PM on Jun. 14, 2010

  • My mother-in law is the queen of backhanded compliments!

    Answer by Mel_in_PHX at 6:04 PM on Jun. 14, 2010

  • If it's a passing acquaintance, I'll drop it - but if it's someone close to me - I don't. I call them on it, right then. This comes from having a sister who is an absolute PRO at this stuff - every compliment has a but, a however, an if, you name it. At the same time, she states insults with a sweet manner and calm tongue: "I just can't carry extra weight on my hips, I don't know how you do it'. OR - A LOT of things she says to people starts with "No offense, but" - you know an insult usually follows that statement. I just recently learned that this type of behavior is call "Invalidating" and mostly comes with having Histrionic Personality Disorder (at least in my sister's case anyhow) - Basically this person will be the top dog even if they have to tear you down in the process of building themselves up. Everything is about them - always.

    Answer by ItsNotSoBad at 6:06 PM on Jun. 14, 2010

  • I was at the Library last summer with my DS who was 2 1/2 and I was 41 at the time. I was talking to the really nice Librarian about the new Thomas The Train Table they had just gotten. I said that for Christmas we bought my DS one (but not the Thomas one, & it was a lot less expensive). Well one of the other Mothers who looked about as old as I turned to me & said "well sure YOU can afford it, your his grandmother"!! I was So shocked that I just stood there with my mouth opened staring at her. I had a million nasty comebacks but I held my tounge in front of the kids. The Librarian came to my rescue and said "WHAT? she absolutely is not his grandmother, she's his Mom! and about the same age as YOU!! The girl says OH I just said that because she has the same hair-do as that old lady over there. I just leaned over and said in her ear "YOU are a D*ck". I smiled & never saw here there again.

    Answer by Anonymous at 6:08 PM on Jun. 14, 2010

  • Yep, my MIL but i've learned to just throw em right back.

    Answer by shay1130 at 6:09 PM on Jun. 14, 2010

  • My great aunt is a pro at those. She went so far as to tell my uncle, at my grandfather's funeral, "Oh, even you look nice"
    There's also a mom in my playgroup who is a friend of a friend and always has some nice/nasty comment to make. She offered up some industrial strength toilet bowl cleaner because my friend's toilet had unacceptable stains in it. total rudeness, whether it's intentional or not
    I hear them so often, they just roll right off my back like water off a duck. Sometimes I just think to myself "quack, quack." lol

    Answer by Anonymous at 6:15 PM on Jun. 14, 2010

  • I get sick of getting comments about my age! its always omg you look like you're twelve or some other insultingly low number.
    I usually just shake it off because I know most people don't mean to be rude. It's especially annoying when they are holding my ID and saying this. Most people try to make it up by saying... oh but you'll be happy when you get older and still look young. huh, yeah, not always my thought lol.

    Answer by young-not-dumb at 9:04 PM on Jun. 14, 2010

  • I'm sarcastic and I just find humor in childish/ignorant/"whatever you would like to call it" type comments. I don't take anything personal because it's either someone I know that knows me and it's understood that it's all in good fun, or it's someone that doesn't know me, therefore what they say doesn't affect me. I've had a complete stranger say to me "you look like you're a great mom, but looks aren't everything these days" so I replied "you don't look like a bitch, but you're right, looks aren't everything these days". I had a nice giggle.

    Answer by careph at 9:30 PM on Jun. 14, 2010

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