Most of us have probably received a backhanded compliment or two even if never noticed and most of us have certainly delivered some as well. What does a backhanded compliment sound like? Well, it sounds something like this “Oh how cute, you flip through magazines for inspiration! I usually look to historic novels”, or how about this one, “I hate crop tops they’re so ugly they make people look pregnant, but it’s ok b/c you’re skinny”. Even better is this one, that I, myself, delivered to an unsuspecting friend, “Oh yeah? A trip to Costa Rica sounds great, if you like that sort of thing”. I mean really? Who doesn’t like that sort of thing? I’d give up my new Jeffrey Campbell 99 zip wedge for a trip anywhere right about now.
A backhanded compliment is nothing but a hate comment in disguise and underdeveloped. It sounds like it’s going to build you up but in the end just brings you down. It’s not an outright criticism but neither is it praise, it’s almost demeaning in it’s ambiguity. Sometimes there is nothing personally insulting in the statement itself, at times it’s even flattering, but it just doesn’t sit right. Once received, a backhanded compliment leaves a bad taste in your mouth that is easier removed with ice cream than toothpaste. An underlining tone of bitterness can be found in any backhanded compliment and at the heart of that bitterness lives jealousy. Jealousy, more often than not, is the main culprit behind mean-spirited comments and backhanded compliments. Jealousy incites the person to react, to squash their own feelings of inadequacy by pointing out the inadequacies of another. It is this jealousy that we must learn to recognize in ourselves, to avoid hurting people, and in others, to understand why they hurt us.
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I get these types of messages and comments all the time, I never take them to heart and I hope none of you do either.