“You’re so pretty, how are you still single?”
There’s nothing single people love more than being publicly and repeatedly reminded of their single status, right? Of course not. Add in a bewildering ‘but you’re so pretty’ and you’re implying that not only are they sad spinsters but that there must be something else wrong with them keeping them that way, Chapman explains. As a rule, don’t comment on someone else’s relationship status unless she brings up the topic first.
“You are a saint for having so many kids!”
This ‘compliment’ reads both as an insult to their reproductive choices – ”You have too many kids” – and to their children, implying they must be a saint to deal with them. “It is common for people to hide judgments on life choices in compliments,” says Dr Susan Henney, a professor of psychology. “We want to be polite but we also want our opinion to be heard.”
“You have a pretty face, you should smile more.”
What you’re really saying is, “Buck up, you grump. I’m in a good mood, so you should be too” which assumes that everyone is just like you or is having exactly the same kind of day as you, Henney says. “Since it is often said from men to women, it can also be interpreted as the female not pleasing the male by being charming and agreeable at all times.” Bottom line: you are not in charge of other people’s moods. Want someone to smile? Pay them a genuine compliment or tell them a joke.