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Men of Reddit, is there any way for a woman to platonically compliment you in a polite way?

Let me explain: I’ve noticed that a lot of you lament the fact that you as a man really don’t receive any compliments on your appearance. Can you think of a way to give a guy a compliment that wouldn’t come off, at best, as an unintentional come-on, or at worst, creepy? Is it even possible in the society we live in?

Sometimes I’ll notice the way a guy’s hair is styled, or his shoes, or his clothes, and think that it might make his day a bit brighter if I said something, but I always hold my tongue because I don’t want it to be taken the wrong way.

Figured I’d toss it to the swarming masses of Reddit. Thanks in advance!

4/1 Edit: Wow! This post took off way more than I was ever expecting! Thank you all for your feedback! If I could give replies and updoots to everyone I would, but since I can’t, know that I appreciate all of the comments, whatever your perspective might be! I never thought this would be front page worthy, but obviously this is something that we need to work on as a society, methinks.

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29 Comments

  1. I have received compliments from women ( some have to OVERLY stress that they don’t mean anything sexual behind it) and I have not thought of them before or after as a sexual prospect. I WILL say that, regardless, I remember ALL of them.

  2. The cashier at the grocery complimented to color of my jacket and that made me feel so good about myself, but I also didn’t feel like she was trying to hit on me. I don’t know how that helps but I just wanted to let someone know that my jacket color choice is baller.

  3. This is the method I developed for compliments in general for anyone regardless of gender: if it’s purely platonic, compliment things that were chosen. Outfit, hair styles, fragrance, makeup, facial hair, accessories, that sort of thing. This is something I’ve thought about a lot when trying to figure out how to compliment female friends without making it seem like I’m hitting on anyone, which sounds similar to a situation you’re in.

  4. If you notice something you like, ask him if he did it on purpose. Then say you really like it.

    If it only happens every once in a while, I wouldn’t think it would cause too much fuss for an average chap. It absolutely will make his day brighter.

  5. This might sound a bit weird, but use the word compliment in your compliment.

    “Hey, I want to compliment your shirt choice. It’s really cool.” Having that word in front of the compliment frames the statement as what it is, and allows the man to be in the proper frame of mind when receiving it, rather than guessing how to take it.

  6. Yes but also no.

    Some guys will take any positive attention as a come-on.

    Some posses basic social skills.

    There is no way to tell which is which in the bounds of a passing interaction or exactly what variations it would take to make your intention clear to that guy in particular.

    Unlikely to be seen as creepy, though, so that’s a plus I guess.

  7. Once upon a time a random girl completed my shoes. That was 8 years ago, I still have them, and I wear them anytime I need to look nice.

    About 4 years ago, one of my wife’s cousin’s bridesmaids complemented my sportcoat (yes, I was wearing the shoes mentioned earlier). I have managed to stay relatively the same size so I can fit into it and I wear it as often as I can find an excuse to.

    We face the same problem btw. It’s hard to give a girl a complement without her assuming we’re “just hitting on her.” Additionally, being men we have the wonderful option of said girl thinking we’re being creepy. No I’m not hitting on you and I’m damn sure not trying to be creepy, I just want to complement you on your shoes.

    Just go for it. It’s what we’ve learned to do. Think of it this way, since you’re not a guy you can’t be “creepy.”

  8. It’s really going to depend on the guy so you have to know the guy a bit and feel him out to see if he’s that type.

    That said I think guys are going to be inclined to take it as a come on mainly because women generally aren’t very forward, and guys are taught that women “drop hints” when they’re interested, rather than outright ask them out. So they go, “huh, a compliment, maybe that’s what women mean when they say they’ll drop hints that they’re interested”, so they take that compliment as something more than it is. As a result, women start thinking, “I better not compliment him, he might take it the wrong way”. That makes compliments much more rare… which makes them stand out more when a guy hears them and further thinks that must be some hint she’s giving him when he gets one.

  9. Using the word “nice”

    Female here, but a few days ago, I had a conversation with a platonic male friend and noticed he got a haircut. I literally asked if he got a haircut & he said yes, so I responded that it looks nice! I like to compliment everyone and I say nice frequently bc I feel it’s more, idk innocent? I try not to say to males that their haircut/shoes/whatever “look good” as I feel that some people subconsciously take that to mean that I think THEY look good vs the specific item I was referring to. Nice is perfect for a blanket compliment no matter who you might be speaking to.

  10. real talk? most guys will think youre hitting on them. i dont like it either. its tough cause it does make our day brighter but yeah mad dudes will take that to the bank and think “imma score with her”

  11. “Jim, you’re uglier than a dogs ass but that haircut looks pretty sharp. Good on ya”

    But seriously I always lead off with:

    “Dont make this weird but… [compliment]” because this means that if they interpret it any other way than exactly what you said, they’re the ones making it out to be more than what it is.

  12. It’s impossible. Giving a compliment to a man is so rare because once completed, you’ve signed an irreversible contract binding you to this soul by blood. It is a permanent pact bound by Atlas himself, and requires that you marry that man immediately and have no fewer than three children with him. So it is written, so it shall be.

  13. … There was a lovely book I read about a space-restaurant in space… called The Sol Majestic

    ​

    In it, the restaurant owner makes a little point that’s stayed with me for years after reading the book

    ​

    “The first rule of appreciation… it is impossible to savor a thing you have been starved of”

    The eyes see, and the ears hear, what the heart wants… and I just wanna say that I can imagine some blokes receiving a purely platonic compliment and wishing desperately that there was more there than there was….

    Not because they’re broken, or because society is filled with nothing but shit… but because they’re starved of affection (or at least feel that way) and like the nice man in Mad Max almost said ” Immortan Joe: **Do not** become **addicted to affection**, it will take hold of you and you will resent its absence” …. note, this only scans right when you don’t have a stable source of water available to you 😛

    Sorry, i’m babbling a bit…. I guess the main thing i’m trying to say is that this is a very lovely post you’ve put up, and a wonderful sentiment which will hopefully bring a fair bit of joy to society and people…. Just, there will be fuckups from some lonely people desperate for a connection with other people, which doesn’t mean you delivered a wrong compliment, or did it wrongly… it just means they’re desperately lonely and trying to run away from that

    …. I guess?

  14. I’d also like to just toss this out there:

    no matter how much you try to come across as 100% platonic. some dudes simply lack that female attention in their life and ANY amount they get no matter how brain dead obvious it is that the girl is not into them.. they might still think you’re into them or at least take it as a sign that you are some one they can try to talk to and get closer to and potentially take it too far.

    just thought I’d throw that out there.

  15. Essentially, I would say your tone and affect will set the context even more strongly than the words themselves. Be nonchalant about it, don’t dwell on the compliment or act overly sweet. Just say the thing, let it sink in, then move on and talk about something else. Keep the conversation going. If you are genuine and casual, it won’t come off as creepy. If they guy reads into it too much as flirting, then he’s an idiot anyway. Most guys need to have more platonic friendships with women. Good on you for being thoughtful.

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