Etiquette Shmetiquette

Because of all the times I’ve heard ambiguous, or even back handed, comments about my attire or sense of style, I’ve sincerely begun to wonder if some people would even be able to recognize a compliment if it included the words “I like”. And adversely, if they could recognize an insult of it came out of their mouth, bounced off of me and then hit them in the face, leaving marks that might resemble my left fist.

So I’ve come up with a few simple guidelines to determine if what you’re about to say is a compliment (and thus, if you should say it).

Rule #1 
If you are making a comparison (i.e. “that reminds me of [actor/actress, movie, decade]) make sure that you find (and specify that you find!) the object of comparison agreeable. For instance “Hey, that reminds me of Madonna. And I really liked when she did that!”. You see, if you don’t specify that the comparison is good I’m forced to say things like “Oh, well. . .I guess I will just chose to take that as a compliment” because I’m not quite sure that the fact that my haircut reminds you of a ten year old is a compliment. And if it isn’t a compliment, I’m not sure how to respond. Because I don’t know why anyone would walk around giving their unwarranted and unflattering opinion to persons who don’t care. But that’s just me. . .

As a side note, if your compliment ends up sounding like “Hey, your haircut reminds me of a ten year old, and I really like ten year olds!” you should know that I’m inclined to protect children. Particularly with dumb bells to the groin.

Rule #2 
If your intention is to say something flattering to someone, it helps if you say it to them and not just near them. Because if I walk into a room and you look at me and say to someone else “Don’t you wish that we could play dress-up at work?” I might not know if you’re just being a BITCH of if you really think I’ve dressed up nicely. And confusion is what we’re trying to avoid here. (We are also trying to avoid you getting punched in the face).

Rule #3
I know I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating- if at any point you question whether or not what you are about to say is a compliment- it isn’t.

*In conjunction with Rule #1 make sure that your point of reference is positive as well. In other words, if you ask me if my tattoos were a result of drunken decision-making, I would like to thank you for helping me determine that I would not like to ever be your friend.

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