I was waiting for an appointment a few weeks ago in a medical clinic. The appointment was with my occupational therapist, which I have been working with to overcome being overwhelmed so that I could tackle my to-do list. I have been doing very well, and I am finally able to say I am slowing down the frequency of the appointments so that I can apply what I have been learning.
While I was there, I saw a variety of people. A couple of parents, each with young children. An older lady who seemed to know her way around the place. The receptionists are familiar faces to me.
The older lady said in a very quiet voice, as she walked by a man and his young daughter, “Your dress is awfully pretty.”
I thought to myself, what a contradictory statement.
Why do we do that? The lady was obviously trying to pay the girl a compliment. How confusing it could be to someone who was not fluent in our language, though. Think about it. Awful is not a nice word, however, pretty is. I think it is time to drop the confusing adjectives. Really. Let’s get straight to the point, and skip the double-edged sword. The world is confusing enough as we all try to navigate through it, so let’s make it easier to pay a compliment.
Say What You Mean
Your dress is very pretty, says the same thing, with no double entendres. A double entendre is a phrase with two meanings, which is what I witnessed. Now a double entendre does have a time and place to be appropriate, usually when someone is delivering an insult in such a clever way that it leaves the recipient guessing. When done correctly, a double entendre certainly does have a place in the English language. If you want to shock someone or walk on the fine line between whether or not you are insulting someone, go ahead, be clever.
In conclusion, when you are complimenting someone, leave the negative words out of the sentence. It will feel more genuine, and likely reward you with a heartfelt smile. If you are trying to brighten someone’s day, please do. The world needs more positivity in every second of every minute of every day. Don’t throw clouds into an otherwise sunny moment in someone’s day. We can brighten their day with a simple compliment. This way, both people will benefit. Doesn’t it sound easy?