The Problem with Appearance-Based Compliments
It is common to compliment someone’s appearance. Think of how often you are at a social gathering and hear something like, “Oooo you lost weight!”
Even if they are meant to be kind, appearance related comments can be quite harmful. You may be inadvertently complimenting a symptom of a mental health diagnosis (such as an eating disorder) or medical issue, or the impact of grief.
Research shows that people who consistently receive appearance-based compliments begin to see themselves as an object and attach their self worth to their appearance.
A person’s physical appearance is the least interesting thing about them. It is much more meaningful and personal to compliment other aspects of a person.
Examples of compliments that aren’t about appearance:
- You light up the room!
- I am proud of you for ______
- You are easy to talk to.
- I admire your ______
- Thanks for being there for me.
- You are so funny!
- You are talented at ______
- I feel like I can be myself around you!
- I enjoy spending time with you!
- You are so creative!
What are your favorite compliments (to give OR receive) that are not related to appearance?
Blog written by Sentier therapist, Andrea Schroeder, MS, LPCC