The “Compliments” That Women Actually Find Insulting

By: Alicia Drewnicki |

If you’re a man, the chances are that you may have ‘put your foot in it’ at some point and said something to upset a woman. If you’re just trying to be nice but you can’t work out why your comments are frequently giving you a one-way ticket to the dog house, here’s a guide to the ‘compliments’ that women might find insulting and an explanation why.

1) ‘You remind me of my ex’
Ok, so you’re trying to tell us that you have a type, and your ex may have been wonderful, but the last thing a girl wants to hear is that she’s a carbon copy of an old flame. It can make a girl paranoid that you’re just with her because you’re not over your ex or that you’re comparing the two of them. The key point here is that a girl wants to be an original not an imitation.

2) ‘You remind me of my mum.’
This one’s self-explanatory really. We want to be a sexy goddess in your eyes – not a mother figure. I’m sure you love your mum and there’s a compliment in there somewhere but when you’re speaking to a girlfriend, leave out the motherly comparisons.

3) ‘You look so different without your makeup on.’
The reason this one doesn’t go down well is because you’re implying one of two things; either you think your other half is wearing makeup so thick that it’s like a mask or that she looks rough without it. Even if you think it looks like you’re dating a different person, it’s best not to mention it.

4) ‘You drive pretty well…for a woman.’
Any sentence that ends with ‘for a woman’ should never be uttered. There’s nothing worse than a sexist man who assumes women are worse at things like driving. Instead, if you think your lady is a great driver, just say it and resist adding ‘for a woman’ at the end of your sentence. Simple.

5) ‘You scrub up well.’
There are so many compliments a guy can give, but instead you choose to use the sentence with the word ‘scrub’ in it? Not a good move. Yes, we may look nice and glam after spending some time pampering ourselves, but please, find an alternative thing to say – how about ‘you look stunning?’

6) ‘I like a girl who enjoys her food as much as me.’
Yikes. The food thing – it’s a delicate topic. No woman ever wants a guy to hint that she has an appetite like a horse that puts his to shame, and the phrase ‘enjoys her food’ can be taken the wrong way too. It can prompt that age-old debate ‘are you saying I’m fat?’ Best just to let her finish her grub and keep quiet.

7) ‘You’re not like any other girl I’ve dated.’
This is a tough one. You may be saying that a girl is mesmerising and out of this world, but sometimes girls can see this the wrong way and assume you’re saying that you’ve got a type, but this girl is the complete opposite.

8) ‘You play sport well…for a woman.’
Again, much like the driving comment, please don’t ever patronise us or our sporting abilities just because of the fact we’re not men.

9) ‘You’re a homely type of girl.’
What does this mean? You may think you’re being nice, but a woman could translate this as ‘plain, plump, ugly and frumpy’. Just use your words carefully…
sucky person
10) ‘I like girls who are cuddly.’
Are you going out with a bear? Most cuddly things are fat and hairy, so this isn’t exactly the most complimentary statement you can make. How about swapping this for: ‘I like cuddling you.’

11) ‘That’s a nice dress, did you make it yourself?’
You’ve got to be kidding. If you think that a garment has the boho/hippy vibe and your girlfriend ISN’T a dressmaker, don’t ever ask her if she’s made something she’s wearing. It’s a sure-fire insult.

12) ‘You’ve got a lovely face.’
Your girlfriend will immediately think: ‘what about the rest of me?’ If you highlight the face but don’t mention the bod, she’s going to automatically assume that there’s a problem somewhere. She’ll be wondering if you think she’s fat and this can only spell out trouble. So instead, why not compliment the full package?

13) ‘You’ve got such a great personality.’
Again, here’s another one that makes a girl think you’re hinting the rest (aka the physical) is not so good. Sorry guys, you’re probably starting to realise that women can ‘sometimes’ be hard work.

14) ‘You’re a fun-loving type of girl – girls like you know how to have a good time!’
Hold it right there, buster. That’s one way of saying a girl isn’t exactly a lady. She’ll automatically assume you’re implying she’s been ’round the track’ more times than a greyhound.

15) ‘I like that necklace/dress/skirt…it’s interesting.’
‘Interesting’ is an…umm…’interesting’ word. It can often be seen as a negative as there are a hundred more compliments you can use rather than the safe (or not so safe) choice of labelling something as ‘interesting.’

16) ‘You’re unique/special/one of a kind/they don’t make them like you very often!’
Are you saying your girl is a bit of a freak? You may be trying to give her the biggest compliment of all time but this way of expressing it can easily be taken the wrong way and make a girl assume you think she’s ‘different’, but in a bad way. Try ‘you’re amazing’ instead.

17) ‘Gosh you’re so pretty, imagine what you’d look like if you lost a few pounds.’
Some guys aren’t even subtle. They just jump straight in there with the insult and expect us to see it as helpful. If you ever comment about a girl’s weight, trust me, it’s not going to go down well, even if you think it sounds ‘subtle’.

18) ‘You’re lucky to be with me – I always get a lot of attention from girls.’
Uh oh, the ego has officially landed and he’s about to get a slap. If you’re a guy who is guilty of ever telling a girl that she’s lucky to be with you, then you need to have a reality-check. This isn’t a compliment and it will just make you come across as self-obsessed, egotistic and not the type of guy a girl wants to be around.

19) ‘You have a great body, it would be the perfect body if you had bigger boobs.’
If you were on a football pitch, you’d get the red card for that one. Never tell a woman that she’d look better if she was surgically enhanced. You should never try to change someone you’re with. Imagine how you’d feel if she said you’d have the perfect body if you made…certain modifications/enlargements. Now you understand…

20) ‘Wow…you’re tall/your feet are massive/your thighs are bigger than mine.’
Now if she said these things to you – yes, you’d think it was a compliment. Turn the tables around though – and it’s a big no-no. You may think you’re just being observational, but a woman wants to feel like a woman, so it’s never a good idea to highlight things like size/height and comment on how big she is. It will just make her feel manly and unattractive rather than delicate and feminine.

21) ‘You’re very much the…girl next door type.’
What does this even mean? ‘Girl next door’ is one of those phrases people use that hints at plain, boring, unnoticeable – a girl that blends into the background. There are a lot better ‘compliments’ you can come up with.

22) ‘Gosh you’re as strong as an ox.’
Before you assume that you’re complimenting our physique and being nice – any animal comparison is automatically going to translate as ‘heifer’ in our mind. So keep quiet to avoid any unnecessary friction and the wrath of the beast (so to speak).

23) ‘That new hairstyle looks nice, but I prefer how it was before.’
If your girlfriend has had a makeover and she’s either dyed it from light to dark or had most of it cut off, don’t EVER say you like it, but prefer how it was before. This is guaranteed to cause fireworks. Even if you use the word ‘nice’, it’s not a compliment if you’re saying it looked better before she did anything to it. If you don’t think it looks better, then it’s best not to say anything at all.

24) ‘You know how I can tell you’re hot, it’s because all your friends are hot too.’
When you say this, your girl will be thinking: ‘wow…so you fancy my friends? All of them, in fact.’ If you’re tempted to throw this one in the mix, then it’s best to just say ‘you’re hot’ and leave it there. Otherwise your girl may start getting paranoid about the inappropriate crush you’ve got on her best friend. Danger zone…

25) ‘You’re just my type…I’ve never been a fan of skinny girls.’
Ouch. Before you open that trap of yours, think. Saying ‘you’re just my type’ is good – but it’s that little bit on the end that’s going to cause offence. Even if curves are your thing, never highlight that a girl is the opposite of skinny. It’s never going to end well (and it may not even begin…)

So there you have it – 25 compliments that women could potentially see as insults. Yes, ok, admittedly sometimes women can be a little bit sensitive and take things the wrong way. We pay attention to how you word things, so at least now you have some pointers of ‘what not to say’. If you’re ever in doubt, just pick something along the lines of, ‘you look beautiful and I love your company’ and you can’t go wrong.