Um, that's probably awkwardly titled but I can't think of another way to explain it.
I know there are plenty of threads about complimenting people around, but I'm wondering about a specific type of compliment.
You can compliment someone's clothes or eyes or a job well done on an important project. But what about making "character compliments"?
One of my friends was told she is "docile and even-tempered" as a compliment. Being gracious, docile and even-tempered she thanked them and then came seething to me because she felt like she was being described as a pet.
Is it safer to stick to factual compliments than compliments about someone's internal qualities? It seems to me that giving a character compliment, i.e. "You're a generous person," tends to strike gold more often than "I like your shoes" but when you give a character compliment that contradicts someone's concept of self, you backfire horribly.