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Thread: Backhanded compliments - stick a knife in their back to their face

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array JivinJeffJones's Avatar
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    Apr 2007

    Default Backhanded compliments - stick a knife in their back to their face

    Backhanded compliment (as defined by Cambridge Dictionaries): a remark that seems to say something pleasant about a person but could also be an insult.

    Example (found here):

    Quote Originally Posted by booyalab View Post
    I hate comments like those.
    once at my first job, i was about 16 or 17, i was wearing these platform sandals which i don't normally do because i'm already a decent height and i don't like being 5'11", and this female coworker says "that's a good height for you".
    WTF? are my arms so disproportionately long that they hang down to my knees? do i have a huge head? a long torso and stubby legs?
    I was so freakin impressed with the above compliment/insult that I want to start a thread solely devoted to sharing backhanded compliments you have received or conceived. I'm a big fan of the backhanded compliment. If issued with a deadpan face or, even better, an expression of wholesome sincerity, these things can really fuck with people's minds. We have all sorts of mental/emotional guards up against insults, but the backhanded compliment can bypass many of these by entering through the affirmation gateway, which is often unguarded and little-used.

    So, share your backhanded compliments one and all.

  2. #2
    only bites when provoked Array
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    Apr 2007


    I'm an INTJ, our "affirmation gateway" is just like our guarded "emotional gateway", only we have extra machineguns at the "affirmation gateway".

  3. #3
    Senior Member Array Lookin4theBestNU's Avatar
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    Apr 2007


    There is only one that I can think of and I am not sure to this day if it was intended as such . His look of shock at my reply seemed to indicate that he didn't. Anyway,from my ISTP early in our relationship:
    "Ya know baby, I really love it when you talk me to sleep. It's so relaxing!"
    "At points of clarity, I realize that my life on earth is meaningless, and that I am merely a pawn in a bigger game. A game I cannot possibly understand or have control of. Thankfully, before depression sets in, I drift back into my cloudy, bewildered daily routine." **Joel Patrick Warneke**

  4. #4
    darkened dreams Array labyrinthine's Avatar
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    Apr 2007
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    This happens all the time in my profession. I've met some real experts. Occasionally a parent of a student will be a real gem. Wherever there is performance and competition people devour this skill. Some are so subtle and twisted it's very difficult to recount them. I will try to think of a few, but have learned to blank them out.

    Here's one from the mother of a guy I dated in reference to my master's degree... "That sounds like fun."

    Here's one from a mentor regarding a recent conversation with an important colleague... "Of course she asked about your background, but I can't keep track of all your degrees."
    The first man to raise a fist is the man who's run out of ideas. H.G. WELLS
    The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. FEYNMAN

    If this is monkey pee, you're on your own.SCULLY

  5. #5
    Senior Member Array Kyrielle's Avatar
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    Apr 2007


    "So, you want to go into art...that's definitely look bohemian enough for the part."

    So, since when is blue jeans, a shirt, and a black jacket (nylon, not leather, and definitely not covered in paint)...bohemian? Was she calling me homely? The look on her face certainly said such.

    Another one from the same person:

    "You could be a scientist or an could be anything! And you want to go into art."

    She was not a very useful counselor.

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