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View Poll Results: Generally what's your first internal reaction to unsolicited praise about appearance?

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  • (swoon) Hey, don't stop there, keep going!

    3 8.11%
  • You know, I could really start to enjoy this!

    9 24.32%
  • Okay, I'm flattered... but I'm *really* trying to get something done right now... so please move.

    20 54.05%
  • How transparent! Go away, pig!

    5 13.51%
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  1. #41
    Senior Member Shimpei's Avatar
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    Cafe is quite far from what she thinks she looks like.

  2. #42
    Plumage and Moult proteanmix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JivinJeffJones View Post
    I'm wondering if flattery from other women gets run through a different set of filters.
    It does for me. If a woman stranger compliments me I figure she has no interest in getting something from me (phone number, date) I tend to think it's sincere. And I can tell by what women compliment like shoes, purses, hair, etc. Men seem to stay to the more general "You look nice/you smell good."

    An unsolicited genuine compliment always makes me feel good, I'm not going to worry about the source as long as the person isn't being bothersome. I used to get rattled, but I taught myself to say thank you and move on. I'm not obligated to do anything more.

    Once somebody told me I had a nice smile and that made me feel very happy. I can never get too much of that.

  3. #43
    ish red no longer *sad* nightning's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by proteanmix View Post
    It does for me. If a woman stranger compliments me I figure she has no interest in getting something from me (phone number, date) I tend to think it's sincere. And I can tell by what women compliment like shoes, purses, hair, etc. Men seem to stay to the more general "You look nice/you smell good."
    Is compliments just a "feel good thing" or also a "get you thinking thing"? My first reaction towards a woman complimenting me is "that's nice..." then I think about why they said it, not exactly looking for hidden intentions but what they pay attention to and thus what are they interested in.

  4. #44
    Senior Member HilbertSpace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    I am conjecturing that some types of women enjoy the comments because those are the type of men they are looking for -- straight, to the point, not a lot of style, pretty simplistic. Other women think it's classy for a guy not to go the overt route and deal with her as a person/mind/whatever first. So they would be extremely unhappy with the other sort of guy... and those guys would probably be disappointed as well in a relationship with such a woman.

    I guess it's like self-selection at work, but I guess HS can comment more on that.
    I think there's several dynamics at play here that we can start to tease apart:

    A compliment can convey or confer social status. Eric Raymond defined a "hacker" as someone who is called such by a hacker (hacker here being a high compliment). Likewise, if you're called intelligent (or, at least, possibly not wrong) by a Nobel laureate, you can be pretty proud of where you stand. I think we have (at a minimum) an intuitive grasp of what appearance means in society - there's a number of studies that indicate that relatively more attractive people are also considered more intelligent, happier, and more successful. Evolutionarily, I'd be pretty comfortable saying that physical attractiveness is a fitness indicator, even though there's a little danger there in slipping into a circular definition.

    An important secondary aspect, though, comes from the models that say communication is actually manipulation. Manipulation of the target of an information exchange might not be inherently negative (for example, I might tell you not to stand in the middle of the freeway - I'm trying to manipulate you into moving, but it is probably good advice nevertheless). At the same time, we can intuitively understand that the person's goals might not be our own. In this subject, this might be things like idle flattery in order to get the other person to do something, or at a minimum to be better disposed toward the flatterer. So here, we'd expect the development of BS filters - something that lets you figure out whether the person means what they say, or why they're saying it.

    So, I think that a lot of the skeptical, or outright negative, response to an unanticipated compliment would have fallen to this second aspect. Either that, or it is a devaluation of the compliment based on the first principle - the person making the compliment doesn't have an opinion that matters, or the attribute being complimented doesn't fall within the receiver's set of values.

  5. #45
    Plumage and Moult proteanmix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nightning View Post
    Is compliments just a "feel good thing" or also a "get you thinking thing"? My first reaction towards a woman complimenting me is "that's nice..." then I think about why they said it, not exactly looking for hidden intentions but what they pay attention to and thus what are they interested in.
    I'm not going to say that there aren't times when I do both. If, for example, I just got my hair done and I'm ambivalent about style and another woman compliments me, it's enough to push me into the positive range. That's a feel good thing. I was feeling unsure about some aspect of myself and someone compliments me about it.

    I pay close attention to people. I notice minor details about their appearance and mood. So when I notice changes in others, I figure out if those changes are positive changes. I can go two ways: if I like those positive changes and I feel that the person would like some acknowledgment of the change then I give a compliment. The second way is if the person made a positive change, I noticed but didn't like it so I don't say anything. If I made a compliment at that point, I would be being insincere. I don't make a habit of doing that, but I'm not going to lie and say I haven't.

  6. #46
    Junior Member Jezebel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Question for females:

    How do you feel when you're just going about your day [i.e., are not trying to look attractive or get any attention] and a man unexpectedly says, "Wow, you're really good-looking / cute / gorgeous!" or makes some other comment about your appearance?

    Is this generally a welcome thing, or does it become bothersome after awhile, or.... Well, what's your perception?
    Awkward. How awkward depends on the situation. For example, last month I was walking home from work and a guy stopped me on the sidewalk. He said he had seen me from his car and had to stop to talk to me, that I was very attractive and proceeded to ask me out. My first thought was, "is this a joke", and my reaction was a blank stare for several seconds followed by a quiet and confused "um, thanks but I'm already in a relationship...". He then said I was very pretty and I thanked him and walked away. I spent the rest of the walk home analyzing why someone would stop their car and get out to compliment a strange girl and ask her out. I didn't understand his intentions and I'd rate that high up on the awkward meter.

    It's not so bad with people I know, but I'd still describe it as mostly awkward. It's not that it's unappreciated. I think I have a poor perception of how I look to other people and if nobody ever complimented me I'd probably just assume that I was really unattractive. It's more about not knowing how to respond to people.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    All right -- to expand a little, how about in welcome threads or "What We Look Like" threads?
    I posted my picture on INTPc a long time ago. The attention and knowing people were looking at me made me feel kinda weird. I ended up taking my picture down and haven't put anything else up since. It's not that I think poorly of anyone complimenting me, it's just the attention and being looked at that I don't know how to deal with. I also begin analyzing the picture quality (is that really how I look... maybe it was just a good angle, maybe I should post a lower quality picture next time.... ).

    Conclusion: I think I'm overly weird about the whole thing.

  7. #47
    Member thirtyfour's Avatar
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    Slight revulsion. I'm not sure why but I think it's creepy when strangers are checking me out. I do my best to appear very bland. There are few people who I really want to notice me.

  8. #48
    darkened dreams labyrinthine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HilbertSpace View Post
    An important secondary aspect, though, comes from the models that say communication is actually manipulation. Manipulation of the target of an information exchange might not be inherently negative (for example, I might tell you not to stand in the middle of the freeway - I'm trying to manipulate you into moving, but it is probably good advice nevertheless). At the same time, we can intuitively understand that the person's goals might not be our own. In this subject, this might be things like idle flattery in order to get the other person to do something, or at a minimum to be better disposed toward the flatterer. So here, we'd expect the development of BS filters - something that lets you figure out whether the person means what they say, or why they're saying it.
    Interesting post. Regarding the concept of communication as manipulation, there is one important distinction. I have always understood manipulation to be the process of getting a person to respond without their full consent. This is achieved through deceit, withholding information, intimidation, etc. Communication can simply inform if it respects the boundaries of individual consent. To me informing someone of the danger of standing in the middle of the road and allowing them to make their choice is different than assuming you have to find some way to force them into safety and so continue to distort information or threaten to achieve that end. Compliments can be used to inform someone. That is different than using the compliment to achieve a result unrelated to the compliment. If the compliment is the end, then it is not manipulation, if it is a means, then it is. What do you think about that?
    Step into my metaphysical room of mirrors.
    Fear of reality creates myopic morality
    So I guess it means there is trouble until the robins come
    (from Blue Velvet)

  9. #49
    Senior Member Shimpei's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daphne View Post
    If the compliment is the end, then it is not manipulation, if it is a means, then it is. What do you think about that?
    There're more than two ways of compliments: You can compliment someone on their looks just to intentionally make them feel better and happy. I wouldn't say it's a manipulation.

  10. #50
    darkened dreams labyrinthine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shimpei View Post
    There're more than two ways of compliments: You can compliment someone on their looks just to intentionally make them feel better and happy. I wouldn't say it's a manipulation.
    Yeah, I was thinking about that after typing it. A compliment is not generally given to 'inform' someone only. No one is that robotic I'm guessing. There is also the end of making someone stronger, or making them weaker. Making someone stronger makes them more capable of drawing their boundaries of personal consent. In that case a compliment can be offered to give the other person more independence, autonomy, etc.

    I guess that's why I am so turned off by backhanded compliments. The goal of those appears to make the person weaker, in more need of approval. If it's backhanded enough it also makes the giver of it appear to be the one who can provide that sorely needed approval. That is what strikes me as manipulation.
    Step into my metaphysical room of mirrors.
    Fear of reality creates myopic morality
    So I guess it means there is trouble until the robins come
    (from Blue Velvet)

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