Lately, I?ve seen several tweets from guys who seem to be confused on how to compliment a girl?s looks. Some came from my own friends who genuinely want to know. Some other tweets just seem like tongue-in-cheek responses to feminists (because how dare girls not enjoy having random strangers make a brash comment on their looks while feeling entitled to something in return)?
Some examples of tweets wondering how to compliment a girl?s looks
It?s human nature to enjoy being complimented. However, what may be a compliment to one person may not be to another. Everybody is different and you can?t expect something that works for someone will definitely work for another. Someone may be super chill with all kinds of compliments and love to be called pretty while another person may be more self-conscious and would actually prefer you to not pay attention to her looks at all. The context of who you are, who the other person is, where you both are, how you?re talking, and what your relationship with each other is plays a big part.
Although it depends entirely on the person, I do think there are certain things you can pay attention to in order to analyze whether it?s appropriate to compliment a girl?s looks, like common courtesy, so I hope this will help. Please remember that this is a GENERAL guideline and may not apply to every situation.
So, first of all, it?s usually okay to do if:
- The girl is your girlfriend/wife/family
- You?re a friend and you just want to give a sincere compliment as a friend
- You?re going on a date with the girl and you sense some chemistry between the two of you
- The girl seems to have put time and effort into looking exceptionally pretty that day (new makeup look, new hair, dressed up in exceptionally nice clothes, uploads a really nice-looking photo, etc.)
It?s probably not okay to do when:
- You?re a complete stranger on the streets, especially if you?re with a group of guys and she?s alone
- You?re a grown adult man and the girl is a lot younger than you (most likely very not okay if she?s still in school)
- You?re in a position of power over her (for example, if you?re her boss, mentor, professor, etc.) or you?re meeting her in a strictly professional context
- You have a girlfriend/wife or she has a boyfriend/husband (unless you?re good friends and she knows you?re complimenting her in a completely innocent way)
- She?s talking about something serious and would rather you pay attention to what she has to say instead of her looks
Now that we?ve established the context of when it?s generally appropriate/inappropriate to do it, how do you give the compliment without seeming creepy or making her uncomfortable?
- Don?t say it as an opening lineI mean, it doesn?t make you a criminal but you can 100% do better than to use ?hai cantik? as the first thing you say to a stranger, especially if you want to make her interested in you.
- Compliment her choicesFor example: her outfit (I don?t know anyone who would be offended at someone complimenting their choice of outfit), hairstyle, accessories, and how they look good on her.
- If you?re trying to flirt, you can try to compliment a specific (non-sexual) part of her which really sticks out to youFor example: her eyes/smile (cliche but sometimes works), her eyebrows, her cheekbones, her dimples, her glowing complexion, or even parts of her makeup like her sparkling highlight.
- If you think she looks like a certain famous person (who is known for being beautiful), you can say it (unless that famous person is a porn star)For example: ?You really remind me of Audrey Hepburn? would probably be a well-received compliment, unless she just happens to have a grudge against Audrey Hepburn.
- Don?t use terms or make gestures that carry sexual connotationsProbably steer away from saying a girl is hot, sexy, etc. unless you know she?s fine with it. Don?t look up and down her whole body while complimenting her like you?re assessing it. This will probably make her feel like you?re simply objectifying her.
- Don?t add a non-compliment to a complimentFor example: ?You would be really pretty if you [?]? (hands up if you?ve ever heard a guy say, ?She would be much prettier without all that makeup on?) or ?You?re actually pretty for a [?]? or ?Kamu tuh ga cantik, tapi manis banget? *facepalm*
- Don?t feel entitled to anything in returnWhen you compliment someone, that person doesn?t owe you anything. If she?s uncomfortable with your compliment, you can?t force her to be happy with it. Have you ever seen a guy try to hit on a girl, then when she doesn?t appreciate it, he replies with, ?Whatever, you?re ugly anyway!? That?s the sense of entitlement I?m talking about. In fact, if she isn?t comfortable by what you said, it?s better to just apologize.
- Don?t compliment in numbers?Wow, you look like an 8/10?
- Don?t overdo itDon?t repeat the same compliments over and over again, it will probably seem a bit weird, especially if the first one was not well-received.
- Don?t recycle the same compliment on a million girlsYou: ?You?re so beautiful and I don?t say this to other girls?Also you: *says it to other girls*
- Don?t bring down or insult other girls?You?re so much prettier than all the ugly girls in this place? will most likely not make her feel special. Most girls aren?t really in any ?beauty competition? with other girls, so it just shows that you are disrespectful and like to talk bad about other people. This also includes things like ?I hate skinny girls that are like lamp posts, you?re so much more real than them? *eye roll*
- Some compliments don?t even have to be stated explicitlyA friend of mine gave this tip! If you and the girl are on the same page (i.e. you probably like each other), you can even compliment her without actually saying anything. Here?s the example he gave me:?Kamu tuh ya?? *terus geleng-geleng kepala sambil senyum*Sometimes, without you even saying it, she might already understand what you mean ?
- If you want to compliment how she looks at this moment, don?t implicitly say she doesn?t look good on other daysReminder: you can say ?you look good? without saying ?you look so much better than usual? or ?tumben hari ini cantik!? Or even worse, ?Wow, you actually look like a girl today? on the rare occasion that she wears a skirt/dress? And please don?t ever say ?You don?t look as good as yesterday? on the next day (yes, someone has said this to me before).
- Use different words depending on how close you areIf you?re not very close with the person, I would suggest using more ?innocent? words like good, cute etc. ?Youlookreallygoodwiththatnewhair!? If you?re close, then you can feel more comfortable using words like gorgeous, beautiful, etc.
- Be genuineIf you want to give a compliment, make sure it?s an honest one from the bottom of your heart, not just what you think will gain you something.
In the end, it all comes down to being respectful. And of course, please remember that you can compliment her on other things beside her looks ? her humor, her knowledge, her creativity, her voice, her bravery, etc. ? because there?s so much more to a girl than her physical appearance.
Btw, I was also requested to add tips on how to PDKT a girl without being creepy, but I don?t have much experience with PDKT so maybe I will write it in a separate article once I gather more knowledge from friends. (The only thing I can say right now is, if she says she?s not interested, please don?t try to force it. If it?s meant to be it will be!)
Oh, and here are some bonus wise words from a friend of mine:
?There will be something that really matters for her, find out what it is and understand why. You?ll get it together when you?re thinking the way she is.?
? Khalil Ambiya
Well, since we?ve talked so much about how guys can give appropriate compliments to girls, how about girls to guys? Are girls allowed to compliment guys however they want? Obviously not. I?d say the guideline above also applies for girls to guys and I also try my best to compliment guys without harassing them. The only reason that this article focuses on guys to girls is because I?m a girl myself so I know how it feels to be the receiving end.
If you have any experience with this (have you ever accidentally offended a girl with your compliment? Have you ever felt harassed by a guy?s ?compliment?? Have you ever given a compliment which would seem ?inappropriate? according to this guide but it ended up being well-received?), please leave a comment. Would love to hear from all your experiences.