Backhanded compliments: what do you do with those?

October 4, 2017

Sometimes people will give you a compliment. And since you’ve been working so hard on accepting and receiving complements, you are prepared to graciously thank them for it. Right?

But then they immediately follow up with another comment that makes you feel bad or “less than,” which blindsides you and removes all the good feelings from the first good comment.

Although it may be unconscious on their part, it is actually intentional. Their ego is driving their behavior. Some people are unable to simply give you a compliment and leave it at that. There needs to be a judgment or criticism in there too, for them to feel ok. Although in their mind, they may color it as “keeping it real” or “being honest.” This is just a way to gloss over their own insecurities.

I’m not going to say, “Don’t let it get to you” because that’s obviously easier said than done. And I don’t think there’s anything you can really say. I have found that anything I say comes out defensive and then I feel in a powered down position. Which is the whole point of the backhanded compliment. But something that may help is:


It has everything to do with them and their insecurities.

If this is something that happens often…then this is the part where you get to decide what place this person has in your life. If it’s just a random stranger…dismiss and move on.

If it’s someone you interact with regularly or have to see or speak to often, this is one of those people that you’ll likely want to keep firm boundaries with because they don’t necessarily have your back.

When we are learning how to be our own champions and our own advocates, we discover right away that we want to keep people around us who build us up. If you’re questioning whether an individual is good for you or not, ask yourself these questions.

Do they treat you well?

Are they kind?

Do you frequently feel yourself feeling bad around them, or do they make you feel good?

Things to think about 🙂