You made a comment to acknowledge one of his unique qualities, but ended up hurting his feelings in the process. It happens more often than you think. For those sensitive souls, your well-intentioned comments can have a double edge, and it may be safer to avoid commenting altogether. Today, we asked a group of young men, ranging in age from their late teens to their late 20s, to share some of the comments they received that ended up hurting their ego and pride.
“Just like ‘You’re such a nice guy’, it sounds innocuous and it tells me that she doesn’t see me as boyfriend material,” a young man in his late teens lamented. While it can be a nice compliment to women, it doesn’t have the same impact on men. You are calling him “harmless” and it also implies “bland”. If you can’t find the right words, “You’re cool” will almost always be a safe compliment to a guy.
It’s a sucker punch to the guy who has been wanting to go out with you. “She basically beat around the bush and was indirectly telling me not to ask her out,” a man in his mid-20s shared. You bring “brother” into the picture, and that’s like handing a pink slip to him in the midst of his quest to win you over. If he looks offended, quickly follow up with, “I only meant that you’re reliable like a brother would be.”
This is the same as saying that he’s an introvert. “I’m not good at striking up a conversation. Now I’m even more self-conscious about opening my mouth, “ a despairing young man in his late teens told us. Pointing out the fact that he’s not much of a talker is like rubbing salt in his open wounds. He may clam up even more. If he’s not ready to jump into a conversation, you’ll need to take the lead and gradually draw him in.
It sounds as though you’re complaining about how noisy he is. A teen male explained, “I think she’s trying to tell me that I’m only good as a comedian, and not boyfriend material.” If you truly want to compliment him on his brilliant skills in carrying on a conversation, you may want to focus on more specifics. Saying things like, “You’re a wealth of information” or “You make things sound more interesting than they really are” will boost his ego.
If given a choice between the two, men would almost always want to be cool than cute. A young man in his late teens confessed, “I actually have a complex about my baby face…” Especially if he looks younger than he really is, he does not need to be reminded about his appearance. Even if he’s significantly younger than you, he wants to be treated as your equal. Regarding him as cute will be an insult to his dignity.
Last updated: November 27, 2018