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Irked by compliments on weight loss

I've had several people compliment me recently and tell me that they had noticed I lost weight, but didn't want to say anything thinking I might be offended. My thoughts are, "Why would I be offended?? I did lose weight and I DO look better!" Then my co-worker said she does get irked when people compliment her - she thinks, "What, I didn't look good before?"

What's your take on 'Did you lose weight?' compliments? Do you take it as code for 'You didn't look good before, but now you do' ?

Fri. Jun 22, 7:27am

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Just a thought...maybe if these people are co-workers, they didn't want to offend you by commenting at all on your body. You know...inappropriate in a professional setting.
But to answer your question, everytime someone would tell me how great I looked due to my weightloss, the compliment would be followed with "not that you didn't look great before...but now..." Kinda funny. I would not be offended at all by the idea that I look better now anyway...I do, probably because I feel so much better!!!

Friday, June 22, 2007, 9:32 AM

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I think people get 'compliment-shy' because so many folks DO NOT know how to graciously accept a compliment.

You smile (either warmly or with excruciating politeness depending on the compliment and manner in which it is offered) and say "Why thank you, how good of you to notice!" or something to that effect. I have really cut down on the number of times I compliment someone because I don't want to get into an exchange about why I'm wrong :-(

Friday, June 22, 2007, 9:59 AM

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People just have different attitudes - I don't know what else to say - and yes, I mostly hold back from saying anything to others because I don't know how they will take it.
For whatever reason, I do not take praise well. Not that I prefer criticism or contempt... they are all a little hard to deal with in their own ways. I do not want to be employee of the month, or anything like that, either. I like to be respected, just not confronted about it, I guess. Maybe it's a feeling that even if I'm doing well, or seeming to, right now, tomorrow or next year I might be screwing up again and I don't especially want to think about who all is going to notice.
In those relationships where the trust factor is high enough, I don't feel as concerned. I have some of those, and it really is more about "trust" than "closeness". Trust in what? That's hard to put a finger on. Maybe trust that my best interests matter to the person, and that they have enough self-control and judgment so their actions will at least mostly be guided by that.

Friday, June 22, 2007, 10:57 AM

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I don't usually go around commenting on peoples appearance for no reason, why would you? I only comment if something had changed, like they lost weight. Would you rather they comment while you were gaining?

Friday, June 22, 2007, 11:53 AM

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i want the compliments! i've worked damn hard for what i've accomplished. it's no secret i was fat, and it's no secret i've lost weight and am continuing to do so. a little recognition for my hard work goes a long way to keep me motivated to keep going!

and when someone says something i genuinely say- thank you so much because it was so hard to do! it means a lot that you noticed. thanks.

Friday, June 22, 2007, 12:16 PM

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I wouldn't say I'm "offended" by it but I would prefer that people not comment on my body. Friends and family are different, of course, but I don't want coworkers commenting on me.

Friday, June 22, 2007, 3:54 PM

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OP here. It wasn't co-workers - it was just my coworker I was talking to who says she gets offended when people say something along the line of , "Hey you look great!" She feels they are implying she didn't look great before.

If someone says I look great I think "Thanks!" Why get offended if someone tells you you look great and it's the result of taking care of yourself??

Friday, June 22, 2007, 7:18 PM

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There are two sides to this. One, is the giving and taking of compliments in general. The other is the giving and taking of comments about a person's body specifically. For the one who dislikes receiving compliments of the second kind, perhaps the response could be "Thank you, but I look and feel great at different weights. Wouldn't you agree?" ;-)

No reason that we can't champion each other's successes, but some of these "complimenters" are sizing up other women regularly and finding them worthy or not worthy according to their size. They feel like they just HAVE to say something or they'll just BURST!

LOL, maybe like those who write long replies online? hehehehehe

In short, one can be fat AND happy. One can be fat AND happy AND losing weight AND happy at each stage. One can also be savvy about when such comments are welcome and reflective of what is driving US to make them.

Saturday, June 23, 2007, 9:53 AM

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I have only lost about 6 pounds in the past month, definitely slow going, and I don't think you can really tell a difference. My clothes fit better, is all. But for some reason my dad always says that I look "tinier and tinier" every time he sees me (about five times in the past month)! I didn't tell him I was trying to lose weight but when he mentioned the first time I did say, "Thanks, I'm trying to eat healthier." Now he always makes comments! I know I should take them as compliments but I feel like there really is no difference in how I look. It bothers me because I think its actually his way of trying to encourage me to keep losing weight, which is annoying because I'm doing this for me. And even though I know I'm overweight, I would like my dad to refrain from making it an issue.

Saturday, June 23, 2007, 12:13 PM

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3:54 here

I guess I'm thinking specifically of this pervy guy in my office who is always like, "Oh, you're losing weight, I can really tell. Your face is a lot thinner and your arms, etc." It really skeeves me out because why is this person spending so much time looking at/thinking about my body.

I also agree with the above poster in that it sort of irritates me when I know for a FACT that I haven't lost weight/inches and people continue to comment about me losing weight.

I don't know. Maybe I do have trouble taking compliments but I would just prefer that people not comment on my body. When I see someone that I haven't seen in a long time and they've lost weight I say, "It's so good to see you! You look great!" Then I can compliment without pointing out specifics.

Saturday, June 23, 2007, 2:20 PM

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I think there's a difference between some perv at work or where ever continually commenting on your body vs. someone who says 'Hey! You look great!" And I have a friend who would be insulted by the 'You look great!" because she would then complain "Did I look bad before?" I tell her she's crazy, but she's like that about everything. If someone compliments her outfit she immediately goes to, "What, my other outfits suck?" She's got issues me thinks!

I just think it's too bad that people are afraid to give compliments b/c others suck at receiving them! Tells me that people don't believe they're worthy of the compliment or something. Tell me I look great any day! I'll take it :)

Saturday, June 23, 2007, 7:05 PM

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When people comment "You're looking great" etc. you can mostly take that as a compliment. They may have different comfort levels than you, about what they will and will not compliment on, but mostly they are mentioning it because they've noticed, and think you're doing a good job.

Monday, June 25, 2007, 10:15 AM

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Why Take Offense

Sometimes people just want to be supportive and just don't know how to say the right thing.

Monday, June 25, 2007, 10:29 AM

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It's hard losing weight!

Most people know how hard it is to lose weight, and to me it's not really a 'you look great' kind of compliment that makes my day (although I like those, too), it's a 'you're doing great - way to go!' because it's an everyday challenge to lose weight. When I make the compliment I do it not as a body compliment, but as a will power compliment. And as for those people that don't like the compliments - get over it. People need to be kinder to each other, so if someone says something nice to you, say something nice back!

Monday, June 25, 2007, 11:34 AM

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here here 11:34!

Monday, June 25, 2007, 12:26 PM

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I get very irked by people commenting on my weight (or anybody elses' for that matter)- good or bad. I think people spend WAY too much time looking at others when they should be minding their own business. For some reason, we in this society, think other peoples' weight is somehow our business - open for discussion and perusal. Totally blows me away! We would never comment to our co-worker or neighbor who recently got a new car: "hey!, looks like you got a raise at work....did you?" Why would something as personal as our weight be open for public discussion? I know I'm the minority, but frankly I don't WANT to know that people are checking me out to the point that they notice my clothes are fitting looser.... sheesh!

Monday, June 25, 2007, 6:53 PM

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You must be fun to be around 6:53p! lol I guess I'm not understanding why a compliment (not an inquiry as to what a person's weighs) would be recieved so negatively. I think the question is simply why be offended if someone tells you in a non-leering kind of way - You look great. Seriously, if you can't take a compliment gracefully - you've got issues!

Monday, June 25, 2007, 7:39 PM

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It has nothing to do with not being able to take a compliment graciously. It has everything to do with people feeling they have the freedom to comment on my body - as if they somehow have a right to. My body belongs to myself and my husband - he's the only one who should be watching my body close enough to notice that it has changed. There's just something voyeristic about knowing that other people are so closely in tune with YOUR body that they notice it changing. Like I said, I don't wanna know.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007, 9:43 AM

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007, 4:25 PM

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6:53 / 9:43

So, if a woman from your office really liked a skirt that you were wearing, and "complimented" you on it, would she be looking to closely at your body? Would that be none of her business?
Sounds like you have poor self image if anything. Fat or thin

Tuesday, June 26, 2007, 4:52 PM

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4:52: Looking at someone's clothing and looking at what's under the clothing are two totally different things.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007, 5:52 PM

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Recently my neighbour got a new truck.

I commented on the truck. Something along the lines of "nice truck".

He said "thanks!" and smiled.

When people lose weight, it can be really noticeable. I've lost a bit of weight, and people notice. Whether it's "You look like you've lost some weight" or "you're looking great" I as a rule don't take offense, as none is meant. A simple "thanks" usually settles the situation.

If someone notices that I've lost a bit of weight, I don't usually assume that they regularly check me out or anything pervy. I also don't think that they've made it "their business" how much I weigh, or how my body looks. It's easy to notice when somebody loses a lot of weight. Your face seems to be one of the first places that you lose weight. I know I can see a huge difference in my driver's license photo. So I guess that means that someone could notice by looking me straight in the face.

You may be more worried about this than need be. Take some pride in your accomplishments. You've worked hard to lose the weight.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007, 5:56 PM

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It is easy to notice when someone loses weight, and when they cut their hair, or update their wardrobe, etc. Granted losing weight is a lot more difficult, but they're all things that are out there to be noticed! I agree, take pride in what has been accomplished and extend a simple 'thanks.' People are so quick to criticize and judge - maybe to not our faces, but in general, so how great is it that someone, with the best of intentions, makes the effort to say something nice.

Going back to the original post, it sounded like the other person was offended because she interpreted the compliment (repeat, the COMPLIMENT!!) as a slight against her former self (So, you're saying I didn't look good before??) That's just an interesting take on things. Using that logic - you could turn any compliment into a slight (What, I didn't do a great job on that last project?) Who wants to live like that?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007, 7:32 PM

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I don't think anybody has the entitlement to comment on anything about anybody unless asked, i.e. "do you like this new skirt?" I thinki it says a lot about our society that we feel we "need, or like" people to comment on us whether it's our weight, clothes, new car, etc. - how self centered is that? he who needs the "opinion" of others (and truly, that's all it is) - will find himself disappointed sooner or later."

Wednesday, June 27, 2007, 9:41 AM

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Wow, you guys are fun. I'm sure you don't have to worry about unsolicited compliments, you just exude a warmth and kindness that's sure to repel others.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007, 10:18 AM

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9:41 i really do agree with you. i just didn't want to say it.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007, 10:46 AM

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How about feeling like it's okay to give some words of encouragement to a friend or peer? I wouldn't exactly say that friendliness is a plague on our society.

I can't tell if you're joking around or not.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007, 10:51 AM

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OP here - WOW! I had no idea people were that opposed to having nice things said to them. I mean, my coworker only gets irked b/c she hasn't been getting compliments all along! I'm about as introverted and non-attention seeking as you get and I don't mind if someone has something nice to say to me about anything. I guess I have a hard time relating to that just b/c I like to say nice things to people . And, most people I compliment (on anything) really seem to enjoy it (and if they don't I learn to keep future compliments to myself). In fact, I noticed a woman at the gym who had been working with a trainer for months. I told her she looked great and that the sessions seemed to be paying off. She had a huge smile on her face and said I made her day. Oh well. To each their own. Most people who don't like that kind of interaction with others kind of put tthat vibe out there, anyway.

I'd like to compliment everyone on their input!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007, 1:24 PM

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Maybe it's a matter of context because I don't mind if someone compliments me about weight at the gym since we're all there for the same reason. And I also compliment others at the gym.

And just for the record, it's not as if I'm scowling and trying to be a jerk. If someone pays me a compliment, of course I say, "Thank you" and it's fine. But if the question is a matter of preference then, yes, in general I would prefer that people not comment on my body.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007, 1:56 PM

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some people say nice things to others for the purpose of having something nice said to them in response. it may be an empty comment, with implied intent to compliment, about something trivial to that person. for example, i may have a low self-esttem and want someone to tell me my hair looks nice or my shoes are fab, or that they heard i made a fantastic meal the other i just say the first thing i think of when i see someone that i know. i might say, "have you been working out?" because so many people work out nowadays and are so proud of the time they spend doing so, NOT because i notice anything about the person i'm talking to. maybe shallow, but a definite cry for attention.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007, 2:19 PM

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I have a friend from college visiting, she's in town for the weekend, and we haven't seen each other in awhile. When I picked her up at the airport she says, "You look fantastic! Have you lost weight?" I thought that it was great! I've worked very hard to get where I am. I'm very happy with my progress, I'm proud of how far I've come, and I definitely look better than I did 20 pounds ago!

I can't imagine being irked by a compliment (on weight loss) unless it was followed with a 'You NEEDED to lose weight!" or "You look SOooo much better" which kinda does imply you looked like crap before! Otherwise, I don't think most people are implying that with a simple 'You look great' compliment. Assume the best in people :)

Saturday, June 30, 2007, 9:25 AM

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I understand being offended if someone compliments you in a sexual/creepy way, but most of the time people want to compliment you because of something genuine. It depends on the comment and how it is said, sometimes I will be offended or annoyed, but usually it feels good! This thread made me realize I have a bad habit of turning down compliments even though I like them because I don't want to look arrogant. Another thing to work on!

Saturday, June 30, 2007, 9:44 AM

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yes, 9:44! It will do you wonders to accept a compliment without invalidating it, pointing out why they've got it wrong, etc.! A simple, "Thanks!" won't make you seem arrogant - you'll seem gracious and confident! If I give a compliment I don't want to have to argue with the person why they deserve it!!

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