IP:220.* * *
Negging – a favourite of pickup artists and other shady characters – is basically an insult disguised as a compliment.
You may not mean to neg a woman, but a compliment might veer into that territory. For example: ‘You look so cute! My gran has the exact same dress!’ or ‘I adore your little snub nose.’
These are ‘compliments’ that will earn you a cold silence from a woman. She’s not going to notice the ‘cute’ part; it doesn’t count when she’s worried that her dress makes her look matronly or that she has an unfortunate nose.
There are plenty of other things you can compliment her on that won’t have the added effect of making her feel insecure.
Don’t make a joke of it
Flirting can be scary at the best of times. You’re making yourself vulnerable when you do it, and it’s perfectly natural to want to offset that with humour. You want to tease a woman instead of complimenting her – but being earnest is probably the best approach when it comes to compliments. Women recognise sincerity and are grateful for it.
Instead of ‘I’d tell you how cute you look today, but of course you already know that hahahahaha’, try a simple ‘You look really lovely today, by the way.’
That way, she won’t have to smile awkwardly or wonder whether it’s a joke or not.
Do compliment her on things other than her appearance
When complimenting women, it’s good to keep in mind that women are likely to be wary of comments on their physical appearance, and are much more receptive to compliments on their intelligence, wit, or sense of humour (In fact, they are almost never appreciated for the latter, so go ahead, tell her that she’s one of the funniest people you know).
If you do make a comment on her physical appearance, the golden rule is to keep it general. ‘You look beautiful,’ to your date, NOT ‘you have a very sexy neck.’ No matter how sexy her neck is, pointing out one hyperspecific area of her body can feel gross and objectifying.
Don’t be abrasive or grudging
Sadly many men adopt a slightly hostile or abrasive tone when they compliment women. It’s another defence mechanism that you have to let go of.
Remember, the purpose of a compliment is to make somebody feel better about themselves. Do it with a smile on your face and in a pleasant tone: don’t say it as if you had a gun to your head.
People don’t notice what you’re saying as much as the tone you’re saying it in, so a good compliment is completely wasted if it’s delivered poorly.
Finally, remember how powerful compliments can be
Ask most people and they’ll tell you: yes, they remember the best compliment they ever received. Even if it was five years ago, in the club loo and it was a drunk compliment from another girl.