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Old 09.12.2010, 11:54
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"Helpful" comments on others' appearance...

The festive season is upon us and with it there will be the inevitable increase of the backhanded compliment or, in some cases, the straightforward insult as you meet old friends and long-forgotten family members. Although, what I’m about to rant about is a year-round sport and the targets are usually us horizontally gifted folk (or the skinny ones, or the girls who doesn’t dress like Barbie, or...) and I’m wondering whether others get this too and how they deal with it.

Begin rant: You’re having a normal conversation about, say, the weather. Not food, not diet, not ANYTHING like that, just the weather. Yet somehow, the other person finds a way to deliver a variation on the following “you know, you have a really pretty face, if you lost some weight, you’d look great” or “you’re quite pretty, shame you are on the heavy side” or “you know, you really should lose weight, it’s bad for your health to be large”. And so on. WTF? It’s not like I hadn’t NOTICED that I’m overweight and I also didn’t wake up one morning and say to myself – "I know, I’ll get really fat, just to see what it’s like!"

So why in God’s name do people feel the need to a) tell me something I already know and b) make me feel pretty sh*t about myself into the bargain? I also know naturally skinny people who’ve had the “reverse” problem, getting called anorexic and stuff like that. If you inform the other party that, well, you’d rather not hear that sort of stuff, you invariably get some BS about “only trying to help / motivate / make a compliment”. Well I’ve been getting it a lot about my weight lately (ironically I’ve just lost about 20 lbs) and it’s really hurtful.

Whatever happened to “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”? Does anyone else have friends and family who are “helpful” like this? Are you “helpful” and if so, why? And finally – best comebacks?
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Old 09.12.2010, 12:02
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Re: "Helpful" comments on others' appearance...

Of course people that make those sorts of comments do so to make them feel better about themselves. There's always something about themselves that they don't like, and their way of dealing with it is to make other people feel bad.

Personally I don't understand the appeal of making comments like that to a nice person. I wasn't even sure what to say when a friend of mine lost over 50kg (I did say she looked amazing, but I didn't know whether or not it sounded like I was saying "you were such a huge elephant before").

These people are insecure. I would say ignore it, but obviously it's easier said than done. You're a human being, you deserve better treatment than that. If you want revenge, try and target something about the other person that they may feel self-conscious about. I don't normally take that route, but if I feel comfortable enough with the person (i.e. if I know them and I know they're a bitch) and I'm having a bad day, then I'll try and pinpoint something they're likely to feel bad about.
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Old 09.12.2010, 12:03
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Re: "Helpful" comments on others' appearance...

Some people are just missing that "processing" chip in their brains ie: they'll spew out whatever is in their heads without thinking first. And some just get the perverse satisfaction from delivering such vicious comments, disguised as "concern". Fortunately, a majority of people arent like that. Just remember, that these are the miserable ones.

I'll just ignore those comments, and those BS excuses of "only trying to help". There really isnt anything you can do except to thicken your skin further because they are what they are. If you are really displeased, a simple "when I want your opinion, I'll ask for it. Ta!" or "Yes, I am aware that I am on the heavy side, and fortunately, it can be worked on, which I am doing at the moment - unlike your verbal incontinence. Shame..." usually works. I mean, sod any relations. No need to bother being nice to such brainless twats, is there?
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Old 09.12.2010, 12:14
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Re: "Helpful" comments on others' appearance...

Maybe you could go on the offensive? For example when they drive up to the house in their new car you might say "only the 2.2 eh? May if you'd worked a little harder..." or something similar. Treat this as an educational experience that they so richly deserve.
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Old 09.12.2010, 12:15
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Re: "Helpful" comments on others' appearance...

well i've tried to lose weight since moving here and i have - i think it has to do with no layers to hide under! (also the heat and sweating, swimming and a tan helps to slim you...lol)
not trying to say that you need to come back to malaysia to lose weight - not saying you need to lose weight at all! (well we've discussed this blah blah blah)
just try not to let it spoil your christmas.
trust me if it's not your weight,
it's " seeing anyone?"
or "still no kids?"

some people are never satisfied and will find something to pick on - no matter how perfect you are (and we are both pretty perfect )

merry xmas and eat a mince pie for god's sake!!!!
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Old 09.12.2010, 12:17
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Re: "Helpful" comments on others' appearance...

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“you know, you have a really pretty face, if you lost some weight, you’d look great” or “you’re quite pretty, shame you are on the heavy side”
"Thanks, I agree that my position is more comfortable than yours. Being heavy but pretty means that I can fix it if I want to..."
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Old 09.12.2010, 12:23
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Re: "Helpful" comments on others' appearance...

I recently went back to the UK for a couple of days and stayed with my parents. Now I have ranted regarding my mother before in other areas, but first words out of her mouth were, 'My God, you look awful. You look really tired!'. Now bearing in mind it was nearly midnight and I'd been travelling. But hey, I just smiled and said 'nice to see you Mum'. Making no comment about what I thought she looked like.

These days I am learning to hold my breath, bite my tongue and count to ten. To not retaliate on the fact that if these people took a look in the mirror there is plenty they could improve. That would be just as bad. But maybe thats it, maybe they are not comfortable with themselves and make themselves feel better sniping at others. Personally I am with the 'if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all camp'. Or I just lie and say 'Oh, you look really well'.
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Old 09.12.2010, 12:24
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Re: "Helpful" comments on others' appearance...

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"Thanks, I agree that my position is more comfortable than yours. Being heavy but pretty means that I can fix it if I want to..."
Or...

"actually you're wrong. I gained weight specifically to hide my horrific ugliness from the world. To further guard against inflicting my grotesque appearance on anyone else I'm considering packing on another 50kgs.
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Old 09.12.2010, 12:28
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Re: "Helpful" comments on others' appearance...

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I recently went back to the UK for a couple of days and stayed with my parents. Now I have ranted regarding my mother before in other areas, but first words out of her mouth were, 'My God, you look awful. You look really tired!'. .
people who know me know my pet peeve are comments like
"smile!" or "you look so miserable" even when you are feeling ok.i mean who goes around with a permanent smile on their face anyway?
comments like that just put you in a right f.... off mood...for the whole day.

meh
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Old 09.12.2010, 12:28
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Re: "Helpful" comments on others' appearance...

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I recently went back to the UK for a couple of days and stayed with my parents. Now I have ranted regarding my mother before in other areas, but first words out of her mouth were, 'My God, you look awful. You look really tired!'. Now bearing in mind it was nearly midnight and I'd been travelling. But hey, I just smiled and said 'nice to see you Mum'. Making no comment about what I thought she looked like.
Yeah, but parents (mums in particular, in my experience) have a gift for doing this. My mum (158cm) used to weigh around 110kg. She now weighs about 70. Great for her, but she seems to feel the need to put me down to make herself feel better. I'm 172cm and weigh 73-75kg. I was dressed up as a cheerleader at a party at our house, and she came up to me and went "oh, what a porky little belly!". Why was that necessary? Like I say, to make herself feel better (as she now weighs less than me).

Last edited by Kamarate; 09.12.2010 at 12:45.
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Old 09.12.2010, 12:29
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Re: "Helpful" comments on others' appearance...

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The festive season is upon us and with it there will be the inevitable increase of the backhanded compliment or, in some cases, the straightforward insult
  • as you meet old friends
This is why you got new friends.
Quote:
  • and long-forgotten family members
And this is why they are forgotten.

Quote:
And finally – best comebacks?
"And to think I had forgotten what an insufferable douchebag you are. I'll try to remember next time."

When they're no longer friends or people you're jammed with due to sharing some DNA, might as well throw some gas on that bridge before lighting the match. Then grab some marshmallows (or chestnuts as 'tis the season).

Last edited by bozothedeathmachine; 09.12.2010 at 12:32. Reason: More vitriol to add.
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Old 09.12.2010, 12:32
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Re: "Helpful" comments on others' appearance...

If you think well-meaning relatives are bad, try spending some time round small children...

Blunt doesn't even begin to describe it...
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Old 09.12.2010, 12:34
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Re: "Helpful" comments on others' appearance...

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people who know me know my pet peeve are comments like
"smile!" or "you look so miserable" even when you are feeling ok.i mean who goes around with a permanent smile on their face anyway?
comments like that just put you in a right f.... off mood...for the whole day.

meh
Yeap, I get that. My response has always been:
"Cant help it. Was born with this facial flaw."

(remember to accompany that statement with a sad smile)
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Old 09.12.2010, 12:38
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Re: "Helpful" comments on others' appearance...

I am still having issues with my self esteem and it reaches back to the time from when I was about 7 to the time I went to the University.

I was a normal child/teenager but had this bad luck of having a skinny cousin of exactly my age. So comparing us in a way to make me feel like an ugly elephant was normal i.e. "Oh Kate could be a model or an actress, she sooo pretty. And Ania? Hmm Ania? Well Ania certainly not. Maybe she could work as an accountant or something, no idea...". How could one be so clueless? No idea.

Yeah, I know. I am still bitter about it. I need a therapy...
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Old 09.12.2010, 12:39
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Re: "Helpful" comments on others' appearance...

One time after my boyfriend left to go back to Switzerland after visiting, I was upset (obviously). Some complete stranger (may I add a pervy, middle-aged man) said to me "Cheer up, darlin', it might never 'appen!". Ugh. I hate that phrase.
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Old 09.12.2010, 12:50
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Re: "Helpful" comments on others' appearance...

I feel your pain.
My grandmother is an expert at this; a few weeks ago she took great joy in telling me how "schön mollig" (nicely chubby) I am. Now I'm no catwalk model, but I ain't a hippo either. gah. Way to kick my self esteem and make me feel like cr*p, thanks Grosi.
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Old 09.12.2010, 12:58
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Re: "Helpful" comments on others' appearance...

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When they're no longer friends or people you're jammed with due to sharing some DNA, might as well throw some gas on that bridge before lighting the match. Then grab some marshmallows (or chestnuts as 'tis the season).
i'll make sure never to get on your bad side :-p


ps. cheer up misery guts!
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Old 09.12.2010, 13:01
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Re: "Helpful" comments on others' appearance...

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“you know, you have a really pretty face, if you lost some weight, you’d look great” or “you’re quite pretty, shame you are on the heavy side” or “you know, you really should lose weight, it’s bad for your health to be large”.

Whatever happened to “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”? Does anyone else have friends and family who are “helpful” like this? Are you “helpful” and if so, why? And finally – best comebacks?
How can I write this without be groaned at... at least you have a pretty face (gorgeous at that) and are making fabulous progress on the diet. No amount of dieting can fix fug.

When family and friends says things like you've heard I respond: "you know why I am having these difficulties and why I am like this. But, I am trying to rectify the situation. Please, it hurts when you remind me of what I already know. Okay?!!".
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Old 09.12.2010, 13:05
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Re: "Helpful" comments on others' appearance...

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How can I write this without be groaned at... at least you have a pretty face (gorgeous at that) and are making fabulous progress on the diet. No amount of dieting can fix fug.
Why would anyone groan at you for that? (OK, lots of people on here groan for no reason so I suppose I can understand why you would think that). It's true, though. My boyfriend's ex kept calling me fat (as I said, I'm 172cm and weigh 73-75kg, so could stand to lose a bit, but am by no means enormous!) but she has a face even her own mother couldn't love... I know which I'd rather be!

Kittster, you should be really proud of yourself for losing the weight. 20lb is impressive, and if you continue in that way, you'll be well on your way to skinnyville
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Old 09.12.2010, 13:11
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Re: "Helpful" comments on others' appearance...

I have an aunt who I see about once every three years but every time she sees me her first comment is "how much weight you've put on?" after 30 years of hearing this I was fed up so
last time I was ready for her, my comment:-
"If i'd put all that much weight on I should really be in the zoo, but tell me how much have you lost? it must be really hard loosing it all from your brain"
Needless to say I dont think she likes me (thank God for that)and just to say I've weighed the same for about the last ten years
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