Accepting compliments isn’t my strong suit. In my head, I flutter my eyelashes and flick my hair with a confident-sounding “thank you for the kind words” but the reality is rather different.
Quite often, I find myself attempting to justify the way I look to the person flattering me in a bizarre tirade, filled with insecurity and self-doubt.
“Oh, I only put a dress on because I’m out to dinner later! I’m going straight after work and the restaurant is rather fancy so I don’t want to look out of place. It’s silly, I know; I hope I don’t look too ridiculous! I’ll be back to resembling a garden gnome tomorrow, don’t you worry!”
This makes it clear to the individual trying to compliment me that I feel uncomfortable with this particular conversation and would prefer to discuss the weather. They usually leave the room afterwards, so it works like a charm.
Unfortunately, I still haven’t mastered the skill of responding to the backhanded compliment. A pre-coffee conversation with a work-colleague this morning is a classic example.
“You look nice today Helen, I see you put some make-up on!”
“Yeah, I had some extra time this morning so I thought I’d get my spade out and go to town.”
“It looks good, you don’t usually make an effort.”
I wish I’d replied with wit and sass, but in reality I mumbled a quick “thanks” and told her what a lovely top she was wearing. Next time, I’ll ask whether she borrowed it from her mother.