Monday, May 18, 2009

Not a compliment?

Have you ever had someone say something to you that seemed like a compliment, but then later wondered if that's what it really was? This happened to me a lot in high school. People told me often that I looked "comfortable." I'm pretty sure that wasn't actually a compliment. Has anyone ever told you that? I doubt it.

Last week, I watched Squeaky Bean at a soccer game as she fell down, dropped her french fries on the asphalt, stood up, picked up her french fries and put them back in her mouth.

"At least you got your fries," I said. "Good girl."

The man standing next to me said, "You are a very laid back mother. Most of the moms I know would be freaking out."

"Yeah, well, I was one of six growing up. I'm pretty relaxed," I responded modestly, secretly feeling smug to have avoided the panicky 'new mom' stage.

About a minute later, I thought, "Maybe that's not a compliment."

What do you think?

At least it's better than getting a slightly cushioned criticism. Ever have someone say something completely rude to you and then add, "No offense," like those two words were a magic eraser for the awful thing they just said? I still remember riding the bus home from school in the springtime of my 4th grade year. I was wearing shorts, sitting on the sticky brown vinyl seat and my legs were shaking with the force of the bumpy road and diesel engine. That's when my friend turned to me and said, "Your legs are flopping like a flounder out of the water. No offense."