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Burnett's Urban Etiquette

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Compliment etiquette

So I don't have an answer to this one.

It's not that serious, but I'm just curious: How do you respond when someone compliments something or someone related to you for something you had nothing to do with, but not you yourself?

What I mean is when someone tells you "Your dog is so cute!" what do you say?

Or, when your girlfriends tell you "Your boyfriend is a real hunk!" what do you say?

I don't know, but I've always felt weird in those situations like I'm accepting unearned praise, you know?

Then again, I'm nuts that way.

I'm thinking about this 'cause my wife and I were out handling business the other afternoon and a woman at this office we visited turns to me and says "She is so pretty!"

Without thinking I replied "Thanks!" Then I thought about it. I agree with that woman, but I didn't have anything to do with it.

How do you guys do it?

The only time I guess wouldn't feel like a dork when getting someone else's compliment is if - when we have kids - they say "What a cute baby!" or "Your child is so smart!"

I won't have a problem saying taking credit for those, 'cause I'll be half responsible for that kid's good looks and big brain.

I know. I'm nuts for even thinking about these things, but I'm still curious.


  • Cmon, dog. You posted this just to brag about how your woman is so fine?

    My answer would be "she is, isn't she?" and leave it at that. If you can't take credit, join the compliment.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:39 AM  

  • What do you mean? It's a compliment to you -- indirectly -- meaning 'you have good taste'!

    By Blogger Manola Blablablanik, at 1:21 AM  

  • I assume that it is a compliment for me too, if only because I chose my associations. I mean if there can be guilt by association why can't there be flattery by association?

    By Blogger Miamista, at 2:07 AM  

  • Ha! Cut me slack anonymous. Read the post again. This isn't about bragging.

    Seriously, I've always felt a little self-conscious about that whole other-people's-compliments thing.

    But your suggestion makes sense, as do Manola's and Miamista's.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 5:04 AM  

  • You could always respond by throwing them off:

    "Your dog is so cute!"

    "Yeah. And today he's hungover. You should see him on a good day."


    "Your boyfriend's such a hunk!"

    "Costco. Box of 6. Center aisle by the Tiki lamps."

    By Blogger Val Prieto, at 8:48 AM  

  • Yeah, do what Val says. But be funny.

    BTW you so bragging dude, subtly but obvious. It's OK.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:41 AM  

  • Wait ... can you really get boyfriends at Costco's?

    By Blogger Manola Blablablanik, at 2:08 PM  

  • Your reply should be..."aren't you jealous?"


    "I know, that's why I picked her."


    "Really? I never noticed"

    By Blogger Rune, at 7:25 PM  

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    By Blogger AnJaka, at 9:05 AM  

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