ARA: Is it OK to compliment a member of the opposite sex?

A reader asks (via Facebook):

checking outIs it OK to compliment a member of the opposite sex with totally non romantic intention on their dress or a personal feature? Talking bank teller, flight attendant, and similar. What do women in particular feel comfortable with from someone they don’t know? Nice sweater? You have a great smile? Your eyes are a beautiful color? and similar.

Not sure where the limits are, knowing that they have clearly changed, even for coworkers, and there is no way to communicate that the compliment is being given purely to be nice.

3 thoughts on “ARA: Is it OK to compliment a member of the opposite sex?

  1. Megan

    Personally, if it’s a body feature you’re better off staying away. If it’s something they’re wearing, then no problem. I get compliments from strangers all the time on a necklace I like to wear, but if someone, especially of the opposite sex, said “Oh you have really nice eyes,” I’d probably be a bit weirded out that they were looking at me that closely. Unless my eyes were something remarkable, which they aren’t. If it’s clothing, then maybe something along the lines of “I like that color on you” or similar, but if you’re saying she has a nice sweater, make sure you’re looking at her face when you deliver the line… 😉

  2. stephanie

    It’s fine to compliment- Personally,I try to compliment at least 3 people per day–It makes their day, and mine better However, I would never compliment on something they had nothing to do with, such as eyes, features, whatever- I will compliment an article of clothing, a color, or if I saw the way they treated someone else– perhaps a bag they were carrying, or if their children were well behaved–again, I wouldn’t say–oh your Son/Daughter is so cute–but I would say how well behaved, polite, etc they were.

  3. Dan

    I agree with some other comments. Do NOT complement anything to do with a woman’s physical appearance, ever. That could be taken as flirting, or worse. But, complementing their clothing or accessories or their skills, is OK, as long as it is done in a non-creepy way. The same way you might complement a man. If you’re doing it just to be nice, it is cool. However, if you are doing it to somehow get closer to the woman (like eventually get a date or something) be VERY careful. That can be a mine field…..


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