That's Not A Compliment, Actually
I feel like half the time I get a compliment, if I think about it for a second I realize I was actually being delicately insulted. Do these people even know what a compliment is? Have they ever gotten an actual, real compliment? I’m just confused about it because I grew up knowing what “compliment” meant. It was synonymous with “kind”, “thoughtful” and “nice”. I remember getting them because I’d break out in hives every time. I still do that. I’m currently doing that. Something happened around my freshman year of college, though, where people – HUMANS – all forgot what “compliment” meant. I remember because it was really scary, and also because they still gave me hives.
This is the image that comes up if you search “making friends in college” – that’s why the main pic is a lazy selfie. This doesn’t look like a good way to do anything. This looks scary. This guy is scary and he’s making those girls look at something horrible, but they’re embarrassed so they’re pretending it’s okay, BUT IT’S NOT.
A freshman in college is only doing one thing: trying to make friends. It’s a very desperate time for people. I thought I’d be fine because I already learned how to make friends. I learned how to make friends in pre-school, in elementary school (I went to like, six schools, but don’t feel bad for me – JK DO FEEL BAD FOR ME!) and then AGAIN in high school. That’s a lot of experience in friendship-making. I figured college would be the same, because people in college are just people who were in high school 12 weeks ago.
Here’s a pretty basic rundown of how I learned to make friends with strangers.
1. Find someone who has something in common with you… physically. Same shoes, same bracelet, same iPhone cover, bangs, whatever. Find them, and then point it out and start a little conversation! Get to know them! Make a FRIEND!
2. Talk about someone else in the group (I DON’T MEAN JUST GOSSIP, FOLKS). Was that girl in the front with the really loud bracelets just rude to the tour guide, and now you’re uncomfortable? Feel it, girl! Then see who else feels it. Then bond! Did the girl next to you just make a joke you wish you made? Tell her! Start some conversation.
3. Give a COMPLIMENT. Say something nice. “Hey, I like your ____!”
Isn’t this how the first few steps of making a new friend go? When you are forced to make friends out of thin air, what else can you do?
College got CRAZY and mixed it up. People started doing something really wild. They’d start out nice and then sneaky say something like this:
“Good for you for not caring what anyone thinks and wearing your hair in a ponytail to this.”
Thank you… I think? WAIT, WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY?
Good for me for not caring what anyone thinks? I do care! I care what everyone thinks! And now all of a sudden I especially care what you think! How come your hair isn’t in a ponytail? Is this not an okay thing to do with your hair?
“You actually seem really good tonight!”
Yeah, you know what, I am actually really good thank y–WAIT, YOU DID IT AGAIN!
Do I usually not seem good? Can you see my nerves? Why “actually”? Are you surprised? WHY ARE YOU SURPRISED?!
“You look so pretty when you smile, why aren’t you smiling?”
BOYS WHO SAY THIS TO GIRLS AT PARTIES, STOP IT. I’m not smiling because I’m tired, bored, sad or because this is how my face looks – whichever it is, it’s none of your business. At first when people did this I’d smile and blush and think, “That was so nice, so curious, so intuitive of them!” Then I’d get home, get in bed and my thoughts would be overwhelmingly negative about the conversation. Did I look so unhappy someone felt the need to come all the way across the room to tell me to smile? Do I look miserable, mean and unattractive if I’m not consciously putting a smile on my face? But yo, I figured it out. No one was being deep, kind or curious. They were NEGGING me. Negative complimenting. Bringing you down so they can bring you back up. It’s some sick thing guys do, and it’s horrible.
The other half of these “compliments” weren’t from guys, though, they were from girls. And that’s confusing when it happens, too. You don’t really know how to react, or what to make of it later, because it doesn’t make sense. It’s counter-intuitive. It’s actually a difficult thing to do gracefully. So why do it? Why do people say mean things and disguise them as nice things?
HELLO?! I’m actually asking! I don’ know.
I know it’s the worst. I know it makes you feel horrible. So hey, you guys LETS NOT!