As a person who creates, you’re bound to get feedback. Both good and bad.
But over the years I found that there’s a type of feedback that falls in a gray area between these two extremes. They’re called compliments. Although they’re usually well meaning, some can be deadly to one’s sense of self and productivity.
Over the next several blogs, I want to delve into dangerous compliments that can kill creativity, how to spot them and what to do with them. You can read the previous post here.
Here’s #2: “Only someone like you could do something like that.”
Why you may hear this: It’s sexier than saying “You’re weird.”
How to reply: Smile
This compliment is a tricky one. I put it on the same level as the saying ‘Bless your heart.’
In the Southern US this saying is a socially polite put down (I’ve heard it referred to as the Southern lady’s way of giving you the middle finger while smiling).
However, in the Northeastern part of the US this saying is used as a genuine way to thank someone.
So why do I have a problem with “Only someone like you can do something like that”? Because like ‘bless your heart’ it’s loaded with different meanings, the main one being that you’re somehow different than ‘ordinary’ people.
So because this saying can have double meanings you have to think of who is giving this compliment? If it’s coming from someone who knows your struggles, knows your drive and respects your ambitions and they’re trying to pump you up and say that you’re special. Fine.
BUT if this is a rival. Someone who wants to see you fall. Someone who is jealous of your success, throw this compliment away. They are trying to belittle your efforts and your victory. They are trying to come up with a reason you succeeded and they didn’t. They want to trivialize what you’ve accomplished.
One reply can be ‘No, anybody can do it.’ But this may set you up for an argument so my ‘smile’ suggestion still stands. Just know that when you hear this compliment it’s usually not flattering.
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“Dangerous Compliments #2” © 2016 Dara Girard; Image copyright at top of post © 2016 by Valerie Garner/123rf