Back-Handed Compliments

Surprised woman isolated against white background

Back-Handed Compliments

We have all been the victims of intentionally kind remarks, which weren’t really that kindly intended. What they really were are handy insults disguised as praise. The speaker’s true intentions poke through like a jolt of whiskey when water was expected. This collection of “back-handed compliments,” as they are commonly known, is a real hoot. And it is authentic too. These have not emanated from the warped mind of a humorist; they are authentic, most of them actually said or, thought to have been said by supposed well-meaning friends and allies. Or are they? That’s a reasonable question to ask. Bouquets or barbs?

To a pastor: You’re sermon was excellent. I especially enjoyed the ending.

To a mature woman: You have a nice figure for a woman your age.

To a bride: You look fantastic today!

To an acne-plagued adult: You still look like a teenager.

To a singer: Your voice sounds great, just like Bob Dylan’s.


To an abstract artist: It’s no wonder people don’t understand your paintings.

To a new employee: We hardly notice it when you’re not here.

To a green-haired model: Your doo looks like a million bucks.

To a chronic loser: You try too hard. Next time shoot for second place.

To a tramp: You’re not a bum, you’re just living economically.

To a smoker: I don’t mind if you light up but is your life insurance current?

To a geek: Your awfully dumb for all your intelligence.

To a high school senior: I was surprised to see you in the honor society.

To a lazy spouse: You’re a model to others in the ways you save energy.

To a musician: You look like you know how to play.

To a salon customer: You look much nicer than the last time you cam here.

To a snooty neighbor: You’re the epitome of individualist.

To a finicky investor: You’re not indecisive, you’re just ultra conservative.

To a bi-sexual: I wouldn’t call you confused; you’re just flexible.

To a taxi driver: I’ve never heard a cabbie speak better than you.

To a smartass: For a person of your intelligence you’re pretty stupid.

To a street sweeper: Think of all the money you saved by not going to school.

To a competitor: I can’t meet you on that level but you do well there.

To a slob: I envy you the time you save in not bathing or cleaning.

To a drunk: You’re awfully tough when you drink. It took six cops to arrest you.

To a hair-stylist: I know a nice hat that will go with this haircut.

To a parent: Congratulations; your kid is not that obnoxious today.

To a cheapskate: How much didn’t you spend to look that good?

To a poor student: At least your confusion with math is consistent.

To a host: This tastes pretty good for frozen food.

To a lazy person: You’re not slow, you’re just tired.

To a tattooed woman: I love your new tattoo but what exactly is it?


To a cross-eyed date: You have beautiful blue eyes. At least one of them is.

To a masseuse: Your hands are as soothing as sandpaper.

To a barfly: You look like you’ve had only five tequila shots, not ten.

To a jerk: Congratulations on graduating that personality improvement course.

To a blind date: I don’t go out often but I think you’re pretty.

To a mendicant: For a beggar, you’re a very talented.

To a rival: For an inconsiderate person, it’s not as if you lack tact and kindness.

To a food server: You are the best waitress I’ve ever tip-stiffed.

To an employee: Even though others do it, I don’t consider you a complete idiot.

To a bi-polar person: You’re not crazy just a little unstable.

To a middle-aged brat: You look and act half your age.

To a bratty teenager: I find your child-like qualities appealing.

To a rude relative: Your warmth is positively chilling.

To a dinner date: It could be your smile or that burrito I just ate.

To a high-school dropout: Don’t be regretful, you just peaked too soon.

To a chronic loser: Your failures are a testament to your perseverance.

To a non-amorous date: Your eyes are as arresting as a stop sign.

To an appliance repairman: You are as punctual as the cable man.

To an annoying friend: I never let my friends get under my skin.

To a physician: For relative of Hitler your bedside manner is pretty impressive.

To a cop: Plenty of incompetent people carry firearms.


To a graduate: It’s good to know your college lowered its admission standards.

To a dentist: I only grew a half-inch waiting to see you.

To a slacker: You’re not a failure; you’re just naturally rebellious.

To an acne-scared teen: Some of your pimples are actually kind of cute.

To a spendthrift spouse: Your idea of budget management is governmental.

To an enemy: I fear you too much to be totally truthful with you.

To a daredevil: I admire the way you do truly dumb things over and over again.

To a babysitter: I’m not saying you stink but even free is too much for you.

To a baseball player: When you swing and miss at least the breeze feels good.

To a bum: It must be nice not to have to earn a living or pay rent.

To an interior designer: I like eclectic tastes but my family doesn’t.

To a chef: This is the tastiest crunchy pudding I’ve ever tasted.

To a fat child: Nobody eats candy bars like you do.

To a horrible dresser: What do I know? I’m not a trendsetter like you are.

To a boring professor: Your lectures are excellent for putting students to sleep!

To a cheapskate: The art on your walls are good examples of spray painting.

To an arrestee: That raincoat over your head was a very fashionable.

To a newlywed husband: Let’s just say I don’t miss my inflatables that much.

To a prisoner: You look like you were born behind bars.

To a mother-in-law: You deserve a reward for raining s daughter like my wife.

To a psych major: I’m sure you’ll enjoy your unemployment check.

To an ex-spouse: There was no reason for us to divorce except the obvious ones.

To a craft brewer: Your new beer is certainly a thirst quencher!



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