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Post in Besides Beauty

Backhanded compliments and how to respond

Almost every time I go out shopping or out to eat, whether I have only 1 kid or all my kids with me, I will get a question like, “How many kids do you have?” or “Are all those yours?” When I say, “I have 4” or “Yep, all mine!” I inevitably get told, “Wow! You look so good for having 4 kids!” I always give an enthusiastic “Thanks!” but it makes me wonder, what if I only had 2 kids? Would I still look good then? What if I didn't have any kids?


This statement is often followed by the question, “What do you do to stay so thin?” and an expression that implies they are waiting for some kind of epiphany. “I eat 3 pumpkin seeds and then do a somersault every day.” (I’ve never said anything like that but I’ve thought about it.)

If I try to keep it light and say, “Oh they keep me busy! I don’t sit down much!” Like the lady yesterday, I will get a story about how much running around she does and look at her… What am I supposed to say to that? Do they want me to agree with them or tell them they look great? If I give them the common sense answer,“ I don’t eat a lot of crap and I work out” I get a blank stare and a disappointed “Oh.”

Then I walk away feeling awkward and her probably thinking I’m a ______ (insert word that rhymes with itch.)


Thanks for listening to my annoyed rant. How do you handle similar situations? Any witty comeback suggestions?

Re: Backhanded compliments and how to respond

No its wonderful! you have to find a happy medium Smiley Happy

Re: Backhanded compliments and how to respond

I completely agree with finding a balance! And I think not having a scale is such an amazing concept. When I moved, I threw mine away and haven't looked back. 

Re: Backhanded compliments and how to respond

YES! Balance! I keep my scale in the garage because it's A. old & ugly B. never unpacked it C. don't have a place for it in our bathroom Smiley Tongue 

I can usually tell my weight by how my clothes fit & how I feel. I eat right & I try to exercise, but I still indulge. I have a tank top that fits differently depending on how toned/not toned I am. So instead of stepping on a scale, I put the shirt on. 

Re: Backhanded compliments and how to respond

You have the right outlook!

Re: Backhanded compliments and how to respond

Uggh! Both sides of my family as well as STRANGERS are always, always asking me when I'm going to have another kid. People see my 4 year old son, ask his age, comment on his cuteness or whatever and then immediately ask me about when I'm going to have another and then have the gall to tell me that my son "needs a sibling". The thing is my husband and I both want another kid so badly, but we simply, absolutely cannot afford one right now. I am an only child and while some only children loved growing up that way, I hated it. I always wanted a sibling - so I promised myself I would have at least two children. People have no idea how hurtful it is for them to ask me these things. Smiley Sad So I could say "our family is perfect just as we are" even though that's actually not how I truly feel. What else can I really say? Even with our relatives I don't want to tell them why we actually haven't had another kid yet. I wish I had some line prepared in my head that expressed how rude they are being but in backhanded way.

Re: Backhanded compliments and how to respond

I used to get all the time when my daughter was little, "when are you having another one?" or directly to her "do you want a little sister or brother?"  (she didn't and is now 33 and still thrilled to be an only child.)  It's just a rude question, and you shouldn't have to reply.  The amount of children you have is a personal decision based on so many factors, including financial, and is an individual decision not subject to group discussion!

Re: Backhanded compliments and how to respond

I used to get the oh when are you due comments when I was heavier.  Boy did that tick me off to no end but you should see the look on people's faces when you reply oh I'm not pregnant.  I remember one guy asking me when I was due when my husband was with me I didn't even have a chance to reply my husband said very loudly why is that any of your dang business when my wife is due...again not pregnant but boy was he more ticked then I was.  Now a days I get the when are you gonna have children from my family, you've been with your husband almost 11 years now...my answer when we are ready and why is it any of your business anyways!...I have a bit of evil streak in me when it comes to questions about having children.  People can just be so rude & impolite sometimes.  Like my life is a total strangers business.

 

Next time some stranger asks you if they are all your kids or how many kids you have ask them what business is it of yours?!?  I beat that will shut them up!  Smiley Happy

Re: Backhanded compliments and how to respond

Or tell them none, these one just follow you around for no reason.

Re: Backhanded compliments and how to respond

hahaha!

Re: Backhanded compliments and how to respond

LOL.  Now that's an awesome response to say!

Re: Backhanded compliments and how to respond

LOL!  I've joked about that to my husband many times!  "I don't know who keeps letting these kids in our house."  But I've never thought about saying that in public.  Ha!  Definitely going to do that.

Re: Backhanded compliments and how to respond

I think when I'm pregnant and someone asks when I am due, it'll be funny to tell them I'm not pregnant... just to see their reaction. 

Re: Backhanded compliments and how to respond

That's a good one Panda... I'll have to remember that one! 

Re: Backhanded compliments and how to respond

Frankly, I hope I remember it too haha

Re: Backhanded compliments and how to respond

ROFL.  The look on their face will be priceless.  Smiley Wink

Re: Backhanded compliments and how to respond

I only have one child.  Before I became pregnant with her I got a lot of snide comments about being "so skinny".  I gained a substantial amount of weight when I was pregnant and it took a year or so to lose it.  People who knew me were actually disappointed that I went for a bit being heavier than I was pre pregnancy and not snapping back quickly enough!  I eventually did get to pre pregnancy weight, but as time went on I have gained and lost weight over the years and I am always amazed that people are so free to give an opinion on either. My daughter is now 33 and she is really slender, eats really well, it's just her nature to be thin.  I can't tell you how many people have said downright mean things to her because she is thin, and they think they are being funny.  In my opinion, unfortunately it's jealousy.  Women are still primarily judged by and subsequently some are obsessed by, appearance and body type.  She is a college grad and a business owner, but she gets more attention, sometimes good, sometimes snide, for being thin!  I know why it annoys you, it's just ridiculous.

Re: Backhanded compliments and how to respond

Some people think thin people are immune to the effects of body shaming- not true!

I am naturally on the slender side.  A couple of years ago, I got a terrible bout of viral gastroenteritis the week before I was supposed to defend my doctoral dissertation.  The combination of not being able to keep any food down for a week + the stress of "OMG THESIS DEFENSE"   and my weight had dropped to a severe, unhealthy  number in the double digits.  

 

I have a co-worker who STILL brings up how "awful" I looked when i started working my current job. 

 

Excuse me for getting sick TWO YEARS AGO and not looking fabulous every freaking moment of my life.  Sheesh.

Re: Backhanded compliments and how to respond

I look like sh** at 135 (maybe it was 130, either way). My face is sunken in, I don't fill out my jeans, I don't feel like myself. Some wouldn't consider that too skinny, but for me, it's terrible (years and years ago when I had a sinus infection for the first time). They shouldn't be putting it that way, people have weird ways of saying you look better now, and maybe in a weird way, caring about your health!

Re: Backhanded compliments and how to respond

I think there is a very narrow of what an appropriate body weight is and that everyone on either side gets slammed with body shame.  

and it sucks.

Re: Backhanded compliments and how to respond

One time, thanks to a new medication side effect followed by a three-day stomach flu, i dropped down to 115 lbs. (I'm 5'3"). When I was well enough to go back to work, one of my friends who's known me since high school (and when I was 140 lbs.) saw me and said "Dang, girl! You need to eat." I usually try to keep my weight around 120. Usually I get jokes about my height or lack of it. I learned a long time ago to laugh along with them since there's nothing I can do to change my height.

 

My youngest sister is 5'9' and a size 2. She can eat a family size bag of chips and not gain an ounce. She hated being so tall and thin growing up since it presented challenges when it came to shopping for pants and jeans.

Re: Backhanded compliments and how to respond

I'm 5'3" and 115 all the time and I think it's a good weight because I am so short,but I could understand how your friend felt because 25 pounds would make a huge difference in someone's appearance.

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