If you have to compliment me, please keep in mind that I’m a girl. Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary defines “girl” as a neurotic mess who will invariably find a way to make whatever you’ve said into an insult.
Let’s take this morning, for example…
Coworker (female): “Look at you!”
Me: “Look at me?”
Coworker: “You look so fancy today!”
Me: [glaring] “This is the way I dress.”
Clearly, my coworker was simply telling me that I looked nice. To me, however, what she said implied that I usually don’t look this good. The nerve of some people.
Another coworker came to my cube a few minutes later and said, “I like your suit!” With narrowed eyes, she asked, “Are you interviewing?” Now THAT made me smile for about ten seconds before I figured out a way to be offended by it. (She hoped that I had an interview because she wants me out of there.)
The take-home message here is to know your audience. “Nice suit. You’re beautiful,” is a great way to go.