Let’s focus on what we’re here to do
Our society is focused on how people look. You can’t turn a page in a magazine or watch a movie or tv show without getting at least one advertisement for beauty products. Everyone wants to look nice, but should you notice this at work?
“You look nice today.”
I know that when someone says this to me, they are trying to be nice. No question, we all want to hear that we look good, but this compliment always makes me cringe. Like, what? I didn’t look good yesterday? What about the day before?
What’s the solution?
I think there are a couple of ways you can make this compliment better. I would say a better idea would be to compliment specifically. “That outfit looks great on you.” “I love the way you did your hair today.”
And for the record, I wouldn’t recommend these unless you have that kind of relationship.
I know we’re supposed to be gender neutral, but I think that opposite gender compliments could go wrong very quickly.
Why do we need to compliment each other at work on our looks? I would much rather hear that I did a good job on a project than you like my hair today.
I want to know how much my input is valued and appreciated, not my looks.
Tell me how my presentation inspired you or how I affected you. Acknowledge my efforts and skills, not my appearance.
Regardless of gender, show appreciation for their work first
Quite frankly, sexual harassment is no longer simply about opposite sexes, either. Focusing on how someone appears and commenting on it, no matter which sex is on the receiving end, could be misconstrued. Why take the chance someone misinterprets your compliment?
Before you open your mouth at work, think twice. You may mean to be nice and complimentary, but it might not sound like that to the person you’re speaking to in the business environment. Save your compliments for your friends. Show appreciation to your colleagues for their contribution.