How To Give Compliments The Old-Fashioned Way, According To Experts
If you're someone who likes to tell the people in your life that you genuinely appreciate them, you might have run out of creative ways of giving someone a compliment. After all, there are only so many times you can say something like "I like your shirt" or "You're a nice person." Sometimes, you want to shake things up and say something that they won't forget. That's why bringing back some old-fashioned compliments can be a fun and unique way of telling someone what they mean to you.
The point of paying someone a compliment is to let them know that they're seen and loved for exactly who they are. "Whether your compliments are old-fashioned, like 'You're my hero' or not, they are a wonderful way to show others that we're paying attention, we noticed the good things they did, and we appreciate them for it," BJ Gallagher, a sociologist and author of Your Life Is Your Prayer, tells Bustle. Plus, it's always fun to learn new words, especially when they're nice words that you can use to make your loved ones feel great. As long as you sincerely mean what you're saying, it's sure to mean a great deal to them.
Here are some old-fashioned compliments we should bring back, according to experts.
1. "You're The Top"
"You're the best" is probably something that you find yourself telling people pretty often. While this sentiment is great, the frequency with which this phrase is said could dilute some of its impact. Instead, try using the old-fashioned compliment "You're the top." "Cole Porter’s song, 'You’re the Top,' from the 1934 musical Anything Goes is very clever, witty and a is a one-upmanship of compliments," relationship expert and spiritual counselor Davida Rappaport, tells Bustle. "You can use it to tell someone that you admire them and think they are the best of the best," she says.
2. "You're The Bee's Knees"
Sometimes it can be better to compliment people on their actions rather than their appearance, which makes a compliment like "You're the bee's knees" so effective. "If someone is the 'bee’s knees,' you admire them and think they are terrific," Rappaport says. "This compliment was popular in the 1920s," she says, but it's so fun that it could be time to bring it back. Maybe you use this phrase when someone speaks up for a person who can't speak for themselves or gives up some of their free time to help someone. However you use it, the uniqueness of this old-fashioned compliment is sure to make someone's day.
3. "You're The Cat's Meow"
Some old-fashioned compliments are so dated that it can feel weird at first to say them with a straight face, but that can really add to the charm of bringing them back. Calling someone "the cat's meow" means that you think of them as the epitome of cool, or as someone way too awesome to be in a group, Toni Dupree, an etiquette expert and author of Straight Up From The Teacup, tells Bustle. If your best friend comes to brunch in a totally wacky and unique thrifted jacket, that might be a great moment to pull out this phrase, which really celebrate's someone's individuality.
4. "You Have Real Chutzpa"
Sometimes you don't want to compliment someone for their outfit or for a kind deed they've done, but you want to let them know you appreciate their bravery. That's the perfect situation to tell them that they have chutzpa. "This term [... represents] a quality of someone who has guts and isn’t scared of much," Dupree says. If someone you know helped take care of a stranger who was hurt or stood up to a bully who was picking on someone, that's a great time to tell them that you notice their courage.
5. "You're Such A Mink"
In times gone by, someone might call another person a "mink," which means that they are an extraordinary human being with a lot of class and expensive qualities, Dupree says. But this fun, old-fashioned word doesn't have to stay in the olden days. Everyone likes to feel a little extra fancy sometimes, whether that means splurging for a nicer bottle of wine or treating themselves to a piece of clothing they'd been eyeing for a long time. In order to compliment them on their "treat yourself" mentality, tell them that they're such a mink. Just keep in mind that you'll probably have to explain what you mean by that.
6. "You Have A Honeydew Disposition"
Fruit is no stranger to an old-fashioned compliment. You've probably heard older folks say something like "You're sweet as pie" or "You're cute as a peach." But a more unique fruit like honeydew can also make for an adorable compliment. "Sweetheart, you have a honeydew disposition," is a great way to tell someone that they're full of kindness, Dr. Fran Walfish, Psy.D., a family and relationship psychotherapist, relationship and parenting columnist, and author of The Self-Aware Parent, tells Bustle. "Many of my patients today express feelings of not being seen, acknowledged, validated, or appreciated and accepted," she says, so this is a great chance to bring back a more fun way to tell them that you appreciate their sunny personality.
Regardless of what compliment you chose to make a friend or family member's day, just make sure you're saying it genuinely. If they know it comes from your heart, it's sure to mean a great deal to them.