Actually, “flattering” isn’t a good word choice here. Flattery has a bad rep. The way it’s currently used, it hints of exaggeration and manipulation.
So let’s return to the concept of “compliments” in general. Most, we know, are welcome. It’s nice to have someone tell us we did a commendable job or had a good idea.
Then there are those less sincere “compliments” that require a bit of intelligence or wit to offer. The go by different names, but are commonly referred to as “left-handed compliments” or “backhanded compliments.”
This type of statement mat sound on its surface like a compliment, but includes an element that undermines the praise. The Urban Dictionary offers the following example:
“Boy, you’re pretty hot . . . for a fat (or skinny) chick!”
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