Comments, often intended solely as compliments, that are actually quite insulting for what they leave out.

  • When describing a person, leading off with "She has a good personality" or "He is really intelligent."
  • In High School athletics, describing a player primarily as "dedicated" or "hard working."
  • In business, "team-player" and "...can always be counted on to follow leadership" can be considered insulting
  • This sort of underhanded compliment can be quite devastating face-to-face as well. For example:

    "With all due respect..."

    We all know that nothing good can come of that. You know an insult is about to be delivered, and harshly at that.

    "For what it's worth..."

    Forget it. At that point, it's a forced compliment, and has lost all sincerity.

    "Deep down underneath, you're..."

    I think you get the point. No need to elaborate further.

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