Tuesday, 11th May 2021

'You're looking well' and other insults that sound like compliments

UNSURE if you’ve just been showered with praise or secretly insulted? If you’ve heard any of these phrases, you’ve just been covertly put down.

‘You’re looking well’

Could this be a reference to your new haircut or the skincare regime that’s making your face glow with radiant beauty? No, it’s a sneaky way of saying you look less shit than usual, but still shit. They might as well just say: “You don’t look hungover or ill for once. And are you slightly less obese?”

‘It’s been nice to meet you’

Even a robot could think of a more sincere way to say goodbye than this. If a human being has said this to you, the subtext is ‘Thank God this is over’. To hammer home the point they might shake your hand very quickly then rush off talking to someone else.

‘You scrub up well’

This of course suggests that the rest of the time your personal grooming is poor to the point of unhygienic. And while this is undoubtedly true, professional insulters will wait until you’ve spent hours carefully masking your imperfections to remind you of them.

‘You’re nicer than people say’

Ouch. Clearly people have been talking about you, and the word on the street is that you’re an insufferable twat. It’s not like you can ask what people are saying either, because then you’ll sound neurotic and paranoid which will provide them with a new thing to bitch about.

‘You’re so outspoken’

This isn’t the endorsement of your loudly vocalised opinions that you’ve been waiting for. In reality it’s a roundabout way of saying that you never pipe the f**k down and other people would like to get a word in edgeways sometimes, you thundering prick. Actually very polite, in its own way.