How to Compliment a Stranger

This isn’t actually a story of harassment, but I thought it might be nice to share some good news.

A couple of months ago, I was walking back from the Metro and two different men (that is, at different places) stopped to say “That’s a very nice dress” and “I like your dress.”

No hassling, no punchlines, no escalations.

But I thought I would mention this to illustrate the fact that it really is possible to compliment a stranger on the street without degrading or demeaning or pulling a power trip.

Submitted by LCD on 11/10/2010

Location: near New York ave metro

Time: Night (7:30P-12A)

2 Responses

  1. Jonna
    | Reply

    Thanks for posting this. I think there need to be more positive stories like yours to prove the difference between positive compliments and street harassment.

  2. Ruth
    | Reply

    Thanks for putting this out there! I’ve been spoken to like this a few times, and it doesn’t have to be harassment automatically…and we don’t automatically have to assume every male who compliments us is trying to demean and degrade us, hm?

    I understand that it happens. A lot. It’s happened to me a few times, even, one of which ended up getting published here.) And we get told–a lot–to lighten up and get over it, which really is kinda tacky. But there is, in fact, a middle space, lest anyone forget that. When I get a compliment like that, that doesn’t escalate, I love it, myself, since I get so few of them.

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