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Awkward! A Co-Worker Complimented Me on My Weight Loss

Thanks to a reader with an issue (sorry, reader!), we have an awkward scenario requiring your advice. (Interested in this subject? Join our Awkward! group to share etiquette questions and stories with other readers.)

"I needed to drop a few pounds a while back and thanks to exercise and eating right, I managed to do it. A well-meaning coworker told me the other day, 'You look great! Did you lose weight?' I hate compliments like this. All I can hear is "'You didn't look good before.' Is it ever OK to say this to someone, and what's the proper response? I just said thanks and left it at that, but it irritated me."

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jojo278 jojo278 7 years
Wow this one got a lot of comments. I see what you mean. Personally, I never comment on people's weight. It's awkward and as I've noticed from personal experience, it can be annoying to receive those comments if you AREN'T doing something or if you ARE and you don't get the comments. I think weight is always going to be a touchy subject. You never know how someone's going to take the comment. I also don't even mention when I'm trying to lose weight. I don't think it's something that you have to be public about. If I'm trying to lose weight it's for me and no one's business. But when I do get those comments I just say thanks and move forward. Really the only times it bothers me is when it's coming from someone that I've had problems with before or a coworker who rubs me the wrong way. I'm sure that it was not intended as an insult.
dikke-kus dikke-kus 7 years
Just say thanks. You look better now. That's the truth isn't it?
kurniakasih kurniakasih 7 years
Say 'Thank you.' And stop analyzing what your friend's saying. Believe me that your co-worker probably doesn't even remember that night how she complimented you during the day. Most likely she's just saying that because she's trying to be nice or complimentary, it has nothing to do with her thinking, what a fat whale she was before, if anything, she doesn't even care about your weight, if she'd be about HER own weight (or whatever concerns she has). Hmm, I have complimented a friend before. She lost weight quite a bit of weight, but I've seen how hard she worked out after having her baby, and she starts to wear tighter clothing that compliments her figure. So I 'blurted' out the compliments and she was pleased to hear it because she's worked hard to get there. I've gotten the compliments before when I lost my 'baby' weight and it never bothers me, ever. Then again, I don't have any disorder or an issue. I don't usually know if my friends have eating disorders, I'd be more careful to say anything if they do, but if they don't say anything how do I know to be careful? I can't know about other people's behind-closed-door life.
SaucySassy SaucySassy 7 years
People compliment others when they look good/healthy - not just when they lose weight. I have been complimented on gaining weight and it made me feel good. The whole "you look great" thing goes both ways. Even though what anon describes above does happen - do we really have to censor ourselves at complimenting others because of that. Thats ridiculous. Again, this may sound harsh but its really not our problem. How are you supposed to know who is anorexic and who just looks great after working out/lipo/gastric bypass/whatever.
SaucySassy SaucySassy 7 years
*didn't look that good/healthy
SaucySassy SaucySassy 7 years
I think yeah you probably did look that good before and when YOU decided to make a CHANGE about the way you looked, people wanted to let you know that they think hey yeah we agree and think you look good with the change. Healthier, prettier, better in general. And even if you lost it with a disorder you can still look better and healthier - you don't go walking around thinking over everybody's possible mental disorders before you say something to them. IF you decided to do it the wrong way thats your problem not theirs.
marleenguillen marleenguillen 7 years
omg this has been happening to me on (almost) a daily basis! i've recently dropped 34lbs and everyone's been complimenting me, after the hard work and long hours i put in at the gym i am soooo HAPPY to hear them!!
nicolem83 nicolem83 7 years
I understand where you're coming from on this one. I had an eating disorder and these kind of compliments can feed the disorder
karlotta karlotta 7 years
I'm sorry, but... didn't you look LESS good before? Or did you lose weight for shits and giggles?
AMP AMP 7 years
She needs to calm down and just accept the compliment. Don't read into things so much.
jazzytummy jazzytummy 7 years
If you are offended by that compliment, you are probably also the type of person who will be offended if people DIDN'T mention anything. Give me a break.
chloe-bella chloe-bella 7 years
I see Anon #23's point, BUT what do you do when you know someone is working hard to lose weight in healthy manner? I have a co-worker who is very overweight but who has started going to the gym and doing Jenny Craig and has kept it up for about a year now. She brings up her diet & exercise, and I have no idea how to respond. I usually just say something like "that's great!" and switch topics because I'm afraid of implying she needs to lose weight and sounding offensive, but I also don't want to rob her of positive feedback and support. Weight is just an awkward issue in general, but I still think it's usually ok to compliment someone.
equestriennechic equestriennechic 7 years
I agree. I'd say "thanks," but I would never compliment anyone on their weight loss. Do you mention to them when they gain weight? Of course not!!
bigtonzilla bigtonzilla 7 years
Say, "thanks!" Geeze louise! She was complementing you, as in trying to be nice! Stop complaining!
TidalWave TidalWave 7 years
this only bothers me because people should be focusing on their friends getting healthier, not necessarily thinner but i realize that is harder to see.
ali321 ali321 7 years
I personally tend to like it when people compliment me in general, but it's better when it's something that you've been working to improve imo. You obviously didn't think you looked so good before. Isn't that part of the reason you lost it. I can see if someone was being perverse or if they actually said something like "wow you were such a cow before." I just don't get how the co worker said anything offensive. She probably wanted to actually make you feel good that your efforts paid off. Sometimes stuff just slips out because people notice the difference in you and are happy for you. I don't get this. Sorry.
totygoliguez totygoliguez 7 years
I think you are looking was too much into it. It was nice gesture of her to complement you. My advice to you is, don't take offense in things that are not offensive at all.
bengalspice bengalspice 7 years
I've complimented coworkers on weight loss before, not because being heavier made them look bad but rather they had a glow about them that they were finally happy with the healthier looking person after they have achieved some weight loss. I don't say that the weight loss makes them look great, but rather that extra spring in their step that they have now that they've achieved something that is worth complimenting.
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