The importance of meaningful compliments


Ella Vick, staff writer

I often hear girls say to one another, “You are so skinny”, as a means of complimenting and reassuring one another that their appearance is acceptable. This statement equates a skinny figure with being beautiful, and whether intentional or not, maligns individuals who aren’t “skinny”. It is imperative to be aware of how dangerous these statements can be.

There are numerous components that dictate the shape and composure of someone’s body, including genetics, environment, eating, and exercise habits. The lesser-known impact on body type and shape is mental health. 

Many people who suffer from mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety disorders may experience a diminished appetite due to their symptoms. This can affect their stature and appearance. Additionally, conditions such as Attention Deficit Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder can lead to individuals needing medication that contains appetite suppressants.

Thus, what many don’t realize when they are commenting on the shape of their friend’s body is that they could easily be unknowingly shaming their friend for a medical circumstance completely out of their control.

We all know what we look like.

In fact, most of us are overly aware of what we perceive to be our physical flaws and we think about our own appearance more than anyone else does of us. There is no reason to give your opinion on anyone else’s appearance because they already know their own body—it is their home.

 I am sure that the majority of people who comment on their peers’ appearance do so in a positive way meant to uplift, but the truth is that you never know what someone may have going on in their personal life or medical history. I challenge my South community to find compliments that have nothing to do with shape or size. In my own practice of this, I have found that my interactions have become significantly more thoughtful and meaningful.