View Full Version : What to say? Hair opposite compliment....

April 24th, 2013, 11:12 PM
I just had this happen. This was NOT a situation I ever expected. I was caught off guard.

I teach in an elementary school. A girl has a mohawk. She looks: bright, strong, capable ~ what you want in a daughter.

I was walking out of the office and she stopped me and said, "Your hair is so pretty". And she meant it.

I was not expecting this.

I don't find mohawks attractive. Especially on girls. I did not ever imagine her to find MY hair attractive. It's largely one length and LONG. (Ok - to my waist, long is relative on this site.) Nonetheless. Hair opposites.

I think I just said, "Thank you" but she seemed to look hurt that I didn't say something nice back. I feel really bad because I love that she has the strength to express herself and that she can appreciate "beauty" outside what she sees as attractive in her own self expression.

I don't work within her grade level so don't have the opportunity for a timely comeback. I would really like to let her know I am proud of her for her individuality and maturity but I feel the moment is lost.

Any suggestions?

April 25th, 2013, 12:38 AM
Next time you see her, tell her exactly what you wanted to say -that you're proud of her for her individuality and maturity. I don't think she'll care that the "moment" was lost, it will probably make her pretty happy.

April 25th, 2013, 12:42 AM
Next time you see her throw her off and let her know exactly what you posted about that you love that she has the strength to express herself and everything else you said.

I dont know the specific age but it would honestly probably make her feel GOOD. I was so insecure when I was pretty much age 7-17 and its nice to have positive reassurance like that. Especially to hear it from your mentors. I was also the one with the strange hair and different style and it felt good to have the rare individuals to actually compliment you instead of throwing out rude remarks and ugly dirty looks.

Time doesn't really matter. She will remember you no doubt.

April 25th, 2013, 12:43 AM
I love mohawk's, we call them mohican's in the UK and I've never had one (I'm not by any means 'alternative either) but I always admire them when I see them as they take a lot of work and looking after as i know a few folk who have had them.

I would imagine she changes things now and then, the colour maybe - look out for any changes that she makes and you have an 'in' then to say something.

April 25th, 2013, 12:44 AM
Next time you see her, tell her exactly what you wanted to say -that you're proud of her for her individuality and maturity. I don't think she'll care that the "moment" was lost, it will probably make her pretty happy.

I agree with this.

Also, I totally feel you on the awkwardness of "expected" compliments. Like, when someone's passing around photos of their newborn baby and everyone ooohs and awwws and I am sitting there thinking "it looks like an alien".

April 25th, 2013, 01:23 AM
Hmm in my opinion you shouldn't say anything.
I've had situations like that where the same thing has happened and the feeling I got was that they were saying "Well . .I think you look bad but good for you for not caring"
I know it's a positive sentiment you're trying to express but I think it's just going to come across wrong because the lack of reciprocation of the compliment is going to be pretty conspicuous especially because of the time it took to respond.
I'm sure she's not losing sleep over your exchange but the thing is even though you see her style as strange and unappealing she probably sees it as perfectly natural and a nice expression of herself in which case you making comments about her being mature or brave to look the way she does . . you can see how that's not a great message to send and reinforcing that a lot of people probably aren't in love with her style choices.
That's just my opinion.

April 25th, 2013, 01:43 AM
I agree with this.

Also, I totally feel you on the awkwardness of "expected" compliments. Like, when someone's passing around photos of their newborn baby and everyone ooohs and awwws and I am sitting there thinking "it looks like an alien".
I know what you mean. I'm always thinking, "Yep, that's a baby alright." I mean, what do they want for me? :p

To the OP:
Well it kind of sounds like you do like her mohawk, not necessarily for how it looks, but what it represents. So you could say that you love her mohawk since you aren't saying that you love how it looks, but you love how she uses it to express herself.

April 25th, 2013, 04:14 AM
I'd tell her you admire her strength and individualism.

April 25th, 2013, 04:20 AM
Yes, I agree, tell her. I teach university students and try to compliment them when I see something they should be proud of. Some of these young women are so strong and brave, but still so insecure.

April 25th, 2013, 06:29 AM
I also agree that you should tell her how you feel. A comment about how someone admired my individuality and self expression would have just made my day when I was in school, because that is what I strove for. Hell, i'd love a comment like that now as an adult! You could really make this little girl's day, and I think a potential moment like that shouldn't be let to go. :)

May 2nd, 2013, 08:08 PM
I know this is a hair care forum but I have to wonder why the compliment has to be about hair? I admit I'm a bit self conscious so I'm not really sure if I'd feel uncomfortable if somebody told me they appreciated my style and how I did my own thing. It might make me feel a bit off. Like I wasn't trying hard to do my own thing in order to be different from others. I was just doing my own thing. That's just me. It might be a different issue for other people. It might be a case of "Wow, somebody gave me a compliment instead of calling me a weirdo/freak/whatever, telling me I need to look like other people, etc." Anyway, I think I'd give out a honest compliment that comes from the heart. Does the little girl have pretty eyes? Maybe tie it into something else? "The shirt you're wearing today really brings out the color in your eyes." Something like that?

May 3rd, 2013, 01:23 AM
I would just be honest when you see her next without being precisely reciprocal in your compliment but rather making opportunity to squeeze in said compliment.

For example:

"I just wanted to mention when you complimented my hair the other day, I might have been a little awkward in my reaction; I don't know if you noticed that or felt like I kind of brushed you off. But I wanted to let you know how much your compliment really did mean to me and I reflected on it for several days afterwards."

And then if you really want to start a longer convo, follow up with...."it's just so hard to accept compliments sometimes! Is it like that for you?"

She'll either commiserate (yes, its hard to accept compliments) or, she'll have something to say about how she never gets compliments...either way you then have a window to give a compliment about her hair specifically in the conversation without looking like you were doing it in an insincere way just to make the playing ground even.

May 3rd, 2013, 08:53 AM
I deal with this a lot because my hair falls into two completely different categories: the front is pink and purple with choppy sidebangs, and then the back is completely natural and long.

I love colorful spunky hair and I also love long hair. So usually when I get complimented it's by someone who falls into one category or the other, and I can usually honestly say I like theirs too.

May 3rd, 2013, 09:48 AM
Uh... Well, to be perfectly honest; I had an undercut for 4 years and that didn't make me appreciate any less natural haistyles, that sounded so stuck up and closeminded from you, it's a wonder how you can project her by saying "bright, strong, capable" and yet make her so one dimensional as to say that just because she sports one style she can't find others attractive :confused: on the other side, I don't think she was hurt by your response (or lack of) per se, as someone with an alternative hairstyle I'm quite sure she's used to people yelling at her and insulting her because of her style, so silence does not always mean a bad thing. May be you didn't show an immediate response and she thought you were bothered by her or something similar- many alternative teenagers are very defensive, and with reason, they're very regularily abused and bullied because of being different, and at times, a compliment or even a neutral stance can be perceived as passive aggresive/sarcastic behaviour.

May 3rd, 2013, 02:00 PM
If it were me... the next time I saw her, I'd tell her that her compliment "made" my week/couple weeks/month (however long since you last saw her) and that I was greatly impressed by her kindness and sincerity and that it's wonderful to know a young woman with such poise and confidence :)

May 4th, 2013, 06:37 AM
I agree with Audhumla. Let it go. Just accept the compliment as it was given. The moment has passed, and to open up a conversation might make things unnecessarily awkward.

Milui Elenath
May 5th, 2013, 01:45 AM
I don't think it is necessary to respond with a compliment to a compliment. It is enough to say thankyou. When I give compliments its because I genuinely feel inspired to say something and it makes me feel good to see that the other person is encouraged by it. In fact if I give a compliment to someone I sometimes feel awkward when they respond with a compliment since I wasn't looking for a compliment in return, it almost negates it in a way. In your situation I really feel the moment has passed to return a compliment and unless a truly genuine moment comes up where you can express yourself to her I wouldn't concern yourself with seeking her out and also it may come across as fake.

Wildcat Diva
May 5th, 2013, 02:29 AM
I'd just give her a big grinning smile like you admire her the next time you see her. Your warmth will be evident and sufficient.

May 8th, 2013, 07:24 PM
Thank you all for the suggestions. I especially appreciated the honest responses.

NymphSpirit, I wanted to clarify what I meant when I said I didn't think she could appreciate others' hairstyles. She is in elementary school, not a teenager as you referenced. Children (and I do mean children) are largely one dimensional - it is the developmental stage they're in. This wasn't a reflection on her per-se but an observation of her that was meant in a positive way because her comment was much more astute than most kids her age.

I haven't run into this girl since, but if/when I do I plan to tell her that she made my day with her comment. :)

May 8th, 2013, 08:19 PM
It takes guts to be outside "the norm." I admire this girl for that - I have a feeling she'll go far in life. Next time you see her compliment her on her individuality / strength or just give her a "thumbs up" or wink. That would make my day.