Is it cruel to be kind? One in five say they are reluctant to pay complements in case it causes offence

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Is it cruel to be kind? One in five say they are reluctant to pay complements in case it causes offence

They're famously free of charge, but paying compliments is something one in five of us are now reluctant to do in case it causes offence.Researchers f

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They’re famously free of charge, but paying compliments is something one in five of us are now reluctant to do in case it causes offence.

Researchers found that 20 per cent of people fear remarks about appearance, looks, dress sense or work performance may cause unintentional embarrassment or upset.

Some 45 per cent of those polled said receiving a spontaneous compliment or kind remark still brightened their day, but only a quarter claimed to routinely compliment others in their daily life.

Younger people are the most hesitant to risk a nice word with one in four Millennials – those aged 25 to 39 – saying it could cause offence.

Generation X – otherwise known as 40- to 55-year-olds – also shared their reluctance, with 18 per cent keeping niceties at bay to avoid potential problems.

But older people are far more likely to be bold and pay a compliment. Just 16 per cent of people aged over 55 – or Baby Boomers – said they feared causing offence.

Researchers found that 20 per cent of people fear remarks about appearance, looks, dress sense or work performance may cause unintentional embarrassment or upset (file Image)

Researchers found that 20 per cent of people fear remarks about appearance, looks, dress sense or work performance may cause unintentional embarrassment or upset (file Image) 

Older people are far more likely to be bold and pay a compliment. Just 16 per cent of people aged over 55 – or Baby Boomers – said they feared causing offence (file Image)

Older people are far more likely to be bold and pay a compliment. Just 16 per cent of people aged over 55 – or Baby Boomers – said they feared causing offence (file Image)

And two-thirds of those quizzed are more comfortable complimenting strangers, believing to be on safer ground.

The survey of 2,001 British adults was carried out by malt loaf brand Soreen.

Liz Jacobs, the firm’s marketing director, said: ‘Compliments cost nothing but provide such a big lift. They are simple, but sometimes not easy.

‘Often people worry the compliment they are about to give will be misconstrued. But delivered with a smile, it will make someone’s day and will make yours, too.’

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