So Beautiful, So Wonderful

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Dear Dharma,

I’ve been with my boyfriend for two years now and there is something that is really bothering me… and I feel like a horrible person for saying it.

He has always been very sweet and complimenting and I used to love it. Now I am getting frustrated as he is constantly complimenting me and it’s getting annoying!

Am I a crazy person? I know everyone loves compliments and this is a strange thing to be complaining about but it’s driving me nuts! How do I approach this? I love him very much but he needs to tone it down a little.

Over the Top

Dear OT,

Ah, how like pretty little snowflakes we are… what thrills one person is the bane of another’s existence… What one person needs more of is exactly what another could happily do without…

So the interesting thing here is that the change is on your part, not your boyfriend’s.  He’s simply doing what he’s always done and it’s something you used to enjoy.  Now it drives you nuts.  What’s changed?

I did a bit of research on being uncomfortable with flattery in general, and looked also at excessive flattery as a separate topic… because there’s a difference.

Flattery in general is meant as a compliment, designed to make you feel good.  Excessive flattery is seen as not entirely genuine, and makes most people uncomfortable.

When general flattery serves to make us feel icky, a possible explanation is that it makes us feel vulnerable and exposed because it doesn’t line up with how we see ourselves.

Is that you?  Is it that you feel you’re no longer worthy of all this admiration the boyfriend throws your way?  Just something for you to think about, and without me knowing your take on it, I can’t go much further on that line of thinking.

One of the options, of course, is for you to mention this issue to your boyfriend – but I have to say I think you’re risking some fallout by doing so.  It’s likely he won’t understand why this suddenly bothers you, and could possibly feel rejected, which could manifest in a number of other ways.  Not sure what purpose that would serve unless you can properly explain why this is a problem two years in.

Dharma

 

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2 Comments

  • Be honest says:

    There could be a bit of a catch 22 here in that he might be picking up on her not feeling awesome about something (not really picking up on what it is) and then sending even more compliments her way. It would be tough for sure, but might be worth it to try to tell him how she feels. Maybe something like, “I’m not sure why, but lately I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed by the number of compliments you give me. It’s so sweet, and I’m not asking you to stop, but want to let you know why I’m responding the way I am.” (that came off soooo corporate-y but you get the gist).
    Best of luck!

    • Dharma says:

      Thanks, be honest – I think that came off really well – sincere and not at all confrontational, which is exactly the right balance needed here…!

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