Complimenting a Southern woman is a delicate thing. Best be careful or she may mistake it for the backhanded variety in which she is also well-versed. (Hint: the tone is key.) It’s a fine science: no one can tear apart an outfit or, oppositely, single-handedly build up a person's confidence as quickly or efficiently as Southern women. This delicateness should not be a reason to hold back good complements though; wit, hospitality, intelligence, and perfectly applied lipstick should not go unnoted. Here, a few of our favorite feel-good Southern expressions you can steal and pass around.
1. “Your hair is just so naturally voluminous."
Or shiny. Or frizz-free. Or full-bodied. The truth is that it's not necessarily natural, but the compliment means it at least looks like there isn’t $29.95 worth of product in there.
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2. “This biscuit is as good as my mama’s.”
Not a compliment to be shared around Mama herself, of course, but truly the highest honor you can bestow among fellow friends.
3. “I just feel right at home here.”
You might want to clarify this is not a segue into telling them you need to crash there a while longer, but certainly code for “you have shown the highest level of hospitality in your perfectly appointed home.”
4. “Will you write that recipe down for me?”
This is no passing yum, delicious, or tasty—this is a commitment. It says, "This dish is so good, I’m going to go so far as to bother you to write it down to ensure I can have this again."
5. “I want you to meet my mama.”
You have proven yourself sane, polite, smart, and interesting enough to meet someone’s family. Quite the task (and honor!).
6. “You’re just a diamond in a rhinestone world.”
Steal this one straight from our favorite Southerner, Dolly Parton. Don’t just tell someone that they’re a gem, give them some context!
7. “Your mama must’ve raised you right.”
A compliment for both them and their mother; they clearly know their manners, and she clearly worked hard to instill them.
8. “Will you take a look at this?” Or “What do you think about that?”
No one invites an opinion they don’t want. Certainly not one they don’t respect. Sometimes the nicest compliment is simply a question.
9. “I love you more than my luggage.”
Take one from one of our other favorite Southern ladies, Clairee of Steel Magnolias. It doesn't always have to be luggage. Maybe for you it's your perfectly seasoned cast iron skillet or your china collection. (Or anything with your monogram on it...)
10. "They need to send someone down from Southern Living to see your garden."
We’re not trying to toot our own horn here, but what can we say, we love a good garden! We like to think we work hard to find the best of the best, just to share with you.