Ever heard of “The Underminer” (no, not the one at the end of The Incredibles)? The Underminer is the person in your life who has developed the skill of complimenting you in a way that is actually a backhanded insult. The underminer is the person who pretends to be concerned about your health or appearance, etc., but is really just trying to make you feel ugly, insecure or self-conscious. You know the type.
Example A - In the lunch room: Oh “your name here”- you have something…right there…next to your crown or implant or whatever…between your teeth.
See how that worked – instead of saying that you have something between your teeth, they point out a flaw first – you have a crowned tooth – and make sure that if other people havn’t noticed, they will notice it now. Brilliant eh?
Example B: Hey Mary. What’s wrong – you look like you have leukemia or something – you okay?
Example C: Holy cow Beth, you’re so thin! Almost skeletal!
Yeah. See how that works.
I have had lots of people like that in my life - I have met most of them in the workplace. I gradually caught on to the technique and have even used it myself – to make the insecure yet nasty co-worker more insecure. Easy peasy:
Oh Kathy - you’re SUCH a great organizer – look at how well organized she is Jane!- she must spend HOURS organizing her study materials! (heh – see? Compliment as insult – because Kathy spends so much time organizing her study material that she flunks the exam).
Want to know more about The Underminer? Want to be able to spot the underminer and fight back? This book is funny – tonnes of brilliant examples – almost too many. By the time you finish the book you will be an expert on the subject. One note – it is not a novel and not a self-help book. And if you can figure out if the main character is male or female, let me know.