There are some things in life that aren't easily understood as a kid but make perfect sense as an adult. I can now comprehend why my parents told me I couldn't eat cake for breakfast. Most of the things adults said to me when I was younger, even if I didn't get it at the time, ended up being logical eventually. But, there are certain things I thought I understood the meaning behind, only to realize now I was totally wrong.
When I look back, I can't help but notice certain comments adults made at my expense that were super cringe, weird, and/or rude...and how they would say them like a compliment. The amount of people who told me I was really "developing" is so creepy in retrospect. When I was a teenager, I just thought this meant I was getting taller. Nope! For some reason, it was normalized to comment on a 13-year-old's chest and act like this was appropriate.
When adults would say something like this to me at the time, I would smile and thank them because they were an authority figure and I was supposed to respect my elders, but looking back? What an uncomfortable thing to say to a child. This Reddit thread from r/AskReddit where u/Significant-Cow-934 asked, "What sounded like a compliment when you were young, but you later understood it wasn't?" proves that I'm far from alone in this experience. Here are some of the most cringeworthy responses:
1.“'She’s gonna be a heartbreaker when she’s older!' Just a really weird thing to say to a kid."
2."You look 18'...when I was 12. As an adult, I realized how creepy that was."
"Even as a young teen as a guy, I had a few older women that said, 'The things I’d do to you if you were older!' when I was, like, 14–15 or whatever. Realizing later in life what these older women were implying to me at the time was wild."
3."I had the opposite experience. I have always looked younger than my age. It was just as creepy. Old men telling me I looked 12 when I was 18 and then proceeding to hit on me."
4.“You’d be so pretty...if you were skinnier.”
5.“'You’re so mature for your age' really meant I was traumatized and too scared to behave like an actual child."
6."When I was young, someone once told me, 'You're so lucky you don't have to worry about your looks.' At the time, I thought it was a compliment, but later, I realized they were saying I wasn't conventionally attractive."
7.“You’re beautiful...in your own way.”
8."I had an adult tell me, 'You've turned into quite the swan.' So...they mean I was an ugly duckling before...?"
9.“I wish I had your confidence,' usually said to a bigger person."
10."You’re such a perfectionist."
"Many times, people who say that are annoyed because you're taking too long to do a task or that you take over a group task. Many perfectionists go behind and 'fix' what other people have done, and that annoys them."