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Is skinny always considered a compliment?

148 Answers
Last Updated: 06/12/2020 at 7:29pm
Is skinny always considered a compliment?
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United States
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Melissa Hudson, MS Ed, PhD(c), LMFT

Marriage & Family Therapist

I work with clients of diverse backgrounds on a multitude of concerns. My approach is, at times, directive, yet always curious, nonjudgmental, collaborative, and validating.

Top Rated Answers
July 24th, 2016 12:01am
No, skinny is not always considered a compliment, and fat isn't always considered an insult. This is because it's just weight, and weight doesn't define you, and as long as you're healthy, I feel you can be whatever weight you want. You can wear whatever you want, and you an eat whatever you want. Just as long as you're happy, and healthy, then it's all good.
July 24th, 2016 4:59pm
Not always. For someone with an eating disorder, this can be triggering and even distressing sometimes.
July 14th, 2016 9:14pm
Nothing is ALWAYS used as a compliment. It usually depends what context it is in or the intent behind it. Someone could say, "She's really skinny, she's so cute!" Or they may say, "She's really skinny, I think it's gross." It ALL depends. And at the same time it may not be used as an insult OR a compliment, they may just be describing appearance In my personal opinion someone could be a size 0 and have a terrible personality and look like a hobo. And someone who is 200+ pounds may be extremely sweet and have an amazing fashion taste AND vise-versa. Weight should not define someone. It may be used as a compliment, insult, or just a descriptor. It's all about context.
April 13th, 2018 3:09am
No, sometimes it may end up being taken harshly and hurt someone's feelings. Try complimenting personalities over looks.
July 1st, 2018 1:56pm
In todays society, 'skinny' can be insulting as it can be related to not eating enough, ect.... I wouldnt say 'skinny' is the best way to compliment someone....
February 1st, 2018 1:59am
For the majority of us, yes! There is a massive pressure on society (especially females) to be and look skinny; and skinny right now is a praise and the in thing - where as being 'fat' is the total opposite. It hasn't always been this way though - for a long time skinny was unattractive and 'curvy' was the in thing. Quick history lesson: it actually comes back to the much older days where if a person was 'fatter' they were beautiful because they had more food to survive, and therefore healthier. I think in a way we're trying to change these sorts of compliments; people can be any size and still beautiful and worthy.
May 18th, 2018 2:34am
Skinny is not always a compliment! As someone who has struggled with disordered eating, calling someone skinny is not okay. I either feel like you're lying and calling me fat, or it proves that I look good and should keep losing weight
June 5th, 2019 8:29pm
in my experience, it depends on the context. i personally always stay away from complimenting people on their body type, but if you have a close relationship with the person that you're complimenting and you're absolutely sure of the context and situation surrounding it, then i think it can be a compliment. however, it could have negative consequences. i have struggled with disordered eating, and being called "skinny" always triggered me and encouraged me to lose more weight. in that context, it would not be a compliment. also, "skinny-shaming" is a terrible practice where, similar to fat-shaming, people shame someone for their body type, which is never a compliment.
August 1st, 2019 11:23pm
Skinny can be a great compliment, especially if you are/were trying to lose weight. But that's not always the case, you can be called skinny and hate it. You might be trying to put on weight, and nothing is working, you might hate how skinny you are, you might even hate the word skinny. But lots of people think of skinny as a compliment, and usually don't mean to hurt you, although there are lots of people who say bad things out there. Just remember to love yourself, no matter if you're skinnier or larger, black or white. .
May 23rd, 2018 12:46pm
Skinny can be taken in many different ways according to the context. If it was meant in a derogatory way, then no it is not a compliment. But if it was meant in a positive way, then yes, it is a compliment.
June 8th, 2018 10:51am
No it is not, people tends to use weight as a compliment or as an insult. Depending on what the person believes and their concept of beauty they will tell you skinny or fat as a compliment or trying to offend you, that’s exactly why you shouldn’t care.
July 9th, 2016 4:00pm
Not in my mind. I think that there's a level of too skinny where you just look like a skeleton with skin. It's a lose-lose situation because you can't be too fat or too thin. But if you're healthy, I think that should be the goal. no matter the number on the scale.
August 4th, 2016 4:19am
Not necessarily. Society and culture have attached a lot of extra meaning to the word skinny. It is hugely based on context, but it would be nice to step away from commenting on people's bodies.
November 4th, 2016 7:59pm
No, some people say it when they're concerned you have an eating disorder. When I struggled with an eating disorder, people will tell me I was skinny or I had lost weight all the time, but it wasn't a compliment, it was a concerned comment or question.
May 26th, 2017 1:49am
No, unfortunately. The word "skinny" has been warped and changed rather recently. Now, if or when people call me skinny, I almost *always* question their motives. Are they serious? Are they trying to be kind? Or mean? I'm sure that part of it is I deal with an eating disorder, so others' comments about my body, my weight, etc can be very triggering.
May 6th, 2018 8:04am
No skinny isn't always a compliment, it can be something that is used to hurt someone too
June 21st, 2018 6:24pm
Sometimes people say what's on their mind without thinking how their words could affect others. Even if they think it's a compliment (because of their personal opinion or experience), it can be uncomfortable or even harmful for another person.
June 22nd, 2018 2:52am
Everything depends on the way you feel and love your body, being skinny can be healthy or unhealthy but everything depends on the love you give to yourself
June 27th, 2018 3:08pm
I think that would depend on the person it's coming from. Either way, I don't think it's something you should spend time dwelling on. Either way, it makes no difference to you or your body whether the person means it in as a compliment or not. Only you need to be okay with what you look like, there are always going to be people who have their opinions, it doesn't mean you're going to change every time to match everyone's preference.
July 5th, 2018 6:36am
Depends where you live. Many like it and many don’t. If you’re skinny and healthy and happy with your body, that’s all that really matters. There will always be those who like our size and those who don’t.
July 20th, 2018 7:01pm
Let me start by saying this: all bodies are beautiful. Some people consider skinny to be a compliment and others dont seem to think so. It is all based on the connotation given when that is being told.
July 27th, 2018 2:38am
No. Not for me. As a recovering anorexic, people complementing me about how good I look would set me off. Wow, I haven't eaten in 3 days, I'm doing good. Keep doing that. Or being told, now don't gain weight, you look good just like you have been. Secretly I've lost 5 lbs. I don't eat as a way to control my body which means my life.
July 24th, 2019 7:39pm
No skinny is not always considered a compliment. I have a friend that no matter what she did, she could not gain weight. She was very self conscious about it. One day someone came up to her and said, "Oh how do you stay so skinny!" I saw the look on her face and she looked at me and said, " I wonder how they would feel if I said, I wonder how you stay so fat?" I knew she was hurt. We never know what someone is battling with. I think just complimenting someone on how good they look instead of their weight is always a better choice.
August 16th, 2019 8:10pm
Definitely not. Being skinny doesn't necessarily mean healthy either. It can be easily overlooked, but being underweight can have as bad consequences as being overweight. Examples of consequences can be anemia, vitamin deficiencies, osteoporosis, very low immune system, feeling cold a lot of the time, growth development issues and more, but now we're talking about actually being underweight, which is having a bmi lower than 18,5. The healthy range for bmi is 18,5 to 25. So of course, you can be skinny without being underweight, and if you've been overweight and lost some, it can definitely be a compliment!
September 11th, 2019 2:58am
No, I don't believe skinny is always a compliment. If you're suffering from an eating disorder and somebody tells you you look skinny and "look good" it's going to further that eating disorder and make it even worse because the person is reaching their goal. This can also be applied vice versa. Some people feel bad about being skinny but struggle to gain weight. Weight can be a very touchy topic for a lot of people and I feel as if saying somebody is skinny can be as harmful at times as saying somebody is fat. We have to be thoughtful and choose our words carefully.
October 5th, 2019 6:29am
No. Your value is not based off the shape or size of your body, I feel as though it undermines many other amazing qualities of the personality you could be complimented on. Adding to this, being skinny does not always mean someone is healthy; thinness does not equate to fitness or wellness. We seem to live in a world where the media is constantly telling us that thin equals happy and that being skinny is the ultimate goal, but it creates a very toxic basis of health, and gives an artificial goal that people can potentially harm their health working towards an unachievable standard set by the media. We've had social medias ingrain into our minds that to be beautiful, you must be skinny, and this simply isn't true.
October 18th, 2019 12:38pm
No, actually I dont think it is. Because some people if they see themselves as fat, that could make them feel like you are lying, which then in turn can send them spiraling downwards trying to lose more weight. You should never in my opinion make a comment about someones weight you never really know who is going through what, nor how they think about their bodies. Skinny can be taken one of 2 ways. It may be taken as a compliment, or an insult. Again, just to be safe never make assumptions or comments about other peoples weight, you never know what they may be going through.
October 19th, 2019 9:37pm
Brief answer: no. Skinny is actually nothing more than a description of a person. A person can be tall, short, chubby, skinny, red haired, brown haired... It doesn’t actually say anything about a persons beauty. While of course, skinny and beautiful is tightly connected in western culture, it isn’t actually an equivalent. And slowly that perception of it starts to cease luckily. However there are many people who would not take it as a compliment to be called skinny. For example men, who often worry about not being muscular or strong enough. Or women who believe that they do no look “feminine” enough and lack curves. Body image issues are very widespread and very individual. Ultimately, I think that there are better compliments than “skinny” and there’s so much beauty to be discovered and appreciated in every person.
October 27th, 2019 3:27pm
It seems like the answer to this might vary based on the context and the person saying it. I have been called skinny for most of my life, and when I was young, it certainly felt as if it was intended to be a negative trait. It seemed that it was other's way of implying that I was not strong or masculine. But then it seemed to change into being a compliment. It is a rather ambiguous statement really. I have heard it used to be critical and used as a compliment. What is most important to me is to love myself exactly the way I am naturally and healthily. If this is in place, then it doesn't matter how other people mean it when they say it.
March 4th, 2020 8:02pm
Not really if you are talking with a sufferer of some eating disorder, specially anorexia. Actually you must be very careful about mentioning shape, weight or appearance to a patient with that condition. On second thoughts maybe is better if one refrains to comment about any physical feature of other people. I think in some cases victims of bullying might be specially sensitive regarding comments about shape, weight and appearance. Summarizing, "skinny" can not always be considered a compliment and sometimes if we are not careful could become a trigger or may not be well taken by others. My two cents.