Too many years ago, I read a response from Ann Landers (okay I’m really dating myself) who told her readers that telling someone they look tired is basically the same as telling them their nose looks like a banana. I couldn’t agree more.
Maybe the person is tired. Do they need to hear that? To what benefit? If they are tired, your pointing it out immediately makes them self-conscious about how crappy they must look and they walk away discouraged feeling even more tired.
Maybe they aren’t tired at all! If you say that, they may feel obligated to prove to you how wrong you are and how terrific they actually feel, and how they spent 2 hours at the health club this morning.
Maybe this is how they look all the time because they aren’t 25 anymore or have a new baby. Or a new puppy. Again, they walk away a bit deflated about how they must look!
Would you say, “you’re looking old” or, “you’re looking fat?” Of course not. So leave the tired out.
Instead, choose “How’s it going?” or, “What’s going on for you?” or better yet; “You look fantastic!”