August 14, 2008

Personality Test #2

(I don't know what the answers to any of these MEAN. They just seem like they mean SOMETHING.)

Honestly, truly, think about it carefully: Which would you be happier hearing: "Oh, you're so pretty!" or "Oh, you're so smart!"

We're taught carefully that (1) appearance is of utmost importance and also that (2) appearance is of no importance, so this is a question that SEEMS like it has a "right" answer---but I don't think it does, I think it's just a matter of which you'd prefer hearing.

67 comments:

Fiona Picklebottom said...

I think whichever one you have the least confidence in about yourself is the one that would make you happier hearing. I think I'd rather hear the pretty one, since I am less confident of my appearance than my intelligence.

Meredith said...

I'd rather be told that I am pretty because I already KNOW that I'm smart.

Lawyerish said...

Oooh! Oooh! Good one.

I hope this doesn't sound jackass-y, but I have always felt pretty confident about my intelligence. Well, most of the time, anyway; there have definitely been plenty of moments when I felt like a complete idiot, but on the whole I think I've been fairly validated about my smarts.

I have never felt particularly confident about my looks, however, so I very much enjoy being told I'm pretty. More so than being told I'm smart, I'd have to admit.

UNLESS, that is, the person doing the commenting is someone I greatly admire intellectually, in which case I'd prefer to have their respect for my intelligence. If that makes sense.

Erin said...

Haha. I love merideth's answer.

Right off the bat, I thought Smart. But I like to hear pretty too. I don't like to hear, "Oh you are so pretty smart!"

jonniker said...

I already answered, but since my answer is (happily) similar to those above, I'll say it again:

I honestly don't know. Looks aren't that important to me, but being smart IS. Conversely, however, I know I'm very smart. I never doubt my intelligence. I can see that part of me objectively, while I truly don't have much of an idea as to whether I'm pretty or not. So I guess I'd rather hear that I'm pretty, only because it's one area that I can't see for myself.

I'm apparently a cocky smart girl.

Kristi said...

I'm not going to look a gift horse in the mouth. I'll take both!

Actually, I agree with everyone else. The one a person is least confident about is the compliment that they want to hear most. I think I'm more confident with my intelligence than looks, so go ahead and tell me I'm pretty!

Jess said...

I agree with the others. Plus, people tell me more often that I'm smart. Pretty is a nice change of pace.

Pickles and Dimes said...

Both, because I am an egomaniac.

It all depends on whose giving the compliment. If it's a work peer, I'd rather hear that I'm smart. If it's George Clooney, I'd rather hear I'm pretty. :)

the planet of janet said...

actually, meredith stole my comment! that's cuz she's smart.

and pretty.

Jess said...

Also, what I think is telling is that we all agree that we have more confidence in our intelligence than in our looks. Either we are a very smart group of people (true) or those positive messages that we are always hearing about how everyone is smart have hit home, as have the messages about needing to look like a porn star to be considered pretty (probably also true).

Alice said...

i'm another in the "i'm pretty confident i'm smart, whereas i KNOW i didn't used to be pretty" so i'd probably rather get the superficial pretty one.

of course, if i didn't have people compliment me on my intelligence, i might feel differently. or if i wasn't such an awkward ugly duckling growing up.

interesting that so far, all the women have identified themselves as smart women who would like to be told they're pretty. and i really just mean it's interesting, not some loaded "INTERESTING."

Deb said...

Count me among the smart women who like to be told they're pretty. I know I'm smart. (Cocky, right?) But it's really nice to be caught off-guard on a normal day and told you look pretty.

Mimi said...

I'm a little ashamed to admit it, but I'd rather be told I'm pretty. Maybe that's because growing up I heard much more of "you're so smart" than "you're so pretty".

Melinda said...

You know what? I think you're ALL pretty! :) I'm with the majority up above. I'd rather hear I'm pretty because I KNOW I'm smart.

Julia said...

I agree with a few other comments on here regarding their own perception of their intelligence. I honestly can't imagine a scenario where the "oh, you're so smart!" comment is genuine - normally I get this comment when someone is either insecure about their own intelligence or (as it was in high school) is trying to make you feel BAD about being smart. In this light, I'd rather have someone tell me that I'm pretty, since I already know I'm smart.

Maggie said...

Pickles and Dimes nailed it for me: if it's my boss I'd like to be told I'm so smart, if it's George Clooney I'd like to be told I'm so pretty.

Emily said...

I'd honestly rather hear "You're so pretty". I think it's less about being vain and more about what I'm more confident with in myself. I think of myself as smart, but I have less confidence in my appearance. So I need more reassurance in that area.

Dr. Maureen said...

I am echoing everyone else: I already know I'm smart, so being told so only matters if it's by someone I consider smarter than me. And there are only a few of those people out there in the world. I kid! But still, I'm less sure about the prettiness.

But wait, now that I think about this more clinically, I actually think that there are very few people who can tell me that I'm pretty without it being creepy or inappropriate. Family, close friends, and people I'm dating (which is now only my husband, who is technically family). Also people in the beauty/fashion industry, and I suppose professional photographers. But it's not like I get head shots done regularly, and people in the beauty/fashion industry are trying to sell me something, so their compliments come with ulterior motives.

So I'm going to go with "smart," except that I like both equally coming from my husband.

Stephanie said...

I was literally going to write EXACTLY the same thing that Meredith wrote, WORD FOR WORD. So I'll just type it again.

I'd rather be told that I am pretty because I already KNOW that I'm smart.

Erica said...

It really depends on the situation. If I've done something particularly clever, I sure don't want to hear how pretty I am.

Although, I am looking forward to a lot more "pretty" compliments as I lose weight. I'm due for some vanity, I think.

Shelly Overlook said...

"You're pretty" b/c to me the smart part is already a given.

(Hee! My verification word is "swwizz" which is pretty much perfect for this site, isn't it??)

d e v a n said...

I wanna hear both.
Actually, I think from people I love I want to hear that I'm smart - cause they already love me - pretty or not.
From strangers or acquaintences I'd rather hear I'm pretty.

Tessie said...

I think I'd rather hear I'm SMART, for the reason that many others listed (except most of them picked PRETTY). For whatever reason, I don't usually feel like I look bad, but I DO occasionally feel like an idiot, so...

Amy said...

I'm fairly sure I'd rather hear that I am smart, it seems more worthwhile to me. It seems like it's easier to be considered 'pretty' than to be considered 'smart'

anatomist said...

i think i might be equally confident in my appearance and my intelligence, so i would rather hear someone tell me that i am smart, mostly because i generally have more respect for the people who say that then the people who would tell me that i am pretty.

Misty said...

Smart. There is no higher compliment than being told I am smart. Maybe because when someone tells me that I am pretty, I don't believe them. But when they tell me I am smart, I hope they are right.

Nice self esteem, eh?

Clarabella said...

Well, I'd rather hear I'm smart because I KNOW I'm pretty. Haha. Just kidding. I'm not picky; I'll take any compliment. I really don't prefer one over the other. Hmmm, what does that mean?

Jenny said...

Am new here, but LOVE to play. I'd rather hear that I'm pretty from a pretty person, and rather hear I'm smart from a smart person.

Tessie said...

Ok, I want to go back to what Clarabella said, and also what I SORT of said, because I think it's SO INTERESTING that no one seems to mind saying they know they're SMART, but we feel awk saying we know we're PRETTY.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

Mary said...

I'd rather be told I'm smart, because I'm always so unsure of my intelligence, especially now.

Astarte said...

I would rather hear that I'm smart, since if they said I was pretty, I'd think they were lying.

Barb @ getupandplay said...

For me, it also depends on who is paying me the compliment. If it is someone very fashionable and lovely, I would appreciate knowing they thought I was pretty. If it is someone I admire for their wit or intelligence, I hope that they think I am smart.

But of course, I want to be thought of as both!

Elizabeth said...

Depends on the situation and who it's coming from, but I suppose usually pretty, since I'm pretty sure I'm smart. ;) The exception is in a work environment, where being told I'm pretty would be weird and where I am sometimes uncertain of my competence.

St said...

Like many of the others, I'd rather hear "pretty" because I feel less confident about my looks than about my smarts.

Amy @ Milk Breath and Margaritas said...

Oh you're so pretty is nice, but makes me feel awkward and I don't know how to gracefully respond to that. Oh you're so smart is easier and I prefer that. Not that it happens very often. heh.

artemisia said...

I'd rather hear that I am smart. Absolutely.

I like hearing that I look good, sure. Part of me doesn't believe it, though. And I WANT to believe I am smart.

Simply AnonyMom said...

I have heard often that I was "smart". I rarely hear that I am pretty. Even growing up my sister was the "pretty one" and I was the "adventurous" one. I just want to be thought of as pretty before I grow up. (I am 32)

Mommy Writes said...

Like so many others, I've heard "you're so smart" my whole life. Currently struggling to lose a lot of weight, I'd kill for a believeable "you're so pretty."

Marie Green said...

Depends on who the compliment is coming from.

Melospiza said...

Hmmm. As a simply random comment, I'd rather hear "you're so pretty." "You're so smart!" is so often a) a backhanded insult (oooh, aren't YOU smart) or b) cheap praise. If I hear "you're so smart," I want it to be followed by something substantial, like a job offer. Which, possibly coincidentally, it never is (is it, eh? people always want to hire you for "better" reasons than smartness).

But "you're so pretty"? Totally fine to come by itself. Feels nice, and I don't feel like I "deserve" something for being particularly pretty on a given day. Maybe if I were single I'd feel differently, though.

-R- said...

I was going to write exactly what amy @ milk breath and margaritas said. Someone telling me I'm pretty just makes me feel awkward. Someone telling me I'm smart makes me feel good about myself.

Emblita said...

Smart.... I'm prepared to cop to not being all that pretty. But I know I'm smart- and have the testscores to prove it :p

The Frog said...

Smart. Whenever someone tells me I'm pretty, I tend to mistrust their motives for doing so. When they tell me I'm smart, it's usually followed by ass, but I'll take what I can get.

Omaha Mama said...

I want it to be both, with an 'and' in the middle. :0)

Cherish said...

I already know Im smart, so Id prefer being told Im pretty.

Maggie said...

I think that it depends on who is the one saying it to me.

But like so many others, I don't question my intelligence as much as my looks, so if I had to pick one then I would prefer to hear I was pretty. I think it also has something to do with the fact that smarts is something that you can test for and 'prove' but looks is based (more or less) completely on someone's opinion.

Does that make me shallow?

Bea said...

My favourite compliment is being told that I'm "brilliant." "Smart" doesn't really cut it. And most of the time I don't care to be told that I'm pretty, though I make an exception for the time my not-yet-husband said so, in a "I can't concentrate when I look at you" kind of way.

pseudostoops said...

Lawyerish stole mine- when it's someone whose intelligence I admire a lot, the "smart" comment means a lot, but the "pretty" compliment is a lot less frequent so I'd rather hear that one more.

squandra said...

I'm the same as many here; my answer is, "I guess ... Pretty?"

I've had enough positive reinforcement re: intelligence, I think. But on the other hand, I'm much less CONCERNED with whether I'm considered attractive.

It's funny ... Both are somewhat inborn traits, both are also somewhat manipulable (grooming, education, etc) ... Yet I tend to think of beauty as something that is "out of my control" much moreso than intelligence.

Amber said...

Since I'm already comfortable with my level of smarts, I'm sure hearing that I'm pretty would make me feel happier than being told I'm smart.

Michelle said...

I'm a smart kind of girl. It lasts longer.

So are you keeping a tally of responses out of curiosity?

clueless but hopeful mama said...

I agree with many of the masses above, it depends on who's paying the compliment.

I would be more comfortable hearing that I'm smart. The inner-teenager part of me would love to hear that someone thinks I'm pretty but the adult in me would judge someone for focusing on the superficial!

Steph the WonderWorrier said...

Oh dear! I'm so late on these, I saw the first test and then was out for the evening and didn't see the next ones! I'm responding anyway...

I also say that I'd rather be told I'm pretty.

Your intelligence matters when you speak to somebody and make personal decisions, etc.

Your appearance matters every moment, as everyone can see your appearance but not everyone will see the strength of your mind.

I believe that it's really nice to hear now and then that you're "lookin'-foxy" as it were so that you can walk with your head held high and exude the confidence you should have but sometimes easily lack when you're anywhere in public.

So I like the pretty comment, because I know my personal intelligence and I know I'm a smart cookie... but it's nice to hear that you're probably not being called The Ugly Duckling behind your back. It's all a confidence thing, for sure. LOL. (Especially since I didn't used to like the way I looked that much, but after having the amazing guy I have, now I feel a lot more confident about myself!).

Fine For Now said...

I would rather hear that I am smart, because like Tessie, except being blonde, I can be quite the idiot.

Farrell said...

what fiona picklebottom said: pretty.

Jen in MI said...

I want to be told I'm pretty. I think I'm pretty smart, but I lack confidence in my looks and always have. However, I want other people to tell my daughter how smart she is....

el-e-e said...

I would rather hear Smart. I don't often feel very smart. In fact, I often feel rather dumb. Seriously. Even though I did quite well in school, honor societies, all that.

Now, if the question is "Smart" versus "You've lost weight"...? Different story.

Jen said...

ditto on the "i know i'm smart" crowd and double ditto on the "if they say i'm pretty they're lying/being smarmy" bunch.

what does it mean if i'd rather hear, "that's a great outfit!" than either?

McMama said...

dollars to doughnuts men faced with a similar question would pick "smart" REGARDLESS of their confidence in their looks. Why? Because for men, smart = successful = women (reproductive success). For women, pretty = attracting smart/successful men = a secure future for their offspring. PC or not, that's the way we're made. (and this is a subconscious evolutionary drive so being married doesn't really change anything).

Samantha said...

You're so smart. The biggest jokes told these days are Blonde jokes (need I say more)

Kelsey said...

I'm late to the party on all of these but still thought I'd answer.

I would rather hear someone say I'm pretty, IF I believe them, which I probably wouldn't. Sigh.

I've always been pretty confident in my intelligence, though less so, lately. Being a mother has made me incredibly absentminded, which makes me feel less smart.

I know this wasn't a choice, but I bet a lot of us would most like to hear that we are good writers (or friends, or mothers).

Black Sheeped said...

Smart.

Woman with a Hatchet said...

It all depends on who is commenting on my mental acuity or my looks. Do I respect this person? Do I care about their opinion? Are they smarter/prettier than I am?

In the end, smart lasts longer than pretty, so I'd rather be known as smart.

As for me, if I dare to comment on a random stranger's looks, I'll stick with specific traits: I love your eyes! What a fantastic outfit! Lovely jewelery! Your hair is gorgeous!

I make a point of praising people that stand out on the street as the mood strikes me. I know it always makes MY day a little brighter to hear a random nice comment, so I like to spread the good karma.

bacioni said...

Yep. I know I'm smart.
You'll put a smile on my face if you tell me I'm pretty!

Cayt said...

Smart, because my perception of myself as smart is a huge part of my self-image, whereas I don't think of myself as pretty.

Cayt said...

(I meant to ask, do you mind me going through and commenting on old posts? Is it annoying to get an email notification for something from a year and a half ago, or is it nice, or is it just a thing about which you have no particular feelings?)

Swistle said...

Cayt- It's super fun!