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Oh no! You’ve just seen a picture of your friend’s new baby, and well, they aren’t the cutest baby you’ve ever seen.
Now you have to figure out what to do and say to the new parents.
Start by controlling your reaction, and then find something about the baby that you can compliment.
Controlling Your Reaction
Don’t say anything at all.
If you think you might say something mean, it may be best just to not say anything at all.
Just smile at the baby and the parents and then move the conversation along, if possible.
Have small talk ready.
If you know you’re going to see an ugly baby, then prepare yourself ahead of time.
Have questions ready to go about the baby.
You could ask about milestones, for instance.
You could say, “Is she smiling yet?”
Focus on the parents.
One of the best ways to avoid having to make comments about the baby is to ask about the parents.
Maintain eye contact with the parents and ask how the mom is feeling, how having a baby has changed their lives, and what they like most about being new parents.
Often parents are so used to visitors talking about the baby, a discussion about how they are feeling may be welcomed and a good diversion from having to comment on the child.
Put yourself in their shoes.
If you’re not a parent, this step may be more difficult for you.
However, just consider how it would make you feel if someone criticized something important to you.
If you are a parent, how would you feel if someone called your child ugly? If you can learn to feel a little empathy for the parents, it can help you control what you say.
Remember not everyone has the same tastes.
That is, not everyone is going to find the same babies cute as everyone else.
Plus, of course the parents are going to find their own baby adorable; it’s at least partially genetic.
There’s no reason to muddy the waters by pointing out that you don’t find the baby cute.
Complimenting the Baby
Compliment the baby’s expression.
One thing you can compliment is the expressions the baby makes.
Maybe the baby is especially bubbly or maybe they look very serious and thoughtful.
Either way, use that information to compliment the baby.
For instance, you could say, “Look at that smile! She’s just beaming.”
Pick something cute about the baby.
Even if a baby isn’t particularly adorable, most babies have something cute about them.
It could be their ruddy cheeks, their chunky thighs, or even just the puffed out belly.
Find something cute to compliment.
For instance, you might say, “Look at those adorable rosy cheeks!!
I could just eat them up.”
Compliment the baby's outfit.
Another tactic to avoid discussing the baby’s looks is just to offer up something nice about the baby’s outfit.
As a bonus, you’re also complimenting whoever picked the outfit out.
Try something like, “That outfit is just precious! Did you pick it out?”
Say something nice about the baby's temperament.
Another aspect of the baby you could compliment is how happy the or quiet the baby is.
Often, that’s seen as something praiseworthy, so most of the time, the parents will enjoy this type of compliment.
Say, “Oh, he’s just such a happy baby! Always laughing!”