8 things it means when someone tells you,”You’re not so bad yourself”  

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Have you ever been told, “You’re not so bad yourself”? This is something you often hear in conversations as a response to a compliment.

If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of it, you might be wondering what it means. 

Is it also meant to be a compliment for you? Or is the person telling you you’re just average? 

Many people have found this statement confusing and have come away from conversations with questions swirling in their heads. 

If you’ve ever felt this way, well, you’re in luck!

In this article, I’ll break down the different meanings this statement could carry to help shed light on the matter. 

That way, you’ll be able to interpret it correctly when someone is speaking to you. And you’ll know how to use it properly yourself!

So, let’s get into what it really means when someone says, “You’re not so bad yourself!”

1) They’re returning a compliment

The most common meaning behind the phrase “You’re not so bad yourself!” is that it is meant as a compliment

Although the meaning can vary slightly depending on the context, the phrase is generally used to show admiration, respect, and mutual understanding. 

It’s a way of saying that you are doing something well or that the person admires your qualities. 

It is a nice way of returning a compliment without having to give one back, and it is a surefire way of expressing admiration without any hesitation. 

For example, if you say, “You look pretty,” and the person says, “You’re not so bad yourself,” you can interpret that phrase as, “You’re also beautiful!” 

If they say this with a warm smile, then you don’t need to overanalyze what they meant. Simply assume that they feel the same way about you and are paying you a sincere compliment! 

2) They’re subtly expressing their admiration for you

Some people may not find it comfortable to be so direct and outspoken when paying compliments. 

So, instead of paying you a direct compliment when you say something nice about them, they could go about it in a roundabout way. Yes, that means saying something like, “You’re not so bad yourself.”

Of course, it’s a more subtle way of giving a compliment, but it still should put a smile on your face! That’s the beauty of “you’re not so bad yourself” – it conveys the same meaning as a direct compliment without being too overbearing.

This is particularly applicable in professional settings, where people want to be a bit more refined and low-key in the way they express their appreciation. It’s a meaningful phrase that lets you know that your efforts have been noticed and appreciated. 

So the next time you hear this phrase, take it as a sign of encouragement and continue to work hard. After all, you really are not so bad yourself!

3) They’re flirting with you

Speaking of subtlety, here’s another reason why people say, “You’re not so bad yourself” – it’s a great way to flirt without going overboard! 

Think about it…pretend you’re at a bar talking to someone you’re attracted to. When you pay them a compliment, it could be that they feel intimidated or shy to shoot a direct compliment right back at you. 

Or…it could be an attempt to sound mysterious. Because let’s admit it – subtlety makes the flirting game so much more intriguing!

So, don’t feel taken aback when you encounter this phrase – don’t assume right away that the person isn’t interested in you. They might just be wanting to keep the conversation casual and low-pressure but still flirty and charming. 

4) They’re expressing mutual respect

When someone says, “You’re not so bad yourself!”, it could be a subtle way of letting you know that they respect your opinions and accomplishments. 

It’s a way to say, “I see you, I appreciate you, and I agree with your point of view.” The phrase speaks volumes about the mutual respect between the two people. 

Whether it’s in response to a statement or just an expression of mutual respect, this phrase is sure to make you feel seen and valued.

5) They are being supportive and encouraging 

Another possible meaning behind the phrase “You’re not so bad yourself!” is sympathy. 

In this context, the speaker could be saying it as a way to sympathize with you and offer support and encouragement. 

For example, if you say something along the lines of, “Oh, I wish I was as good at writing as you are!”…

The person you’re speaking to could then respond with, “You’re not so bad yourself,” as a way to let you know that, hey, you’re good at writing, too!

Hearing those words, “You’re not so bad yourself”, can also be a great source of comfort when you feel like you’ve made a mistake or failed at something. 

It’s an implicit way of saying that you’re actually much better than you think. It’s a reminder that even though you might make mistakes, it doesn’t mean you’re bad at your job or that your opinion isn’t valid. 

So, next time someone tells you, “You’re not so bad yourself!” in this situation, cheer up! Take it as an encouraging sign and let it boost your confidence.

6) They’re showing gratitude 

All of the meanings discussed above have a positive connotation. 

But now let’s get into neutral territory…

When someone says, “You’re not so bad yourself!”, it can simply be a way of expressing gratitude instead of the usual “Thanks!” 

In this context, it’s probably best not to overanalyze it or make a big deal out of it. The speaker may not be returning the compliment – they may just be expressing appreciation for that nice thing you said to them. 

In any case, though it may not be the compliment you wanted to hear, it’s still nice to receive this phrase as a gesture of appreciation and good manners

This leads me to my next point…

7) They’re just being polite

Here’s another neutral meaning for “You’re not so bad yourself!” – the person may simply be very gracious and well-mannered

They may just be saying it because they don’t want to return a compliment that they don’t feel like saying and which they feel would come across as insincere. 

But at the same time, they don’t want to be rude. 

So, what’s a safe and easy answer for times like this? 

“You’re not so bad yourself!”

8) They’re giving you a backhanded compliment 

As much as we’d like to think that “You’re not so bad yourself!” sends across only good vibes, sadly, sometimes it doesn’t. 

Sometimes, it takes on a negative meaning when used insincerely or as a backhanded compliment. 

In this case, the speaker may be trying to belittle or diminish what you said, and suggesting that you’re not actually that good.

The problem is, it’s tricky to nail down if the speaker means it negatively or positively because the words they use in both cases may be exactly the same. 

So, how do you know for sure? 

The next section will show you how…

The role of non-verbal cues

When it comes to communication, body language and non-verbal cues make a huge difference in the way the message comes across. 

Consider this: 

“Oh, I really like your outfit today!”

“Thanks, you’re not so bad yourself!” 

If the person is paying a sincere compliment, their statement would come with a warm smile, open body language, and an upbeat tone. 

On the other hand, if they mean it as a backhanded compliment, the comment could come with non-verbal cues like a raised eyebrow, a sarcastic tone, and disengaged body language. 

They may even say, “You’re not so bad yourself!” while looking at you from head to toe with a smirk. (Yes, that has happened to me, and let me tell you, it didn’t feel good. But I did get the meaning loud and clear!)

Meanwhile, if the speaker has a neutral tone and facial expressions, they may not necessarily be saying it negatively. They could simply be saying it out of politeness. 

Final thoughts

Most of the time, the statement, “You’re not so bad yourself,” has a positive meaning – a way of returning the compliment to you and showing appreciation for what you said. 

However, it can also have different meanings depending on the context and the speaker’s tone of voice and body language. To understand the true intention behind the phrase, it’s important to pay attention to these non-verbal cues.

That said, it’s important to use context clues to figure out what the person really means when they tell you that you’re not so bad yourself

That way, the next time someone tells you, “You’re not so bad yourself,” you can immediately decode exactly what they mean!

Roselle Umlas

I am a freelance writer with a lifelong interest in helping people become more reflective and self-aware so that they can communicate better and enjoy meaningful relationships.

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