You’re glowing/beaming/sanguine

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TGW

Senior Member
Chinese
If your friend looks good and healthy, I mean he/she has a ruddy complexion(not pale) because of good blood circulation. What would you say to compliment them?

You’re glowing.
You’re beaming.
You’re sanguine.

If they’re not natural, could you let me know what you normally say in daily conversation? Thanks
 
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  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Beaming is smiling broadly. Sanguine today doesn't refer to the blood in the face, but to the hopeful or positive attitude such people supposedly have (in the mediaeval theory of 'humours').

    I don't know that we'd ever remark on this in conversation, beyond 'you're looking good (or happy)'.
     
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    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I don't think I'd even notice their complexion, unless I knew that this friend usually suffers from anaemia, or has recently been ill. Most of my friends are out in the sun a lot, or wear makeup anyway. They are generally a healthy lot.:)

    You're looking very well today. They might not like me remarking on their complexion, though people compliment one another on their suntans.
     
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    TGW

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    How about ‘you’re looking glowing (with energy)’? Maybe it’s a culture difference. Here in China people tend to compliment about their complexion after greeting each other. Reddish complexion is a sign of good health here.:)
     
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    Chez

    Senior Member
    English English
    It is absolutely not the case, I'd dare say in most Western countries. It would be most peculiar to remark on someone's complexion unless there is something unusual about it (that it is polite to mention).

    'You look glowing' in the UK can have the interpretation that you (if you're female) are pregnant. Looking extremely well and having a glowing complexion are often associated with pregnant women.

    You look well; wow, that's a great tan!; you've got your colour back, I'm glad to see (if someone you know well has been unwell and now looks much healthier), are some of the possible things you might say – but not on a regular, everyday basis.

    As entangled bank said, 'beaming' would not be associated with 'glowing with health', it would mean you are physically smiling widely. And 'you are sanguine' is a comment on your personality not your appearance.
     
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    Ponyprof

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    We do not comment on complexion in English speaking countries. We do complement people on hair color and clothing, if warranted. Usually "you are looking well" is about as far as you'd go on commenting on overall appearance.

    Many many women here wear cosmetics, sometimes almost imperceptibly.

    I don't think most people would want to think they looked pink faced or flushed. They wouldn't interpret it as a sign of health but rather of exercise or fever.

    And of course in our very multicultural society you don't want to say anything about skin color that could be taken as racially insensitive. So it's best to avoid any rote or routine comments on complection.

    When I was growing up, white people wanted a distinct tan in the summer and some girls and women (and some men) worked quite hard at suntanning. These days it has gone out of fashion with current knowledge about skin cancer and premature wrinkles. However probably no Caucasian person wants to hear "wow! Your skin is so pale!" despite this apparently being intended as a big complement coming from Chinese speakers :).

    In other words, everything about complexion is very fraught even for Caucasians, let alone folks with more brown skin tones.
     
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