Carolyn Bucior in NYT on compliments:
'In other words, in the United States, the compliment is a coded invitation to chitchat, and simply saying, “Thank you” linguistically slams the door in the complimenter’s face.
“It’s a platitude that language opens doors,” said Andrew Cohen, a professor emeritus of second language studies at University of Minnesota and who was instrumental in developing the language acquisition research center.
Don’t I know it. In trying out the supposed right way for a woman to accept a compliment, I learned what such pleasant commentary really signals for Americans of all genders: connection and conversation I have since shamelessly returned to my previous ways, which is to add a little P.S. or a bit of resistance after saying “Thank you.” To do otherwise would be to miss the big point of small talk.'
Read the article here.
Language closes doors as well. If you want to open the door sometimes the insult is more effective than the compliment. It can be wise to be straightforward: "I offended you, because I want to open doors."
This is how we should understand hatemail.