I often like to talk about cultural shock and how some things are ok in some countries and not so ok in others.
Right? WRONG! Please don't say that unless your friend is 5 years old :)
"Cute" in English-speaking cultures is not the same as "cute" in Japanese. It's a great word to describe animals and small children, or certain accessories but not adults (usually). If you call a grown-up person "cute" it may mean they are silly, childish or just did/said something that is not to be taken seriously.
Here is another example. You are at the office and you think your colleague looks great today. If you say "cute" it may be a little bit confusing. She may think her outfit is not serious or appropriate for work.
Of course, there are exceptions and it depends on the person. If someone is familiar with Japanese culture, or if their personality is bubbly/carefree and you are sure they will not get offended, feel free to say "cute".
In other cases however, try these instead:
- You look great!
- I like your outfit!
- You look wonderful!
- You look amazing!
Or simply use "beautiful", "gorgeous" or "stunning" instead! Ok? :)
So cute! Right? :)