Saturday, April 20, 2013

Compliments... Phew!

Compliment: A polite expression of praise or admiration. This is how the dictionary defines it. In my opinion, a compliment is infinitely more meaningful than what this string of words suggests.

Compliments, if sincere, leave you with the fuzzy warmth of feeling good about yourself. Not only do they boost your self-esteem, they build your confidence. And no matter how many times I say that our happiness should be independent of others… the fact remains that compliments are directly proportional to our happiness quotient; the more we get, the merrier we are.

But if everyone just loves receiving them… who gives them? I see no volunteers. This reluctance to compliment others stems from a plethora of reasons. Some people feel that expressing their true feelings leaves them vulnerable. To some extent, I agree. After all, if I am complimenting you, I am letting you peek inside my tiny little heart. Mind you, that involves great risk. It might backfire (as has been happening with me lately). Trust me it isn’t nice when you spend time choosing your words (they have to be perfect… neither too flowery, nor too simple) and the other person interprets them wrong. Instead of the smile you’d hoped to spread across their face, they scrunch it up in a frown. You end up trying to prove the credibility of your compliment which is next to impossible (feelings don’t have documentation).

So here I am trying to understand How to Give a Good Compliment.


1) Mean what you say: I cannot stress the importance of this. Compliments aren’t bought at the road-side stand. They’re precious gifts meant to be given to the right people for the right reasons. If I have compliments on the tip of my tongue, they’ll lose their worth. Contrary to strengthening my relationships with people, they might strain them.

2) Be Specific: Specificity is of utmost importance. For example, “I love the way you look in this dress” is often better than “You’re looking good.” It shows that I noticed the other person enough to realize that he/she has dressed up differently today. It might be a simple change in the way they do up their hair… or the way they wear their scarf. But if you have noticed something good about them… don’t lose it in a stream of non-specific words.

3) Back up the compliment: This is almost equivalent to attaching your identity proof with your college application form. Give weight to your compliment. Prove your honesty. For example, “I love the way you look in this dress. It suits your personality.” This definitely validates your compliment. Personally I think I am lacking in this area.

4) Ask a question: This is a trick question while complimenting girls. In the context of the current example, some girls might be flattered when asked about their wardrobe destinations, while others may make a face. I can just provide an example use it at your own risk! “I love the way you look in this dress. It suits your personality. Where did you get it?”

Though the path to complimenting others is fraught with danger, it is still worth the risk. It triggers a cycle of making others feel good and feeling good about myself. Somehow, people who compliment others attract compliments to themselves. The more you give, the more you get. And once you train your heart to honestly say good things about people, you learn to realize and appreciate the goodness in your own self too. This is where the mind connects with the soul. This is true bliss.

Merry Complimenting!   

P.S. Do not be put down by a few negative reactions to your compliments. You might have to put up with a few fights too. Persevere in your efforts… everything is bound to turn out well!!!

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