Monday, March 28, 2011

Compliments - A Lost Art

"I can live for months on a good compliment"  Mark Twain
"Some folks pay a compliment like they went in their pocket for it"  Kim Hubbard

The other day Anna and I were discussing how not very many people compliment one another any more.  She has noticed that she had been paying more compliments than she had been receiving.  I know when I went to auctioneering school, I always clapped for others when it was their turn to sell something.  It reallly encouraged them to do better.  However, when it was my turn to sell, NO ONE clapped for me.  It was really discouraging!  I still clapped for others anyway.  Some people just can't or won't pay compliments. 

We've raised our girls to compliment others.  We taught this by example.   The "art of compliments" should be as valuable a lesson for children as any other lesson.  Our society today is very self centered.  We have had to raise our girls in the "me" generation - its all about "me."  Guess what .... it is not. 

I know to some people, paying a compliment might show a sign of weakness.  That could never be so wrong!  It takes a positive, confident person to pay an honest compliment to someone.   If I see someone really working hard, showing a talent, looking good, putting forth a positive effort and attitude or even smelling good....I will always tell them and compliment them.  Even if they are a stranger.  On occassion, the recipient might be surprised or even shoked, however, I have never once had a negative response from someone I've paid a compliment to.  We all like to be complimented; humans, animals, even God desires our praise.  

Side Note:  This should be ****I have learned, however, to be careful not to compliment too many men...I am married....this might look like flirting - not to me - but others.  I'm just an honest person and I use to think everyone was that way too.

Just as quick as I am to pay a compliment, I too am quick to let you kow if I think you are fishing for one.  Unfortunately, we all know people like this.  When I see it....I usually will do  my best to say something to discourage that behavior.  I know "momma says:  if you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all"  Good advise, sometimes hard to follow.

I found some interesting information in line.  I learned and would like to share with you: 

"Compliments derive from taking notice of praiseworthy situations and efforts.  So they are a mark of awareness and consciousness.  We need to cultivate awareness of the good developments that are all around us.  The compliment needs to be put forth in spoken form.  Compliments are powerful in motivating continued efforts.  People strive to do more of what brings praise from others." (Good parenting advice)  "The art of compliment is not only a powerful social skill; it is one of the most fundamental.  In fact, compliments are one of the finest tools for acquiring more social skills, because the returns are great and immediate." (We know kids that lack social skills - not because of homeschooling - but because they didn't learn these skills at home.  Many say that homeschoolers lack social skills, this can be true, but publically schooled kids do too)   "If compliments are a gift from a donor, their reception is equally a gift - a return to the giver."  (I know I feel good after I pay a compliment). 
The information in "" came from the part in () is my opinon.       


"A compliment is a two-way gift. It benefits both the giver and the receiver. Too often, people deprive themselves of the pleasure of giving a compliment when they hesitate and let the moment slip by. Or perhaps the other person is so consistently well-groomed that we don't bother to say, "You look great today." Or someone is so consistently efficient that we fail to say, "Good job."
Compliments are always socially proper, if sincerely extended and kept appropriate to the context. If someone always looks great, tell him or her. If someone is always efficient, acknowledge that. Compliments can break the ice with a stranger, defuse stress, lift spirits, or tighten a bond. The right words at the right time can motivate, comfort, reward, validate, and inspire.
Compliments are not the same as flattery. Flattery is insincere and excessive. Superfluous compliments are annoying and make others feel as though the giver is angling for something—as if the giver "expected a receipt," lamented one writer. What makes a good compliment? These are the basics:
  • Be sincere. Complimenting someone just because you think it's a good idea is a bad idea. A phony compliment is easy to spot and instantly destroys the credibility of the speaker. If the luncheon speaker was a total flop, don't compliment the speech. Talk about the effort the speaker made to attend the function and the person's past achievements, if any.
  • Be specific. "That was a marvelous casserole" is better than "You're a terrific cook."
  • Be unqualified. Don't make the mistake of damning with faint praise: "That was a good report, considering …" or "This casserole is okay."
  • Don't compare. You can diminish the compliment by comparing the accomplishment to some other achievement—unless you are comparing it to something heroic, and then the compliment sounds insincere.
When receiving a compliment, just smile and say thank you. Never try to shrug off a compliment or disagree with the person who is trying to compliment you. If someone compliments you on your dress and you say, "Oh, this old thing?" you're actually saying that the other person's judgment is poor or that she doesn't know what's fashionable.
If someone compliments you on doing a good job at the office, don't say, "It was nothing," or "It should have been more complete (or finished earlier)." This response is insulting to the other person, implying that his standards are not very high. "Thanks, I worked really hard on it" is much better.
Read more on FamilyEducation:

I would have to agree with alot of the above information. 

My personal phylosophy is that life is too short not to be kind to one another and pay each other a compliment.  When an opportunity arises - take it - you might not have another chance to tell someone how you truly feel about them. 
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