February 6th is Pay a Compliment Day. Sometimes I walk away from an interaction thinking, “I should have told that person I liked their hair today” or how happy my heart feels when I see their face. I have known people, you might know someone too, who piles on compliments so thick that they nearly loose their meaning. Perhaps I overcompensate for that and keep those positive thoughts inside so that each one has more meaning. But why? I can tell you I am still thinking about how much I liked my sister-in-law’s hair at the family Christmas party, or how nice my friend looked the other day when she picked up her daughter from my house.
In an article published by Psychology Today, Hara Estroff Marano says about the art of the compliment:
“Compliments are little gifts of love. They are not asked for or demanded. They tell a person they are worthy of notice. They are powerful gifts. But compliments work only if they are sincere reflections of what we think and if they are given freely and not coerced. Compliments backfire if they are not genuine. And faux flattery is usually highly transparent. A false compliment makes the speaker untrustworthy; it raises suspicions about motives. And that can undermine a whole relationship.”
Not only does the person offering the compliment have something to give, but the person who is receiving the compliment does as well. Gracefully receiving the compliment builds positivity. By dismissing the compliment, something I too am guilty of, a person can deflate all the positivity of the moment that was just created. Such pressure! No worries though – a simple ‘thank-you’ and a smile are an easy way to accept a compliment gracefully.
I think it was my Human Relations professor who advised that giving compliments consistently on appearance rather than character sends a message, and I agree. What a person does and who they are is far more important and valuable to a friend and in building up the character of a child. So, as you celebrate Pay a Compliment Day, may I recommend that you use this opportunity to create positive energy with meaningful, not forced compliments.
Here are some thoughts to get you going: